Five Articles Photography Blogs Need to Stop Publishing

This hobby can be pretty polarizing, and that’s before we’re even shooting glass or water. HA! But seriously, the massive variety of camera makers, camera types, styles of shooting, and personal preferences gives rise to countless way-too-loud opinions. The sad truth is that a lot of people who like making photos are rather opinionated.

This can be annoying on its own, but what’s worse are the jerks who like photography so much they’ve decided to run their very own photo geek websites. These blogs and lifestyle sites are under constant, immense pressure to “publish or die”, and if you spend enough time in this hobby you’ll quickly learn that the culture of quantity over quality is painfully pervasive.

After a few years of running my own site and producing what I consider to be high quality material, I’m often annoyed at the many articles I see shared that contribute nothing to the hobby whatsoever. Or worse, articles that actually discourage people from enjoying photography through their promoting of snobbery and elitism. The result of my annoyance? I’ve made an exhaustive list of the top five types of articles that photography culture blogs need to stop publishing – now!

“This is Better Than That” Articles

I recently read an article about how film is awful and digital is the best. It was posted on one of the most popular sites around. It was vacuous, pointless, and only served to promote the writer’s own work. So, you don’t like film? Okay. You should write about that, and hopefully that’ll discourage someone who may enjoy film from ever trying it. That’s good work. Additionally it might be useful to pen a piece on why Nikon is better than Canon. It’ll be helpful for impressionable Nikon shooters who could use a little something-something, and it’ll really put those Canon guys in their place. And once you’ve published that Pulitzer candidate we should start brainstorming about why Pentax users are the worst.

Poorly Written Opinion Posts

Nothing can replace good writing. If you’re running a website or blog you should probably know how to craft a compelling paragraph. And yet… How many articles have I read that are confusing, disjointed, and offer no basis for the opinions set forth in the article? Worse still, how many articles post erroneous information as fact, or regurgitate second-hand anecdotal tales without so much as even a cursory fact-check? I can’t even begin to say, but I do know I just read a review of the Mint InstantFlex that confidently stated that the camera’s lenses are made of glass, which they’re not (I asked Mint). I don’t mean to be a snob here, but I feel that people who make money by getting folks to read their words ought to have the decency to ensure that those words are worth reading. Do your research. Use correct grammar. Have some respect for us readers.

Articles that Discourage People

I just read a post about all the questions new photographers need to, apparently, stop asking. According to the writer of this wretched article, the worst thing someone can do in life is to ask someone in-the-know to pass along their wisdom. Want to know how to play the piano, and happen to be married to a pianist? Better Google it, you idiot, or risk being the most annoying person in the world. People ask me every single day which camera they should buy. I answer them as best I can, and don’t hate them for it.

But wait. Come to think of it, I might just agree with the author of this article. Yes. All of us photographers who were born with the instinctual knowledge of ISO should just sit in our darkrooms alone, shooting photos that we never show anyone. That’ll ensure we never have to talk to anyone about anything. [/sarcasm] And let’s not forget the time I accidentally stumbled upon a “Reasons your Photography Sucks” article. Yes. This was an actual headline of an actual post from an actually terrible photo blog. And just how does that help the hobby? Anyone?

Articles About Leica

I’m just sick of them.

“Top Five” Articles

These kinds of articles are the worst. You know the kind. Some jerk puts together a lazy list compiling the five best Leicas, or the five best film cameras, or the five best places to eat poutine while taking pictures of poutine. There can’t be five best anything! There’s only one best. It should be “The One Best and Four Not-as-Good Whatevers”.

God damnit, I hate them- wait. Wait a minute.

Oh, to Hell with it. Carry on.

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  • Reply
    Merlin Marquardt
    September 8, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Agree. Lovely article.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 4:02 am

    #6: Photography blog articles telling people they should stop publishing certain kinds of photography blog articles.

    • Reply
      James - Founder/Editor
      September 9, 2016 at 11:29 am

      Did you miss the self-aware joke at the end? In any case, thanks for your comment KG.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Preach! Held a Leica for the first time last night, wasn’t blown away. Shock Horror.

    • Reply
      September 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      You and me both, man. You and me both…

  • Reply
    Mike Ricciuti
    September 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I could not agree more. Some of the more popular photo sites routinely publish (barely) rewritten press releases, outright lies, and pointless opinion pieces under the guise of “news”. My favorite was a blog story that stated with authority that Edwin Land had started Polaroid “sometime in the 1980s”. Nevermind that the SX-70 launched in 1972. Anyway–keep on doing what you’re doing. This is a fantastic site and I look forward to more “best five” stories.

    • Reply
      James - Founder/Editor
      September 9, 2016 at 8:58 pm

      Edwin Land, founder of Kodak, first unveiled the Leica M2 at Photokeeno in 1876. A true pioneer.

      • Reply
        Mike Ricciuti
        September 9, 2016 at 9:50 pm

        There you go–the power of the press. Wait–so YOU wrote the original story!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2016 at 2:22 am

    “There’s only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch.”
    – Nigel Powers.

  • Reply
    Dan James
    September 12, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I agree pretty much with all you’ve said. Unfortunately the freedom of the internet, where virtually any of us can start up a blog on anything we wish, also means that the majority of blogs (on any subject) aren’t necessarily written from any point of expertise or experience. And to the beginner in a new hobby it’s very difficult to distinguish the experienced writers from the charlatans.

    I read a few blogs and trust the writers’ opinions, but most of the time when I want to see what a certain camera or lens is capable of I’ll search for images online via Flickr or Google.

    What’s often also very useful is if you can find the manual (Mr Butkus has hundreds –!), read through it, and take a look at the specs. I remember reading a very straightforward Canon manual a couple of years ago, and it actually taught me a lot about the basics like the effect of aperture on depth of field and choosing a shutter speed to capture (or blur) motion for example. Before the internet I expect this the photography beginner’s main resource for learning how to use the camera they’d bought.

    I think we also need to distinguish between the people who claim to be experts, and those who don’t. I’m sure many photography bloggers are like myself and just share our adventure(s) as we go, without claiming to be an expert. Enthusiastic amateur is how I would describe myself. If I can share something that a fellow photographer benefits from (even if it’s just sharing pictures made with a certain camera or lens that they love and that inspires them to explore that camera/ lens), then it makes it worthwhile.

  • Reply
    Randle P. McMurphy
    September 12, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    There are many ways
    to take a picture
    forget about the technics
    find your own vision
    and shoot it !

  • Reply
    Adam Paul
    September 23, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Mostly agree as someone who has both read and written camera related posts, but to wit, a counterpoint. My one quirky quibble is with #2, as it does carry an elitist tone to a degree that may well cause you to violate your own item #3 in the process.

    You have an excellent writing style that few people can match. Not everyone is so gifted, though they may have items of interest to share with others in the hobby, and if they shouldn’t waste time writing articles if they can’t use correct grammar, does this post seek to discourage them?

    Yes, good writing and grammar are a wonderful thing, but I can say I have learned more than a few unique things from sites and posts that have used less than stellar sentence structure or violated grammatical rules. And I say this as someone who notoriously shifts tense in my narratives and transposed “its” and “it’s” with reckless abandon.

    Now, can we get back to talking about the five ways Leica beats Canon?!?

    • Reply
      James - Founder/Editor
      September 23, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      This comment made me laugh, and kudos for giving me a taste of my own medicine. My only defense is I am mostly joking. 😉

    • Reply
      Mike Eckman
      September 30, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Pffft, Leica vs Canon is so last century. I can’t wait for the “Top 5 Best ‘Chicago Cluster’ 127 Film Cameras” comparo. My vote is for the Pickwick, but man, those Falcons sure are purrrdy! 🙂

    • Reply
      February 11, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Excellent comment Adam.

  • Reply
    Jeremy H. Greenberg
    November 1, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I haven’t come across a nauseating number of articles about Leica online but I would be tired of an inordinate number of any type of article for that matter. I completely agree with the goal of having a supportive tone and encouraging others in photography regardless if they are professionals, amateurs, or hobbyists. Can’t we all just get along?

  • Reply
    Guy Bird
    December 10, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Well said, man.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Great post James! Very enjoyable.

  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 8:57 am

    So we should write about how digital is awful and film is the best. I get it: you love film and hate digital.

  • Reply
    September 23, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Okay, alright, I may be late to the party and all that, but, dang dudes, all this Leica hating (or is it envy, love, admiration, or whatever) let it go man, let it go: spoken by a devout Leicaphile who also loves him some Nikon (F, F100, D80, D300s, D3s, D5) as well, plus my lovely Mamiya C330s and RB67 proSD and I think you get my drift, the most important and best camera is the ONE in hand, all the others are just collecting dust – in their own way – until picked up and shot. But ’till then my M3 will still be better than whatever you opt to claim it’s not!

    • Reply
      James Tocchio
      September 23, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      All in good fun. We love Leicas.

      • Reply
        September 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        as you – bloody well – should, philistine! (LOL) looking forward to your “upcoming” review of the Mamiya TLR systems – HINT –

        • Reply
          James Tocchio
          September 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm

          That’s really weird and coincidental you should mention that. Stay tuned.

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