So you have had your first DSLR camera for a month or two now and you are very excited about using it. If you are new to photography, there will be a lot to learn and try (see some of our beginners' photography tutorials to get started). Being a beginner in photography, you are bound to make mistakes too. In this post, we'll take a look at some of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. Incorrect Exposure Due to Changing Light
Whenever you are shooting outdoors, the light will change and clouds will move, which will affect your exposure. This means that you’ll need to be aware of that and adjust your camera settings accordingly. You don’t want to end up with over exposed or under exposed images at the end of the day. If you have set your camera to Manual or some of the Semi Manual modes, make sure you are aware of the lightning conditions around you at all times and compensate accordingly for it.
You can fix some minor exposure mishap in post-processing but this usually affects the quality of the image. For instance, if it is under exposed, it will introduce loads of noise when you bring it back up to proper exposure. On the other hand, if it is over exposed it might end up clipping and losing details completely in the highlight areas.
Keeping an eye of the light meter on the viewfinder and peaking at the images after you shoot them certainly helps a lot.
Photo by Steven Leonti
2. Not Timing Your Shots Right
Most modern cameras are capable of shooting at least 5 frames per second. Just for comparison, in the days of film it would mean that you would be out of film in 7 seconds. However, now that you aren’t limited to 36 frames only and you can make 300 shots per minute, it doesn’t mean that you should.
First of all, when you shoot too many frames, you tend to pay less attention. Spraying and praying won’t make you a better photographer. Actually realizing how to make a good shot will – by shooting less frames per scene, and actually thinking through before each button press. Once you see this as a fact you are on your way of being a better photographer.
Additionally, if you are shooting a model, it just makes everything more tense and scary for them.
Normally, other downsides are the wear and tear on the shutter curtain (which has around 150 000 actuations of life). Also, it eats your battery quite faster and fills up the card fasterr.
3. Not Guiding Your Models
Not all models will know what to do all of the time, and probably you won’t either. However, it is wise to stop shooting from time to time to communicate and talk them through your ideas and hear their opinion on it. They might not be the photographers, but they know their body better than you do.
Photo by Steven Santiago Photography
Communication also helps with releasing tension and nervousness from the lens being pointed at them for the whole time.
4. Shooting on Auto All The Time
Finally, the most important thing is to get the camera out of auto. Even though the camera will try to keep a proper exposure, it won’t do it as you wish it to do. Instead it will decide on its own and most of your pictures will be just snapshots with pop up flash. Try to get used to Manual, or at least Aperture Priority. It will be hard at the beginning, frustrating as well. But once you get used to it you’ll never go back to Auto.
Another thing you should do right away is switch your camera to RAW image capture, instead of JPEG, and leave it there, forever.
RAW is practically a file that contains all the data the sensor gets, no compression whatsoever. Files are up to 10 times bigger, but they allow hardcore changes done to them without losing much data. You can change the white balance with much greater accuracy and smaller loss of data.
Photo by salimfadhley
Additionally, RAW files allow for bigger changes in exposure and recovering highlights and shadows. At the end of the day, RAW files will be sharper, with no JPEG artifacts, and much more information and dynamic range. If you process them properly, the difference is even bigger. RAW file format along with bigger sensor and interchangeable lenses are the main advantages of the DSLR cameras over the point and shoots.
The last mistake, probably quite big for some, is being lazy. Photography isn't something you learn over staring at the PC and watching endless amounts of tutorials. Grab your camera and start shooting because it is all about practice and you can never practice enough.