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I remember when I first started in photography being underwhelmed by my photos more often than not.
I think that's probably a common occurrence amongst new photographers. Heck, I still find some of my photos to be clunkers and I've been at this a good while now!
Not every photo you take will be worthy of hanging on your wall, but there are certainly ways that you can improve your success to make those bad photos few and far between.
Bad photos can result from a myriad of mistakes.
But I'd argue that if you aren't pleased with your images, you might be making a critical mistake that has to do with one specific thing - your camera.
Let's take a look at a few common camera mistakes and how you can work to resolve them.
Mistake #1: Shooting Too Infrequently
Photography is like sports in that the more you practice, the better you'll be.
It can be hard to take a good photo anyway, but it's doubly difficult if you only shoot once or twice a month.
The less you shoot, the less familiar you'll be with your gear, and the less familiar you are with your gear, the less likely you'll be to get the type of photos you want.
What's more, the less you shoot, the less opportunity you have to practice things like composition, framing, and working in different lighting conditions.
That means that when you encounter new situations, you won't have much (if any) experience to fall back on to inform you as to what you should do.
Instead, challenge yourself to shoot as frequently as possible.
This doesn't mean you need to shoot for three hours a day, but spending even just 20 minutes with your camera each day will result in a marked improvement in the quality of your photos.
That means, of course, that you need to have your camera with you wherever you go. It also means that you should look into photography challenges that get you out and about with your camera and thinking about how to capture different types of subjects.
Mistake #2: Never Getting Out of Auto
When you're just starting out in photography, shooting in full auto mode isn't a bad thing.
For example, it allows you to concentrate on the basics of composition without also having to worry about learning to manipulate things like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
But if you never get out of full auto, your growth as a photographer will certainly be stunted. That's because in full auto you rely on the camera to do all the technical work instead of actually learning how to do those things yourself.
You can take baby steps to get out of full auto mode, too.
Learn how to use aperture priority or shutter priority modes, in which you can choose some settings, and the camera chooses others.
Then learn how to shoot in program mode, which gives you even more control over what settings the camera uses.
And when you've mastered those, make the leap to shooting in full manual mode.
Understanding how to shoot in manual mode gives you the ability to be far more creative than you can be in full auto.
And if manual mode sounds scary, it really isn't! Check out how to get into manual mode in the video above by Jared Polin.
Mistake #3: Thinking It's the Camera's Fault
There's times when you turn your anger about a bad photo on your camera.
I think it's a natural reaction to say, "You stupid thing!" to your camera when things don't go right.
However, that's the most common gear mistake that new photographers make!
In the end, it's what you do with the camera that generates the photo.
That means that you need to resist the temptation to get a new camera, one that's fancier and has more capabilities, because that new (and more expensive) camera isn't going to solve your problem.
Instead, keep the camera you've got and don't waste your money on a new rig that won't produce better photos.
Learn how to use your camera, get familiar with its settings, modes, and dials, and use your understanding of its capabilities to help it take better photos.
See what I mean in the video above by DSLRguide. It's geared towards videography, but it certainly applies to photography as well!
Getting to know your camera will help you learn the technicalities of photography - exposure, for example - while also allowing you to save some money to invest in more important gear, like a higher-end lens or a better tripod.
And keep ahold of that camera for a while, too. Only when your abilities outstrip the camera's ability to do what you want should you upgrade.
The less often you upgrade, the less time you will spend getting to know a new camera, and the more success you will have a result of your familiarity with your gear.
So, stick with the gear you have, use it often, and get out of auto mode. Doing so will help you become a better photographer, guaranteed!