3 things you should not photograph (unless you are professional)

Everybody has a camera these days. It’s great; it’s wonderful to have memories of things we have seen or done. But there are three things that us amateur photographers should learn not to bother photographering, and the sooner the better. I know, because before I learned better sense I too took many ugly, blurred photos.

Note: this only applies to those of us who never got beyond working out how to turn the auto-flash off; obviously skilled photographers will know all of the f-stoppy kind of stuff and be able to take beautiful pictures of these things.

1) Fireworks. Unless you know what you are doing, just don’t bother taking photos of fireworks. Every time I see a fireworks show I see a bunch of people whip out their phones or cheap digital cameras and start clicking away, as if they can recapture the magic of the sounds, lights, and smells…when all they really capture is a blurred splotch:

Bad fireworks photo

“Bad Fireworks” – Robert Fiske (http://www.flickr.com/photos/robfiske/)

2) Anything through an aeroplane window. Aeroplane windows are partly plastic, have two parts with a gap between them, and they are often scratched and dirty. Then there are all the weird atmospheric effects.  I have taken many pictures through the window and got nothing but yuck like this:

Photo through a Plane window

“Photo through a plane window” – Me
©2011 – though if you are that desperate then you can reproduce it for non-commercial purposes. Can you guess where I took the photo?


3) Concerts. Concerts are often fast moving, have weird lighting, and you are either so close you are being jostled constantly, or you are so far away you can’t see anything anyway.

4) Bonus tip: Don’t make bootleg movies either. All you will hear is the person screaming next to you, the person screaming on the other side, and the other screaming fans all around you; occasionally you will hear the distorted warbling of the band. All of this to accompany a fuzzy video in which the more skilled squinters may actually be able to differentiate the moving blobs that are the band from the rest of the stage, that is assuming that they don’t get sea-sick from the shaking and wobbling first. All it does is clog up youtube with unwatchable/unlistenable stuff and makes it harder to find the good stuff.

I apologise to those whose photos I used as negative examples.  Robert has plenty of beautiful pictures in his photostream, and whilst all I know of John is that he took a cheap camera to a Muse concert once, he may be the same John who has this Instagram account which also has many lovely photos.

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