Being a beginning photographer can be tough sledding sometimes.After all, there’s a lot that can go wrong and a lot of things that can frustrate you to no end.Of course, that’s true of photography no matter your skill level!But still, wouldn’t it be nice to be aware of a few of the most common mistakes beginners make?Even better, wouldn’t it be nice to actually understand how to correct those mistakes?
1: Crooked Horizons
It’s a “small” mistake, but one that can be so negatively impactful on an image that no matter how great the rest of the shot might be, it’ll still go into the “unsuccessful” pile.That is, you can have a perfect exposure, an excellent subject, great lighting, and nail the composition, but if the horizon is off, that’s the only thing that anyone will notice about the photo.You might be holding the camera incorrectly or simply rushing through the shot. Perhaps you got bumped by a passerby just as you pressed the shutter button or maybe you were standing on a slight slope and didn’t account for that when you framed up the shot.
2: Not Understanding White Balance
The great thing about white balance is that it allows you to determine the color temperature of your images.
That is, as the color temperature of the light source in your image changes, you can manipulate the white balance setting in your camera such that the light is the correct color in the shots you take.
For example, if you’re shooting outdoors on a cloudy day, you can use the cloudy white balance setting to slightly warm up the colors in the image, which will be on the cool side due to the cloud cover.
Unfortunately, many beginner photographers don’t have a very good understanding of how to set white balance, instead favoring the use of Auto White Balance and letting the camera make all the decisions.
And though Auto White Balance works great in many situations, it isn’t foolproof, thus the need to learn how to adjust it yourself.There are a few ways to do this…First, you can purchase a gray card, which helps your camera determine what neutral gray is, and from there you can set a custom white balance for each shot you take.That’s what some professional photographers do, but it can be a laborious process.
3: Blurry Images
Of all the mistakes on this list, this one might be the most important.Where you can correct the first two mistakes in post-processing, if your image is blurry, there’s nothing you can do to fix it after the fact.That means it’s critical to get your photos tack-sharp when you take them, which is sometimes easier said than done.
o give yourself a better chance of getting sharp images, you need to hold your camera in a way that gives it maximum stabilization. That means holding it with both hands, bringing your elbows to your chest, and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart to maintain good balance (or sitting down, as seen in the image above).
4: Lack of Spatial Awareness in Composition
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and just start taking photos of an interesting subject without putting a lot of thought into how you might take an even better photo of that subject.In other words, sometimes there can be a lack of awareness of the scene around you, and as a result, you can neglect to realize that just a small adjustment in your perspective or shooting position could enhance the shot greatly.Additionally, when taking portraits, beginners might cut the tops of people’s heads off or compose the shot such that it looks like the person has no hands or feet.
5: Not Setting the Correct Exposure
I know that when I was a beginner photographer that when someone started to talk to me about exposure settings, my eyes glossed over.It’s a tough subject to master, but one that’s critical to you realizing your full potential as a photographer.Simply putting the camera in full auto mode and letting it do all the work isn’t going to get you very far!But that doesn’t mean you need to shoot in manual mode all day, every day, either.