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Great photographs are hard to come by. It takes skill and knowledge for beginner photographers to stop making common mistakes, start paying attention to photography tips out there, and turn those bad photos into great photos. Any photo can be a really good one with a good photographer who knows the ins and outs of digital photography, as well as what it takes to work the camera settings and manipulate the environment around them. Photography is a learned art. It takes the right eye, but also a lot of studying. Here are some of the worst photography mistakes you can make behind the camera and how to avoid them.
Forgetting About the Background
One of the worst photography mistakes you can make is not paying attention to the background when capturing a photograph. Great photographs embody every aspect of the image, including the subject, the lighting, and the background. A good photographer will make sure to consider what is going on around their subjects and pay attention to depth of field when considering the atmosphere of any given shot. Common mistakes like this can be avoided by moving just a few feet in some circumstances. Don’t take a bad photo by forgetting about the background.
Shooting in Direct Sunlight
Shooting in direct sunlight is one of the worst photography mistakes to make because if you do it by choice, it is almost always a set up for a bad photo. Great photographs include subtle lighting sources with white balance that can be managed as opposed to harsh sunlight that comes straight from above. With direct sunlight, there aren’t many options for good photographers to work with. While you can try to adjust your shutter speed, add camera flash as a fill in, and use post processing to adjust the photo, direct sunlight overall is a hard situation to work with.
Always Centering Your Subject
Centering your subject and avoiding the rule of thirds is one of the worst photography mistakes and one of the most common mistakes that many new photographers make. It is natural to want to put the subject as the focal point of the picture; however, one of the best photography tips is to use the rule of thirds and learn to move your subject along the grid lines of the photo.
Bad Photo Exposure
Having bad exposure, or bad white and black balance in your photograph, is one of the worst photography mistakes. Bad exposure can turn great photos into bad photos very quickly with digital photography because of a couple of factors. When taking photos, you need to make sure to adjust your camera settings correctly so that your lighting source doesn’t over or under expose your subject.
Not Knowing How to Focus
Taking your photo too quickly is a common mistake that many new photographers make because your photos will come out blurry. Make sure you are paying attention to your shutter speed and giving your camera time to focus before taking the photo. All good photographers have patience.
Not Finding Flattering and Diverse Angles
One of the best photography tips you can learn is to get creative with your photos. Finding flattering and diverse angles, as opposed to sticking to the basic and boring angles that all typical shots use, is a sure-fired method to improving the quality of your photos. One of the worst photography mistakes you can make is being the same as everyone else. Great photographs take risks. Point and shoot your camera from above, below, and around—whatever it takes to get that perfect and unique angle.
Over-Editing Your Photos
Over-editing your photos is one of the worst photography mistakes. Whether you think so or not, your observers will be able to tell. Editing is a good tool to use when you have red eye in photos or other unavoidable issues, and there are a number of editing tips for beginners out there, but post processing can only be used in small amounts. Otherwise, it is a curse to your craft. Capturing the natural image of any photo is what makes photography special, and having this ability is what makes a good photographer stand out from the rest. Don’t commit this common mistake. Keep your editing to a minimum.
Not Knowing Your Camera's Settings
Not knowing your camera settings is the most unforgivable photography mistake because it is the easiest thing to avoid. When you buy a camera, read the manual inside and out! Study every bit of your camera and learn how to use it. Your camera is your baby, and all good photographers are going to take the time to learn their camera’s settings so they can utilize them properly.
Not Cleaning Your Camera's Lens
Not cleaning your camera, and specifically your camera’s lens, is a rookie mistake, which makes it one of the worst photography mistakes there is. Don’t take bad photos simply because your camera isn’t clean. Bring cleaning supplies for your camera in your camera bag everywhere you go. You never know if it’s going to be a dusty day or a rainy/foggy day. Be prepared for all the elements you may face to make sure any photo you take is as clear as possible.
Not Switching Between Vertical and Horizontal
Lastly, one of the worst photography mistakes you can make is to always stick to horizontal shots and to forget that your camera can be used vertically as well. There are many instances in which vertical photography can transform your photo from a bad photo to a great photo. In photography, everything depends on the imagery and what works best with the background, the lighting source, and the subject. If you learn to try different things and work the camera in different ways, you will be a good photographer in no time.
If you are aware of some of the worst photography mistakes, you can do your best to avoid them as you practice with the camera. Practice makes perfect; so even if you make some of these common mistakes, learn from them as you go and do your best to do better in the future. Even great photographers were once beginners looking for tips who developed a learned skilled over time. You’ll get there if you have passion and consistency. Keep pushing!