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10 Common Photography Mistakes to Avoid

10 Common Photography Mistakes to Avoid

You just spent good money on your dream camera, took it straight out of the box as soon as you got home from the store, and started snapping pictures of everyone and everything in sight.  However, your images weren’t quite the professional quality you had expected from your ideal camera. Before you go blaming the camera and contemplate returning it, take a look at some of these common mistakes beginner photographers make.  Then once you correct these mistakes, you’ll fall in love with your new camera from and the photographs you’ll be able to create with it.

  1. Thinking Having an Awesome Camera is Enough

    It’s true that cameras have come a long way, and you can create the most amazing images with a DSLR camera like the Nikon Z5 from by leaving it on auto mode.  But if you never take it off auto, you’re missing out on a lot. It is crucial to read all of the manuals and learn everything there is to know about your new camera and the different settings. Your new digital camera offers you control over everything from exposure settings like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to functions such as focusing, white balance, and so forth. A lot of people prefer manual mode over automatic functions because it gives you the ability to tweak your settings a bit further than the AI would recognize. Without learning your cameras features, you will never know that it has aperture priority mode which allows you to control the aperture while keeping automatic functions for other settings like shutter speed. Or how to create long exposure images by leaving your shutters opened longer which allows the cameras sensors to capture any movement during the shot which creates a streaking or streaming like effect. This is a great way for beginners to practice taking photos using a shallow depth of field while not having to worry about matching the other exposure settings to compliment the f/stop you are using. Don’t let the camera settings overwhelm you. Without understanding your cameras functions, you will never know how to turn on image stabilization mode to reduce camera shake when shooting handheld or that you should turn it off when using a tripod. The best tutorials and photography tips are generated from practice and experience. With a little bit of experimenting, you will find tons of configurations that you will want to save in your cameras presets making you always ready to shoot when the opportunity arises.

  2. Thinking Everything Should Be Centered

    One of the most common mistakes new photographers make is always centering the main subject in the frame.  A good rule of thumb to use when photographing anything from portraits to landscapes is the Rule of Thirds.  Divide your frame like a tic-tac-toe board, keep your camera eye level with the viewers eye, and line up the subject on one of the third lines. Always double check your cameras viewfinder to find any flaws in the composition.
  3. Cutting Things Off

    It’s very common for newbies to cut off feet, tops of heads, tips of church steeples, or the tops of trees when first photographing.  Pay close attention when looking at your subject, and concentrate on fitting them into the frame. This is especially important when shooting street photography and travel photography which incorporate the whole scene to give it that immersive vibe that your viewers will love.

  4. Not Paying Attention to Background

    When photographing people, it’s easy to focus so much on your subject that you forget to pay attention to what is happening behind them.  It is so important to avoid having objects in the background that will look like they are sticking up out of your subject’s head or shoulder.


  5. Taking Photos from Same Angle

    Try to vary your shooting angles.  Instead of taking shots from the front, try sitting or lying on the ground looking up at your subject, or safely stand above them on a ladder or wall and look down.

  6. Photos Aren’t Sharp

    Controlling the sharpness of your photos and eliminating blur are critical elements of great photography. To help reduce the shake that comes with handheld cameras and achieve sharpness, your shutter speed needs to be at least one over your focal length.  This means if you were using a full frame camera with a 50mm lens, the shutter speed would need to be 1/50 th of a second.  In lower lighting situations, you will need to raise your ISO to allow for faster shutter speeds and a smaller aperture to create sharper images.

  7. Too Far Away

    Whether shooting portrait photography, get in close and capture what is important. Check the image for unwanted shadows and depth of field to keep your subject sharp. This also applies to landscape photography even though you may think you need to be far away to capture it all, you don’t. Just make sure that your scene looks complete using the rule of three and that everything you want to be in focus actually is. You may need to adjust your exposure and focus accordingly since these shots are generally done outdoors.

  8. Not Giving Your Camera Time to Focus

    Remember to allow time for the camera to focus once you have pressed the shutter release.  Cameras like the Canon EOS Rebel T7  from are fast, but not always fast enough.  Learn how to let the camera focus for you for the best shots.

  9. Never Using Flash

    Natural light can work well in many situations. When natural light is unavailable, professional photographers will use a 3 point lighting setup during photoshoots. This lighting setups leverages a main source of light and two supporting sources of light. However this is not always conducive so mastering the use of your flash will allow you to create light when it doesn’t exist and eliminate shadows while shooting in poor lighting conditions. This means when there is little light and also during the time of day under the mid-day sun when it is at it’s strongest. Extra light is helpful when shooting in harsh lighting conditions because when the sun is at its strongest it casts deep dark shadows which can ruin your shot. There are reflectors and lens filter accessories which can also help minimize harsh lighting conditions.

  10. Relying on One Lens

    Don’t be afraid to branch out and carry multiple lenses with you.  It’s better to move around and change your position a lot to get the right shots than to rely on a superzoom lens to do all of the work for you. every photographer should have at least one prime lens for their go-to focal length and a great wide angled zoom lens at minimum. Master these and expand to a telephoto or macro lens to shoot the stars or experiment with bokeh photography. Just remember to have fun and enjoy your camera while learning everything you can about how to use it.  Your photography skills will improve and you will be capturing better photos with each shot as you explore the world around you.

  11. Bonus - You do not edit your photos

    Post processing has become a big part of photography. Just ask any social media and content creator how important photo editing is to their business. Software such as lightroom and photoshop will help you sort the images on your hard drive and put the final touches on everything from color saturation, white balance, and sharpness to create a professional looking final image.

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