Easy Photo Tip: Five Things Every Photographer Needs

Number five: a large, furry pet. Either a cat or a dog will do; in a pinch, a tame rodent. Self-styled photographers whose weapon of choice is the ignoble cell phone tend to focus on living things that cannot easily escape, hence the plethora of kitty cat videos on YouTube. Without an appropriate animal, your Facebook postings will be limited to banal things like your dinner (burp!), newborn child (burp!) or flower garden (achoo!).

Number four: the most expensive camera money can buy. The only thing better than owning the only 50-megapixel camera on your block is the joyful angst of pining for the 60-megapixel model that, according to rumors, will be announced at Photokina next September. (It WILL be announced, and I’ve already played with it, so there!)

Number three: membership in an online forum that trashes damn near everything. When the long awaited parcel arrives from Adorama or B&H and the lens of your dreams is finally in your hands, what’s the first thing you should do? Right! Immediately login at your favorite review site and post a message that says the new lens is not as good as the older model because it’s 3/8s of an ounce heavier. Or lighter. Or shorter. Whatever the case may be. If you can’t find something bad to say, you didn’t look hard enough.

Number two: a pirated copy of Photoshop’s Ugly Doppelganger image editor.Your argument—and it’s a curious one—is that PUD is just as good as Photoshop and a whole lot cheaper. The sad truth is this: the reason many people recoil at Adobe’s subscription-based software scheme is that it’s now impossible to steal. I mean, come on! Honest-to-gosh, always up-to-date full versions of Photoshop and Lightroom for less that $10 a month? You probably spilled more than $10 worth of Starbucks last month.

And number one: a sense of humor. None of these characterizations apply to you, of course, and me neither—well, maybe just a tad around the edges. Reba McEntire is alleged to have said, “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.” Throw in a tripod and that just about sums it up for us photographers.

—Jon Sienkiewicz