Happy April Fool’s Day! Each year, we try to write an article or two to remind people about the lighter side of photography. Last year, when we said that our entire team was switching over to Canon and refusing to review any other equipment, a solid number of people believed us. Great! Now that it’s 2017, we’re upping the ante by writing four top tips to improve your photography this April, including suggestions that will remain relevant even if Artificial Intelligence takes over the planet and all art becomes obsolete.
1) How to Improve Your Gear Without Taking More Photos
One of the main problems photographers face is that, almost without exception, we find ourselves taking photos.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not 100% opposed to taking photos, so long as your subject is a brick wall, a regular wall, or something similar. In rare circumstances (i.e., testing the bokeh of your lens), I’d even consider it acceptable to take out-of-focus pictures of your desk lamp.
However, in an ideal world, most photographers would rather just sit back and improve their gear without actually taking any photos along the way. Although there’s no perfect solution to this problem, I do have one tip that I strongly recommend: Rely on work you’ve already done.
If you’ve ever taken photos before — intentionally or by accident — use them. For example, have you ever taken a few close-ups of your keyboard after buying a new camera? I know I have. In fact, half the photos I’ve ever taken are of my keyboard! If the same is true for you, it’s pretty clear that you need a macro lens.
You can follow the same process for any other camera equipment that you want to buy. Rather than going to the trouble of charging a battery, finding a memory card, putting them both in your camera, attaching a lens, taking off the lens cap, taking a nap, setting all the proper settings, and capturing a photo, just look through your old photos and buy more gear. Every photo you took in the past is, potentially, another piece of equipment that you can buy today.
For example, before you knew how to use your camera, did you ever accidentally take an out-of-focus photo of the inside of your bag? If so, most likely, you need a camera with a better autofocus system. I would recommend the Nikon D5 and a good zoom lens, such as the 24-70mm f/2.8 VR.
Of course, that kit won’t work for everyone. Maybe the only photos you’ve ever taken were some snapshots at the zoo, for example. If that’s the case, you may prefer a telephoto lens instead. I use the Nikon 800mm f/5.6, and, if you don’t, your wildlife photos will be disappointing.
Or, maybe you once tried to take a photo at night. If so, I would recommend an entirely different kit: the James Webb Space Telescope.
What’s the underlying key here? Simple: You’re not doing any new work. If you’re careful, you can improve your equipment without taking a single new photo along the way.
2) How to Become a Professional Landscape Photographer and Travel the World
This one is almost too easy.
First, quit your job and start writing articles for a landscape or travel photography magazine. It doesn’t need to be a large magazine like National Geographic, either — something small like Outdoor Photography works almost as well.
Second, sell stock photos on the side.
Third, use the power of social media to find participants for your workshops.
Finally, don’t forget to put a few ads on your website to generate some extra revenue. This probably won’t be enough to make a living, but it could cover your site’s hosting costs.
3) How to Start a Forum Argument
Frankly, this world doesn’t have nearly enough arguments or negativity in it — but you can change that!
One of the noblest inventions of the 20th century was the internet forum, a place for people of all backgrounds to gather and share their knowledge, working towards a more educated and inclusive future. Here’s something that no one else realizes, though: Anyone can write anything they want on a forum.
If you’d like, you can write a thirty-paragraph treatise on why photography is not an art form; you can write a ten-word, typo-filled response to someone else’s well-researched post; you can end all your posts with the signature, “I shoot JPEG.”
You can write anything you want on a forum, and you score points each time someone blocks you or replies to one of your comments.
I do this all the time. It’s great.
If you want some help, I’ve listed a few sample quotes to get you started. Feel free to copy and paste:
- “Here’s how you tell the pros from the amateurs: pros shoot in PROgram mode, because they don’t have time to fool around with camera settings.”
- “The Sony A7R is horrible.”
- “The Sony A7R is amazing.”
- “You’re overthinking ISO — it’s just a way for your camera to capture more light when it’s dark out.”
- “Micro Four-Thirds cameras are better than DSLRs in every way. Just to name one, they have more depth of field.”
Feel free to get creative. If you think of a particularly provoking topic, don’t hesitate to deviate from the suggestions on this list. For example, try reviewing a piece of equipment that you’ve never used, or writing that colors from Canon cameras are vastly better than those from Nikon. There’s an entire world out there of people earnestly trying to learn a new skill, and you have the power to make their journey far more frustrating. Use it wisely.
4) How to Speak to the Ghost of Henri Cartier-Bresson
It’s impossible. I’ve tried. Trust me on this — it won’t work.
If you follow the four tips above, you’ll become the Prime Minister of Photography. To recap:
- By relying on photos you’ve taken in the past, you can buy new gear without taking any new photos.
- Become a professional landscape photographer and travel the world.
- To decrease the number of people in the world who like photography (i.e., eliminating your competition), start as many forum arguments as possible. Make every online resource a nightmare to read. Your goal is to turn away starry-eyed beginners and make the hobby of photography far more effort than it’s worth.
- Don’t try to speak with the ghost of Henri Cartier-Bresson, because it won’t work.
Becoming the Prime Minister of Photography is an ambitious goal, but, maybe, you could be the chosen one. After all, someone has to fight the AI, and it might as well be you.
On a serious note, we at Photography Life truly appreciate our readers, and we wouldn’t be able to write crazy things like this without you. Please don’t actually spam photography forums.
Our team wishes you a Merry April Fool’s Day and a Happy New Year!