photo by borchee via iStock
I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a perfect photo. Sure, there’s plenty of incredible photos that come really, really close, but as far as perfection goes, it just doesn’t happen.
That being said, we’re all trying to achieve perfection, and the way to get close to that mark is to be aware of common photography mistakes and learn how to avoid them.
That’s where this tutorial come in…
Here’s a few photography mistakes to avoid as you continue to learn, grow, and develop as a photographer.
Photography Mistakes to Avoid: Cluttered Composition
photo by VDCM image via iStock
One of the most common photography composition mistakes is having too much clutter in the shot.
With too much stuff in the frame, as is the case above, it’s difficult for our eyes to know where to go. When that happens, the subject gets lost and there’s nothing compelling that draws our attention (let alone commands our attention).
This doesn’t mean you have to go minimalist, though.
photo by kotangens via iStock
In looking at the photo above, there’s a whole lot going on. There’s shapes and colors, textures, shadows, and light, and so forth.
But because the hot air balloons contrast with their surroundings and because they have a prominent position in the photo, the composition doesn’t seem cluttered.
So, to declutter your shots, you can frame out distracting elements to simplify the composition. But you can also focus on contrasting elements - like the shape of the hot air balloons versus the shapes of the landforms below - which helps strengthen the subject and make the shot seem much less busy.
Photography Mistakes to Avoid: Lack of Depth
photo by praetorianphoto via iStock
One of the mistakes photographers make that’s easy to correct is a lack of depth in their photos.
Sure, a photograph is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional scene, but that doesn’t mean that your photos can’t have a feeling of depth and dimension.
An easy way to do this is to “shoot through something,” or place an object between you and your subject.
This can be very subtle, too, like in the image above.
Just a little bit of blurry wheat in the foreground adds depth to the shot and helps our eyes understand where the little girl is in relation to the surrounding features.
photo by Photosspeakathousandwords via iStock
Another trick you can use to improve the depth of your photos is to use a leading line to draw the eye from the foreground to the background.
As shown above, this is a particularly helpful trick for landscape photos as it encourages our eyes to move “deeper” in the shot, thereby giving the impression of three dimensionality.
Again, this trick doesn’t have to be so obvious as a pathway through a forest. You can use fences, footprints in the sand, and even beams of light as leading lines.
Editor's Tip: When having photos printed, one thing that people often miss is examining the type of materials used for the print. For the highest-quality prints, ensure that the printer uses commercial-grade inks resist moisture and fading for a long-lasting, beautiful print. If you choose to have a canvas print made, ensure the printer uses fine art-grade canvas because it's more durable. Get the scoop on the best canvas print companies in this head-to-head comparison.
Photography Mistakes to Avoid: Not Finishing the Process
photo by gorodenkoff via iStock
If you’re like me, you have hundreds - if not thousands - of photos on your smartphone, memory cards, and external hard drives that haven’t seen the light of day since they were taken.
And while the majority of photos I take aren’t necessarily worthy of spending hours processing them, the best ones deserve to have their moment in the sun.
If you aren’t all that familiar with processing images, there’s all sorts of simple post-processing tutorials you can consult to learn programs like Photoshop or Lightroom. Just take it one task at a time - learn how to use layers, for example - and before you know it, you’ll have the confidence to process your best images like a pro.
Something else to consider in the vein of “finishing the process” is having your best work printed.
There’s something so incredible about seeing your photos in print, especially large prints. It’s a proud moment to unwrap your photo and find that it looks like a million bucks on the wall.
I’m not saying that you need to print hundreds of your favorite photos, but certainly a print or two here and there is a nice way to culminate your hard work.
For me, canvas is tough to beat for a photographic print.
Most of my canvas prints are landscapes and portraits, and I find that the texture of the canvas adds character and depth to the shots.
Not all canvas printing companies are alike, though, so do your due diligence and check out my review of the best canvas print companies of 2019, which I linked to above in the Editor’s Tip.
The winner of that canvas shootout was CanvasHQ, and it wasn’t even really close.
What I appreciated the most about CanvasHQ is that they use the best materials on the market - archival-grade canvas and hand-made frames among them - so your print is beautifully made and stays that way for generations.
What’s more, CanvasHQ came out on top because they offer some of the fastest shipping you can find.
They’re in Arkansas and I’m in California, and from the time I place an order until it arrives on my doorstep, it’s often just 3-4 days. That’s crazy!
Of course, they offer an excellent product for the price, so you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a high-quality print, either.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating your achievements as a photographer, so as you learn to minimize your mistakes, also learn to give yourself some props. And what better way to do that than with a gorgeous large-format canvas print?!