- Select a focus point
- Adjust the white balance
- Use aperture priority, shutter priority, and program modes
- Change manual exposure settings for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO
- Bracket exposures
- Use and read a histogram
Let's face it...
When you're just learning how to be a photographer, there's a lot of mistakes that can derail you.
Heck, even after years and years behind the lens, you can still make tons of mistakes! The process of learning never ends.
However, with a few tips, you can get a head's up on some of the most common rookie photography mistakes that you need to avoid.
Here's a short list to get you started.
Mistake #1: You Rush Through Your Shots
I remember a long, long time ago, I was taking photos of a sunset.
There were spectacular colors in the sky and beautiful cloud formations that made it a sight to see.
So, I rushed through as many shots as I could so I could capture that brief moment.
The problem is that because I rushed my shots, I got 30 or so really bad photos and none that were worthy of showing the world.
Whether it's not quite getting the image focused, having a crooked horizon, cutting off a portrait subject's head, or some other dumb mistake, rushing through your shots won't do you any favors.
Instead, if you force yourself to take an extra 10 seconds per photo to double-check your camera settings, composition, framing, and so forth, you'll find that you have better quality photos.
Editor's Tip: Using a tripod will help you slow things down and help you get sharper photos to boot.
Mistake #2: You Buy Brand New Gear
I understand the desire to have brand new, fancy gear. After all, I bought a Nikon D850 right off the shelf.
However, when you're starting out, you can find smokin' deals on pre-owned photography gear, which saves you money in the short-term, but also helps you fill out your kit as well.
A lot of new photographers mistakenly believe that it will be most helpful to get a nice, new camera, but that's just not the case.
It's the lens that makes the most difference - you'll get better results with an old camera and an upgraded lens than you will with a new camera and an old lens.
But even as important as the lenses you use are to the quality of your photos, you still don't have to buy brand new lenses.
Instead, you can search for high-quality, pre-owned lenses on sites like Lensfinder.
Lensfinder is a marketplace for photographers to list their used gear for sale so people like you can snatch it up for a great deal.
It's a comprehensive platform, too.
You can contact sellers and communicate any questions or concerns you have.
You can also rate sellers after the fact, that way other buyers know who they're dealing with.
Lensfinder has fraud protections in place as well, so you can rest assured that the transaction is safe.
And with payment right there in Lensfinder via PayPal, you don't have to worry about your sensitive banking data finding its way into the wrong hands.
They've got a great selection of all kinds of lenses, and since they're pre-owned, you might be able to snag a couple of lenses for the price of one new one!
Mistake #3: Not Taking the Time to Learn How to Use Your Camera
I will be the first to say that reading an owner's manual is zero fun.
But it's a necessary evil if you want to take better photos.
That's particularly true these days, as cameras - even entry-level models - have an incredible array of features that can help you capture improved shots.
In particular, learn how to:
And that just scratches the surface...
Editor's Tip: If you're overwhelmed by what you read in the owner's manual, hop on YouTube and find a tutorial video that explains the topics you're struggling with.
There's hundreds more beginner photography tips that can help you take control of your photography and get better results, but these three tips are certainly a good place to start.
Ultimately, it's all about taking the time to learn your craft, getting the right gear for the type of photography you like to do, and committing yourself to practicing a lot.
If you can do that, improved photos will be yours to have!
For more insights into beginner photography mistakes and how you can fix them, check out the video above by Sawyer Hartman.