Don’t take your DSLR to parties – 100 Tips about Photography

This is a list of 100 tips and observations about photography by Los Angeles based street photographer Eric Kim. Some are obvious, some may sound weird, and some tips are of the kind I never thought about (take #16 for instance, :-)).

1. Just because someone has an expensive camera doesn’t mean that they’re a good photographer.
2. Always shoot in RAW. Always.
3. Prime lenses help you learn to be a better photographer.
4. Photo editing is an art in itself
5. The rule of thirds works 99% of the time.
6. Macro photography isn’t for everybody.
7. UV filters work just as well as lens caps.
8. Go outside & shoot photos rather than spending hours a day on photography forums.
9. Capture the beauty in the mundane and you have a winning photograph.
10. Film isn’t better than digital.


11. Digital isn’t better than film.
12. There is no “magic” camera or lens.
13. Better lenses don’t give you better photos.
14. Spend less time looking at other people’s work and more time shooting your own.
15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
16. Girls dig photographers.
17. Making your photos b/w doesn’t automatically make them “artsy”
18. People will always discredit your work if you tell them you “photoshop” your images. Rather, tell them that you process them in the “digital darkroom”.
19. You don’t need to take a photo of everything.
20. Have at least 2 backups of all your images. Like they say in war, two is one, one is none.
21. Ditch the neck strap and get a handstrap.
22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better.
23. Be a part of a scene while taking a photo; not a voyeur.
24. Taking a photo crouched often make your photos look more interesting.
25. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography.
26. Tape up any logos on your camera with black gaffers tape- it brings a lot less attention to you.
27. Always underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop when shooting in broad daylight.
28. The more photos you take, the better you get.
29. Don’t be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.
30. Only show your best photos.
31. A point-and-shoot is still a camera.
32. Join an online photography forum.
33. Critique the works of others.
34. Think before you shoot.
35. A good photo shouldn’t require explanation (although background information often adds to an image). *
36. Alcohol and photography do not mix well.
37. Draw inspiration from other photographers but never worship them.
38. Grain is beautiful.
39. Ditch the photo backpack and get a messenger bag. It makes getting your lenses and camera a whole lot easier.
40. Simplicity is key.
41. The definition of photography is: “painting with light.” Use light in your favor.
42. Find your style of photography and stick with it.
43. Having a second monitor is the best thing ever for photo processing.
44. Silver EFEX pro is the best b/w converter.
45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.
46. Never let photography get in the way of enjoying life.
47. Don’t pamper your camera. Use and abuse it.
48. Take straight photos.
49. Shoot with confidence.
50. Photography and juxtaposition are best friends.
51. Print out your photos big. They will make you happy.
52. Give your photos to friends.
53. Give them to strangers.
54. Don’t forget to frame them.
55. Costco prints are cheap and look great.
56. Go out and take photos with (a) friend(s).
57. Join a photo club or start one for yourself.
58. Photos make great presents.
59. Taking photos of strangers is thrilling.
60. Candid>Posed.
61. Natural light is the best light.
62. 35mm (on full frame) is the best “walk-around” focal length.
63. Don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO when necessary.
64. You don’t need to always bring a tripod with you everywhere you go (hell, I don’t even own one).
65. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose.
66. Shooting photos of homeless people in an attempt to be “artsy” is exploitation.
67. You will find the best photo opportunities in the least likely situations.
68. Photos are always more interesting with the human element included.
69. You can’t “photoshop” bad images into good ones.
70. Nowadays everybody is a photographer.
71. You don’t need to fly to Paris to get good photos; the best photo opportunities are in your backyard.
72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons.
73. Cameras as tools, not toys.
74. In terms of composition, photography and painting aren’t much different.
75. Photography isn’t a hobby- it’s a lifestyle.
76. Make photos, not excuses.
77. Be original in your photography. Don’t try to copy the style of others.
78. The best photographs tell stories that begs the viewer for more.
79. Any cameras but black ones draw too much attention.
80. The more gear you carry around with you the less you will enjoy photography.
81. Good self-portraits are harder to take than they seem.
82. Laughter always draws out peoples’ true character in a photograph.
83. Don’t look suspicious when taking photos- blend in with the environment.
84. Landscape photography can become dull after a while.
85. Have fun while taking photos.
86. Never delete any of your photos.
87. Be respectful when taking photos of people or places.
88. When taking candid photos of people in the street, it is easier to use a wide-angle than a telephoto lens.
89. Travel and photography are the perfect pair.
90. Learn how to read a histogram.
91. A noisy photo is better than a blurry one.
92. Don’t be afraid to take photos in the rain.
93. Learn how to enjoy the moment, rather than relentlessly trying to capture the perfect picture of it.
94. Never take photos on an empty stomach.
95. You will discover a lot about yourself through your photography.
96. Never hoard your photographic insight- share it with the world.
97. Never stop taking photos
98. Photography is more than simply taking photos, it is a philosophy of life
99. Capture the decisive moment
100. Write your own list.

[via gizmodo via apartmenttherapy]
  • Bob B.

    The top 10 is an excellent list..except ..right now I am violating number 8 as I type this! (I might ad…that one does not have to go outside to shoot excellent photos!)…..

    • Frank

      🙂 totally agree that you don’t have to go outside.

  • Stavros

    15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
    45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.
    Is the person who wrote the list retarded?

    • Frank

      I don’t think he is retarded.

      • Stavros

        Yes you are right. He probably isn’t.
        It was just an exaggeration to show how big an oversight it is to publish a simple list with two contradicting tips.

      • Carl

        No, he is developmentally challenged

        • SpookySpur

          he said don’t bring a DSLR to a party, nothing about bringing a camera to a party. Good advice if you ask me.

        • Isaac Sloan

          If God can write a book with contradicting points I think we can give this guy a break.

    • MIroslav

      “15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
      45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.”

      And combined with “16. Girls dig photographers” makes even less sense :). You won’t look like a photographer with a P&S ;).

      @Frank. Excellent post, thanks!

      • Frank

        Should be: girls dig photogs with huge, massive cameras. 🙂

      • nybor312

        God didn’t write a book.

    • JN

      “72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons.”
      I honestly didn’t get this one.

      “15. Don’t take your DSLR to parties.
      45. Carry your camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.”
      These two are perfectly, ingeniously correct.

      Stavros:
      Is the person who wrote the list retarded?

      So, do you normally make comments like this? Where were you brought up and by what?

  • FMJ

    not contradicting at all.

    he said carry your camera everywhere, not DSLR everywhere.

    a P&S will do.

  • cosinaphile

    photographing people with homes is exploitative too

    all cameras and their handlers exploit what is to be seen everywhere.
    homelessness deserves to be seen as america plunges into a third world economic model of disfranchisement and fascism , be embarrassed about something else like taping up your camera logos.

    only bring 4×5 field cameras with bellows to parties anything less makes you a UV filter user

    boy the last tip to make you own list sounds pretty good by the time you reach 99….i love eric kim but some of these are ….well

    lastly and for the final time taping up the logos screams
    “im using expensive equipment and im frightened ill be mugged”

    • @Cosinaphile, where did you get this from???

      “a third world economic model of disfranchisement and fascism”

      Let me tell you, the model of disfranchisement and fascism is not a virus that flows from the third world countries into the more economically developed ones. If anything, its the contrary.

      It is because of greedy corporations, multinationals, investment firms, banks. These have their main headquarters in the first world and exploit the third world (with the help of local corrupt politicians and wealthy families) for natural resources, cheap labour. They loan money to these countries and then extort them to pass laws that help them, that deregulate the labour market, that exempt taxes, lower social benefits, etc.

      Problem is, now the third world is not enough, and now they are turning against the very same countries that helped them grow and turn into what they are: the real economic power that controls the world. Governments are increasingly turning into a “service” that helps maintaining control over the masses and that’s all.

      If you really care about what’s happening to working class people in your country, I’d advise you take a look at what’s been going on for decades in other areas in the world and see the big picture…you may find some answers…

      With all respect,
      Nico.

  • InBlack

    I like some of the tips on this list but #2 has always driven me crazy (always shot in RAW). No way!
    If you need to be told about shooting in RAW then you aren’t ready for the post-processing work that is required.

    The large file size does not mean the image will turn out better, for most people they assume it will just magically make the photo better, which is not the case.

    • Kevin

      i think he meant you always want a second chance to get the picture you want. even if it means you have to post process it.

      it works in conjunction with #86, never delete your photos

    • MIroslav

      +1

      That’s a typical DLSR tip. With mirrorless, you get a much better idea of the final result, so RAW is not essential in all situations, but necessary in some.

  • Philipp

    101. Photo editing: Less is often more…

    • Frank

      +1

  • Steve Miller

    I have seen him on Digitalrev TV – that guy is so ridiculous !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • You sure you’re not confusing him with Kai Wong?

  • Eric Kim. I like his enthusiasm and energy, and its obvious that he loves street photography, but sometimes I feel he has kind of a shallow approach to some of the themes he discusses in his blog.

    I mean, come on, do we really need a list of 100 list we should or should not do???

  • Marcello

    22. Get closer when taking your photos, they often turn out better.

    27. Always underexpose by 2/3rds of a stop when shooting in broad daylight.

    29. Don’t be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.

    41. The definition of photography is: “painting with light.” Use light in your favour

    45. Carry a camera with you everywhere. Everywhere.

    51. Print out your photos big. They will make you happy.

    61. Natural light is the best light.

    62. 35mm (on full frame) is the best “walk-around” focal length.

    65. It is always better to underexpose than overexpose.

    80. The more gear you carry around with you the less you will enjoy photography.

  • Wilba

    “72. People with DSLRS who shoot portraits with their grip pointed downwards look like morons.”

    So left-eyed people are morons? Nice.

    It could be worse – right-eyed people look like orangutans. 🙂

  • Pat

    Really late to this article but some of the tips were spot on, some were very subjective, and, generally, there are always situations when you should break the rules/tips/advice.