- Not Reading the Manual
- Busy Backgrounds
- Uncharged Batteries
- Using a Cheap Camera Bag
- Not Learning the Basics
- The Worst Beginner Photography Mistake
- National Geographic Photo Basics: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Great Photography
- Photography: The Definitive Visual History
- Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs
- 4 Basic Photography Tips for Beginners
- Beginners Guide to Composition
- How To See Like a Photographer
Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels
As photographers, we are continually striving for improvement in our craft. However, despite our best intentions, we all make photography mistakes. Common photography mistakes affect all photographers, including seasoned professionals.
What are some of the more common mistakes photographers make and what can be done to correct them?
Table of Contents
Not Reading the Manual
photo by ridvan_celik via iStock
Nobody likes to read the instructions for anything it seems. The cure is simple: read the manual. Let’s take it a little further. Your camera likely came with two different sets of instructions. One that has the basics, often with lots of illustrations, and another that looks like a Tosltoy novel written in code.
I’ll be honest, that basic one often looks so simple that we think we don’t really need to look at it. And that comprehensive one is intimidating.
photo by 123ducu via iStock
I’ve been doing this for years, so I sometimes get the mindset that I know this stuff. But, I have also learned that no two cameras (or lenses, flashes, or lights) are completely alike in controls and operation. I once spent an entire day wondering why my ISO kept changing. Then I read the basic illustrated instruction sheet and the reason was covered in the 5th point.
The in-depth gear guides published by independent sources are among my favorite things to read now. In addition to the operations of the camera, these guides give great advice and tips for getting the most out of your new gear.
Recommended Photography Reading
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
We look back at our old photo albums and see images that only are interesting to us. So we tend to overlook the glaring problem in many of our snapshots, busy backgrounds.
Especially when photographing people, we need to be aware of the background. A common error in portraits is a twig or pole that looks like it’s growing out of Uncle Bill’s head. Another issue I often see is that is so much happening around whatever our subject is that our main interest is lost in the jumble.
Photo by Sarmad Mughal from Pexels
Composition rules and techniques such as selective focus, as shown in the image above, will fix this mistake for future images. And it also teaches us to pay attention to what’s going on around our subject, Whether it’s a person, a group, a building, or a scenic vista, we can take the time to examine our entire image area, not just the point of interest.
Sometimes, the easiest way to fix this beginner photography mistake is to use our feet. Move over a few feet, walk further away or closer to the subject, change the height level of our camera position. All of these simple methods will help us correct this mistake.
photo byAkintevs via iStock
So, we’re at that never to be repeated event or in a location we traveled far to reach. We pull out our camera to start shooting. And we look at the battery charge indicator only to see it blinking! We forgot to charge our batteries.
In order not to miss images, I recharge my batteries in all my devices before I head out to someplace or something important. Still, forgetting that step can happen when doing several things at once. Another good idea is to have a backup camera battery.
Rechargeable batteries for our devices can be picked up cheaply. If our camera or other device does not use a rechargeable battery, carrying extra AA or AAA batteries is also cheap and easy. Keep them in a pocket in your camera bag.
Using a Cheap Camera Bag
photo by Dusan Ilic via iStock
Camera bags are often the neglected photographic accessory. Beginner photographers tend to buy the kits offered by major brands and stores which tend to have a cheap bag included as part of the deal.
After using that bag for a while and gathering more gear like extra lenses and an external flash, photographers start looking for something better, But there are so many choices. Beginner photography mistakes include settling on the first bag that pops on on a web search.
Alternatives can be found from several brands. One of the best replacement bags I’ve found is the Pillbox™ from Hazard4®. It is an extremely versatile bag. You can wear it as a backpack or carry it. It offers an obscene level of protection for your camera gear, having been designed and manufactured by Hazard4®, maker of some of the best tactical gear around.
It also gives you excellent protection while being easy to get in and out of. You can even put your drone in it. The Pillbox™ is modular and adaptable for fitting what gear you have. A good bag like this will probably outlast some of your current camera gear!
It’s comfortable, too. The shoulder straps feature thick padding that helps lessen the impact from carrying a fully-loaded bag. There’s also a molded back-pad that’s abrasion-resistant, molds to your spine, and ventilates sweat.
I went to Death Valley last year for an impromptu night photography shoot, and I wish I wouldn’t have my Pillbox™ at that time. The bag I used ended up being far too big for what I needed and it didn’t keep my back cool like the Pillbox™ would. Lesson learned!
Not Learning the Basics
photo by spooh via iStock
By basics, I mean such vital photographic concepts, guidelines, and rules as the Exposure Triangle, Rule of Thirds, and Sunny 16. Other good things for all photographers to know are techniques that can improve your images. Selective focus, depth of field, how to capture or blur motion, and how to hold your camera steady are all good things to learn.
The Worst Beginner Photography Mistake
photo by ogichobanov via iStock
The one worst of all of the possible mistakes photographers make is not fixing or learning from your mistakes.
The first time my battery died while I was hiking a beautiful trail, I vowed to check my battery levels often. The first time I broke a piece of gear because it fell out of my cheap bag, I decided to find a better bag. The last time I messed up my composition, I decided (one more time!) to take the time to look at the entire scene in front of my lens.
Mistakes are common, but they don’t have to be a habit. Learning from mistakes, from ourselves or others, will make us a better and happier photographer.