- Beginner Photography Tip: Advanced Controls That Will Take Your Photos to the Next Level
- Best Camera Settings for Landscape Photography
It's been a good, long while since I was a beginner photographer. But believe me, I remember the struggles well.
There's so much to learn as a beginner, from technical things like camera settings to artistic things like composition.
And somehow you have to learn those things while trying to bring them all together to get a quality shot.
If you're like I was when I was just starting, though, there's plenty of images in which things don't go right.
The key is to not just learn about the mistakes you're making, but also learn how to fix them as well.
In the video above, Sorelle Amore offers up her take on 12 of the most common beginner photography mistakes. She also outlines common sense solutions that will help you minimize mistakes in the future.
Below, I've outlined some of Sorelle's best advice.
Editor's Tip: Get better photos with a better lens. Find out why prime lenses are an ideal companion for any photographer.
Shoot Dark to Avoid Blown Out Highlights
One of the most common mistakes beginner photographers make is to blow out the highlights, or overexpose them.
When the highlights in a photo are blown out, they appear as bright white with no discernable detail or features, as shown above.
Compounding the problem is that this isn't something that you can fix in post-processing as that detail is impossible to recover.
Instead, the solution is to underexpose your images when you take them, or shoot a little dark, that way you can protect those highlights.
It's far easier to recover detail in shadowed or dark areas in post-processing, so you don't lose anything by underexposing your photos a little bit.
Perhaps the easiest way to underexpose your photos is to use your camera's exposure compensation feature.
When shooting in aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode, or program mode, you can tell the camera to underexpose the shot by varying degrees.
You can learn how to use exposure compensation here, but basically it's a fine-tune adjustment that gives you the power to halve the amount of light entering the camera with each adjustment.
When I look back at some of the first photos I edited, it's hard not to cringe.
I edited the crap out of them, and maxed out things like saturation and clarity, which resulted in photos that didn't look remotely natural anymore.
There's nothing wrong with editing your photos - in fact, as Sorelle points out, not editing your photos is kind of a crime.
You just have to practice and learn how to make simple adjustments to enhance your photo without going totally overboard.
Quick Tip: Minimize how much editing you need to do to your images by striving to get things right in-camera. Using lens filters like a circular polarizer, can help minimize glare, reduce haze, boost contrast in the sky, and make colors pop. A graduated neutral density filter will help balance out bright skies and dark landscapes so that you have a well-exposed image throughout. Using just these two filters can save you tons of time in post-processing!
Try Not to Panic
As Sorelle points out in the video, sometimes it's hard for a beginner photographer not to panic when they feel like the shot is on the line.
I can identify with that, as there were plenty of moments in my early career when I panicked and just started rapid-firing shots in the hopes that one of them would be usable.
But that approach won't get you anywhere except more panicked because you won't have any good photos.
Instead, take your time and examine the scene and subject matter before you press the shutter.
Look at how the light interacts with the subject. Inspect the background. Consider ways that you can make the photo unique by changing your shooting position or perspective.
The point is that even taking 10 seconds to give your camera settings, composition, and so forth a thought or two will help you take better photos.
Just calm down, slow things down, and really think about what you're doing!
Be sure to watch Sorelle's full video to get even more beginner photography tips and to see sample images that illustrate each point.