10 Photography Errors That You Can Fix Today

Mistakes are an inevitable phase of learning. The following is a compilation of the ten most common photography mistakes and tips to help you resolve them. Correcting these mistakes will significantly enhance your photography skills.

1. Buying Lots of Photography Gear

This mistake of acquiring lots of new photography gear all at once affects both seasoned photographers and beginners. However, new photographers generally think that buying the most new gear is going to make them the best photographers. Buying a new lens, flash, or camera won’t make you better at this craft. Actually, the best photographers can easily capture great photos with just about any camera. What is more important is creativity, technical knowledge, and a keen eye for lighting that will transform you to a much better photographer. Obviously, this does not mean you should never buy new gear. Different gear is actually helpful in providing better resolution and more flexibility. Just remember to enhance your skills as the photographer using the gear.

photography gear

photo by lineup33

2. Distorted Horizons

You are in position capturing a breathtaking sunset with your camera. However, in the eagerness of capturing the perfect sunset, you forgot to set the horizon level. As a result, all of your sunset photos are crooked. Luckily, there’s a simple way of fixing the issue of a misaligned horizon. Most photo editing software available can do this automatically or allows you to make the appropriate edits by angling the canvas to a horizontal position. You can also turn on your camera’s electronic spirit level or virtual horizon when capturing the photo for better precision.

3. Wrong White Balance

Do your photographs look too cool or too warm? This is a common mistake that is caused by the camera incorrectly assessing the white balance. While automatic white balance (AWB) can easily determine a suitable setting based on the situation, the best option for getting it right the first time is to set the white balance yourself. By correcting this mistake, your photos will appear more natural, and you won’t need to do lots of editing work later on.

white balance comparison

photo by Stephen Rahn

4. Lens Distortion

This particular mistake is common among beginners, as they’re more prone to using the wrong lens for a given scenario. Some lenses make subjects appear warped, while some introduce undesirable elements, like the loss of brightness or color around the edges. The first way of resolving this mistake to choose the right lens with a suitable focal length for your subject. There are some cameras that even apply corrections automatically as you capture JPEG images. However, it is most efficient and easiest to correct this mistake when editing the photo afterward.

5. Poor Focus

Relying on autofocus is not recommended for any professional photographer, since the camera sometimes gets it wrong. When this happens, you find that your images are focused on something in front of or behind your preferred subject. In order to make sure your camera chooses your preferred focus point, set your focus mode to single point AF.

focal point

photo by JFXie

6. Blurred Images

You’ve taken a great photo, but it’s just not quite as sharp. This blurred image can be the result of various factors, like movement of the camera during exposure, use of the wrong focus point, or subject movement. Unless the blur is meant as an artistic effect, there are a number of ways you can ensure sharper photos. These include increasing ISO sensitivity or using a faster shutter speed.

ferris wheel, carnival at night

photo by Billy Wilson

7. Dark and Dull Photos

Sometimes your photographs look darker than the real scene. This phenomenon is usually caused by your camera meter reading a part of the scene automatically and underexposing what you intended to be the subject of your photo. The remedy to this mistake is quite simple, and it’s known as exposure compensation. You can set this value in automatic mode to brighten your images. Or, you can set exposure manually.

8. Poor Composition

Composition refers to the art of balancing an image to enrich the flow. The mistake that many photographers make is capturing a photo with the subject directly in the center of the frame; it does not always create the most attractive image. A simple composition method that you can use is the principle of thirds. This is where you subdivide the photo into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, like a tic-tac-toe board. You then place your subject at the intersection points of the lines or along the lines, to create a more captivating image.

rule of thirds composition

photo by Dirk Dallas

9. Over-Editing

Good post-processing of photos is just about subtlety—improving instead of overpowering a photo. Too much HDR or excessive contrast can make your photos appear tasteless. Remember that each photo is unique, so it’s important to use different effects and filters based on what the photo requires. For instance, increasing saturation properties on landscape photos may look amazing, but doing the same on portrait photos will be quite unflattering.

10. Overlooking Photography Basics

This is the final major mistake that photographers make. After learning all the right skills—like focus, composition, and exposure—you shouldn’t forget the simple basics of photography. This includes things like charging your batteries, carrying spares, backing up memory cards, and ensuring you have all your gear before heading out to an event. Lastly, remember to always remove the lens cap once you start taking photos. You might be surprised to know that this mistake still happens to experienced photographers.

Photography is very enjoyable and rewarding. Just remember not to be scared of getting in close to your subject, as is the case with most beginners. Try numerous perspectives, like climbing up a tree or lying on the ground, to get a great perspective. Once you implement the above solutions and enhance your skills, you’ll be able to improve your photography quality.

About the Author:
Article written by Daniel H Harri, a photography enthusiast.

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