Common mistakes to avoid when you start doing serious Photography


Recently I was interacting with Kids of Online Photography series and for last few weeks we were learning about understanding different kinds of light conditions, composition rules, camera modes etc. And one of the kids asked a very interesting and important question - "Sir, we are learning about what to do for clicking great photographs but what are the things we should avoid?" and that's so important aspect to understand well. So today we will talk about things you should avoid when you start doing serious photography. 

All of us make mistakes and we tend to make more mistakes in our state of creative-high. Some photographers or artists are naturally gifted and have great sense about using gadgets to produce meaningful outcome, which ties is hard for them to define in words. Here I am going to share some of the mistakes I have done in the past and now know that those were mistakes. I am sure I am still making mistakes, but probably I may not know that those are mistakes, so there would be a scope to keep updating this blog-post. 



1. Good camera is enough for good photographs, but a Great photograph demands lot more.

Many times beginners believe that a good camera is enough for clicking good photographs, but that's not really true. Photography is an art and your own efforts to compose good photographs would be most important. Camera is an enabler and feature-richness of your camera is valuable only when you know how to use it well on top of your creative ideas & execution. So please be happy with the camera you have focus more on composing interesting photographs. 

2. Gear Lust : Living in the dreams that 'I wish I had that camera or that lens or that fancy gadget'. - Right spirit while shooting is very important so make best of what is available with you. 

There can never be that moment that you will have all possible equipments all the time, because of many reasons. but that's not important. What important is that you know well about what you have and how to make best of those gadgets at the moment of clicking a photograph. Spend most of the time and energies planning/shooting the frame with whatever is available and spend least time overthinking about your wish-list of gadgets. Such feelings are usually spoilers and may ruin the moments for you.   

3. Buying lot of Camera Gadget but spending less time on learning & understanding their features/capabilities well. 

One of the most common mistakes I have seen Photographers doing is not even looking at the powerful manual of the gadget bought. I am not even going to some very specific gadget, but even Camera. Lot of camera owners don't even know what all their camera offers.  So please avoid this common mistake and pay attention to manuals provided by gadget manufacturers. Those are usually best resources of appropriate information. 



4. Not paying attention to where the focus it. 

It's important to know what is your main subject and ensure that's in main focus. Honestly I make this mistake multiple times. And this is not limited to identify the subject and focussing on that, but lot more than that. In your composition how you want to have the depth of field, and then focus at right point. There is science behind that but art is more important, which is about identifying your key subjects and align focus point accordingly. A badly focussed photograph is useless, no matter how well you have composed it.   

5. Not paying attention to camera settings used to click last photograph and clicking photographs with wrong settings

This is another common mistake and this one takes lot of conscious efforts to have right settings on the camera. you would be able to relate through following examples.

- Last night clicked a photograph at high ISO and then in morning clicked with same setting when high ISO was not needed. This introduced noise and you got to know when you downloaded the photograph. 

- Were you ever obsessed by shallow DOP and always clicked photographs at lower f-stop or high aperture? Shouldn't that be decided on the basis of what you are shooting. 

- Which camera mode is best for what kind of photography? : Aperture mode, Shutter-speed mode or full manual. Whatever you chose, remember you are adjusting it as per the need of photograph you are going to click. 

There can be endless examples on this front and please share some of your favourites in comments section below. 

6. Not tilting camera vertically and clicking everything by keeping the camera horizontal. 

Many times beginners don't realise how powerful it can be to click some specific subjects in vertical mode, so be watchful if you are one of those who always uses camera in horizontal position. 

7. Don't panic and be calm & have lot of patience. 

Patience and peace of mind are always super important to remain focussed. And especially in any form of Art, these aspects bring the difference. Artists may panic when there is slight change in plan in terms of time, situations, resources. But worrying about all that can only ruin your photograph, so whatever the situation be calm and focus on what best can be done. Avoid anxiety when at work. 

8. Don't worry about DSLR if you can click great photographs with your Smartphone camera. 

I don't think I need to say a lot about it. Great photographs are not great because they are clicked with a particular camera or lens, but how photographer imagines and executed. So please don't worry about DSLR vs phone thing. 

9. Don't settle with one good photograph of your subject. As they say, 'Good' is enemy of 'Great' so don't settle with single photograph and explore different angles or perspectives



10. Not paying attention to background and surroundings of your subject can spoil your photograph. 

11. Cutting things off around edges of the photograph - is one of the most common mistakes which photographer realise when some asks something like 'why did you cut feel of the subject in this photograph'

12. Not getting close enough to the subject is another common mistake done by beginners in photography. 

13. Blurry photographs because of small Aperture or Slow Shutter speed.

14. Always shooting photographs at eye level can be very boring.

15. Missing the moment because of juggle with manual modes of DSLR camera or Advanced mode of Smartphone cameras.

16. Not using a Tripod for Night Photography or clicking in low light can be disastrous. 

17. Shooting at wrong time of the day or not understanding light well.

18. Non-Optimal use of Camera flash. 

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