This has come up before, but mostly in the context of video (see What is meant by "photographic equipment" as reference in the help center?), although it's also a frequent issue around industrial/scientific optics and computer vision (see Are questions about industrial optics on topic?).

Basically, over the years, we've come to the general consensus that we want this Photography site to be focused on questions that pertain specifically to the art and science of photography, not necessarily every possible thing you can do with a camera. (Just as a question about using a hammer to crush eggs would be off topic on a carpentry site, even though it's about "carpentry equipment").

I think this is a good thing, and I think it's good that we close questions that don't fit; that helps keep the signal-to-noise ratio high, and should encourage more questions about photography and photographs and keep the site from being overwhelmed by these other uses. And, judging by the reliably-fast closing of such questions, I think most active users here agree. (Also see Is there any hope for making this site about photography? and Why are printers, earplugs, and shoes on topic, but not video, graphic editing, or computer vision?)

But, the help center still has ""using photographic equipment" in the on-topic list. This is a request to qualify that with "(in the context of photography)", with a link to Why are printers, earplugs, and shoes on topic, but not video, graphic editing, or computer vision?

The current disconnect between the help and site practice leads to frustration like How would one digitize a thick book into a PDF version in the most time-efficient way, using only a camera and a computer? — clarifying would help.


  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Seems that we spend more and more effort to drive more and more people away from this site. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2017 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AramHăvărneanu Please see this other discussion. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Dec 17, 2017 at 15:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It seems to me that most of the driving away is done by downvoting questions from new users without any explanation whatsoever about why the question is downvoted almost as soon as it is posted. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 17, 2017 at 17:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ On the other hand, if there is a more appropriate community here at SE for their question, shouldn't we want to point them in that directions? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 17, 2017 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Corey Yes, it is, although there are some problems with that. Sometimes questions end up being hot-potatoes. Or, someone asks what video camera to buy, and we send that to the video site, and then they close it for being a shopping question, and no one is happy. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 15, 2018 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


This is a request to qualify that with "(in the context of photography)".

Or perhaps, "... in the context of producing still photographs as a creative or artistic exercise."

That allows cameras/lenses as they apply to still imaging, as well as computer post-processing and making physical prints.

If a question is about how to use 'Lightroom' to adjust the white balance of an image file it would be on-topic. If the question is how to install 'LR' on a computer running a specific version of an OS that hangs when the user attempts to install it, perhaps that would better asked elsewhere.

To be more specific, maybe we could modify this:

If you have a question about …

photographic processing or retouching
using photographic equipment
techniques and best practices
history of photography
photography in society
improving an aspect of a photograph

to this:

If you have a question about …

still photography as a creative or artistic exercise.
still photography for documenting human culture, history, or nature
using photographic equipment to create still photographs as defined above
techniques and best practices for creating such images
photographic processing or retouching of such images
history of creative and documentary photography
creative and documentary photography in society
improving an aspect of such a photograph

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you can edit it to be more compact, have at it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 17, 2017 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @scottbb Do my recent changes ameliorate your concerns? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 21, 2018 at 10:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ameliorated. =) \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb Mod
    Jul 22, 2018 at 4:22

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