Look Out for These Beginner Photography Mistakes

When starting out in any field, the journey becomes a lot easier if someone warns you of the pitfalls you might fall into. This way you can concentrate more on doing the right things instead of wasting time making wrong decisions. With his years of experience as a photographer, Nigel Danson shares seven solutions to common mistakes:

Mistake #1: Not Thinking About Distractions

When composing your images, pay special attention to probable distractions in your frame. Have you included something that doesn’t make sense? Is there anything in your frame that draws unnecessary attention? Keep an eye out for bright spots and colors that stand out and sway the viewer away from your main subject. If possible, crop them out and see how it improves your image.

Notice how the second image changes with the distracting skies cropped out.

trees with sky as a distraction

cropped image of tree without distracting sky

Mistake #2: Worrying Too Much About Gear

Modern day mirrorless and DSLR cameras are so feature-rich that you can get confused while trying to figure out what function or setting to use. Instead of getting tangled in such perplexity, focus on the basic: composition.

If you find it really difficult to figure out the settings, simply use your smartphone camera. This way, you can spend more time deciding what elements to include in your photograph without thinking about your settings much. Once you get things right with your smartphone, you can even use the auto mode in your camera for a more detailed version of the same image.

trees in the woods

Image taken with a smartphone camera

Mistake #3: Ignoring Light

Beginner photographers make a common mistake of not appreciating the quality of light. They usually tend to go out and shoot at their convenience and pay little attention to the lighting conditions. But, it’s important to understand how light and shadows together can shape your image. Shadows add depth and weight to your image, and combining them with proper light can make the subject stand out more.

light and shadow in photography

Mistake #4: Using Weather as an Excuse

Admit it! We’ve all used the weather as a reason not to go outside. But when you really think about it, there is no weather you cannot shoot in. Instead of using weather as an excuse, use it as an opportunity. Think of subjects you can shoot that are particular to that weather. Shoot waves and trees being blown during windy conditions. If it’s an overcast day, take close up shots and long exposures of moving water. Is it raining? Use the wet surfaces to photograph reflections of people and light.

street photography in the rain

Mistake #5: Not Spending Enough Time in One Location

Patience is an absolute necessity in photography. Invest as much time as you can in one location instead of jumping from one place to the other. Once you reach a location and take some photos, try to stay a bit long there. Grab an apple or drink some coffee. Doing so will allow you to see things that you might have missed before. Try looking at the scene from a different perspective.

Mistake #6: Blaming Your Camera

A camera is just a tool. What it captures depends on the skill of the photographer. Instead of changing your camera, spend more time understanding it. Having a better understanding of your tool will improve your photography more than getting a new one.

Mistake #7: Not Editing Your Photos

“Editing your photos is so important if you’re going to understand how to improve your photography.”

When you have a proper understanding of how to edit your RAW photos, you can set yourself a vision. With a good knowledge of post-processing, you can have a predetermination of the type of image you can conceive from a scene you are about to shoot.

raw image before and after editing

If something big like Photoshop or Lightroom scares you, get an editing app for your phone or tablet.

Have you been making any of these photography mistakes?

Like This Article?

Don't Miss The Next One!

Join over 100,000 photographers of all experience levels who receive our free photography tips and articles to stay current:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New! Want more photography tips? We now offer a free newsletter for photographers:

No, my photos are the best, close this forever