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If you look at your photos and wonder why you even bother to pick up a camera in the first place, the fix might be simpler than you think.
In fact, if you ask me, in most situations, what's wrong with a photo is just a silly mistake that has a significant, negative impact on the shot.
The key is to understand what the most common photography mistakes are and what you need to do to fix them or avoid them altogether.
With that in mind, let's get started!
When you look at a scene with your eyes, they automatically adjust to the lighting. Your camera doesn't.
What's more, our eyes can see a much broader range of light from highlights to shadows than our cameras can accommodate.
That means that a lot of beginner photographers take photos with overexposed or "blown out" highlights that have no detail - they just appear as areas of bright white.
The solution to this issue is easy - when you take a meter reading to determine the exposure, expose for the highlights. This ensures that nothing will be overexposed in the shot.
Not sure how to do that? Just check out the tutorial video above from Serge Ramelli.
Editor's Tip: Once you've perfected your image, finish it off as a gorgeous print.
You Use Cut-Rate Post-Processing Software
How you process your images can, in many cases, be just about as important as how you take the image in the field.
That means that having the most robust and effective tools at your disposal to work on your image in post-processing will only help you create images that have tons of impact.
Now, you can't save a bad image with fancy post-processing programs like Lightroom. However, programs like Lightroom will make the process of editing your good photos easier and more streamlined.
If you aren't interested in buying something that is on the spendy side, GIMP is by far the best free photo editor out there.
Whatever program you use to edit your photos, it's essential that you actually learn how to use it. Don't try to muddle your way through. Instead, read a few articles, watch a few YouTube tutorials, and become a post-processing master!
You Use the Wrong ISO
Remember earlier when I said a lot of beginner photographers overexpose the highlights?
Well, another problem is that a lot of beginners underexpose their shots as well. You just can't win, right?!
One of the primary reasons why photos are underexposed is because of an ISO that's too low.
Back in the day, using a high ISO resulted in a photo that had a lot of digital noise, which looks like grain from the film photography days.
As a result, it was often recommended to use the lowest ISO possible to avoid that digital noise.
But today's cameras are much more adept at handling higher ISOs.
That doesn't mean that you can shoot at ISO 102400 and expect as clean of a shot as you get at ISO 100, but you can certainly shoot with confidence at ISO values at 800, 1600, 3200, and beyond.
And since ISO determines how sensitive the camera's sensor is to light, the higher the ISO, the brighter your photos will be.
So, if you have an underexposure problem, simply try increasing the ISO!
Get a quick overview of ISO and how to use it in the video below from B&H Photo Video.
Editor's Tip: Taking boring portraits is a common beginner photography mistake. Find out how to spice up your portraiture.
The Focus is Off
Cameras today have excellent autofocus systems (especially Sony cameras) that make getting a sharp photo easier than ever before.
But even sophisticated autofocus systems don't get it right every single time.
Unfortunately, if the focus is off, the shot will be ruined. Even if everything else is absolutely perfect, a blurry subject is impossible to get past.
The first step in getting tack-sharp photos is understanding how to focus the shot in the first place.
There's actually a variety of methods to get the shot in focus, which you can learn about in the video above by PhotoRec TV
Quick Tip: It's not enough to learn how to focus the shot. You also need to know how to check the focus, too. It's easy: after you take the shot, use the zoom feature on your camera's LCD to get nice and close to the subject. If it's sharp, you're good to go! If not, you know adjustments are needed.
There are plenty of other beginner photography mistakes that might be bringing your photos down, but if you work to overcome those listed above, you'll be in a much better position to get the quality of photos that you want.
As noted above, taking better photos is all about understanding what went wrong and how to fix the problem.
For more instruction on overcoming beginner photography mistakes, check out this collection of articles.
For even more insights into fixing beginner photography mistakes, check out the video above by Tony and Chelsea Northrup.