3 Common Mistakes Beginner Photographers Need to Put Right


3 Common Mistakes Beginner Photographers Make Goes Like this

A short one for you today folks, but no less important. Let's go….

Starting out in photography is all about finding your feet – your style, learning the foundations of photography and developing from mistakes you've made along the way. These points here aren't here in any form to discourage but to just highlight some areas you can focus on as a beginner and just be aware.

mistakes beginner photographers make
Image by Tim Graf

Onto three mistakes beginner photographers make, then.

1. The Misconception the Latest Gear Will Improve Your Photography

First up, having the most awesome gear released just last week by the top manufacturers isn't going to make you an awesome photographer by comparison. It's a shame you might say, but let's be quite real about this for a moment.

Like EVERY SINGLE PRO will tell you, learning the fundamentals of light, composition, exposure, technique and what actually makes an interesting photograph will triumph over a $3000 Full Frame DSLR with various super-sharp, fast zooms and telephoto lenses.

Having a good camera is really important to most photographers, of course. But the simple fact here is that it will not transform you into a great photographer, I guess it does mean you'll have the gear as an investment for when you gradually improve. There's a positive for you.

If you know your gear inside and out and can adapt quickly to different and diverse situations, you're on to becoming a great photographer people will respect. This often means not buying something expensive and overly sophisticated when starting out. Having an excellent grasp on photography will ensure you get great

Having an excellent grasp on photography will ensure you get great results, not the latest gear.

mistakes beginner photographers make
Image by Jeff Hopper

2. Not Seeking the Best Light Source

First point out the way, next comes Light. Whilst looking at the mistakes beginner photographers make, after the gear comes your understanding of light. When you're choosing a location to shoot or you're already there, looking for where the light is coming from is absolutely paramount.

Why? Because your heavy reliance on light for most areas of photography is what exposes your photo. So you can see what I'm getting at here, look for where the light is coming from, stop and think for a few moments.

Choosing a location based on the quality of light you have available is key. And another thing, avoid harsh direct sunlight wherever possible – if it's not, find some shade, a tree or ask someone to turn a large reflector into a sunshade.

Harsh light and shadows don't create flattering images UNLESS you're intentionally seeking this look – then it becomes a style.

mistakes beginner photographers make
Image by greekfood-tamystika

3. Composing Without Thinking – What Were You Thinking?

I reckon this was the biggest mistake for me personally as a hobbyist photographer when I was starting out a few years ago, I still was getting used to my entry-level Nikon DSLR and my style of “point and shoot” was very literal. One assumes that applying some artistic style to your depth of field will mask any composition issues.

Wrong. This won't, but deep down in that aspiring photographer's mind, you know that – truth is, there's no hack to good composition.

Anyone with an ounce of savvy photography experience will explain that pausing for a moment and thinking about what's in your frame, your use of available lines, colors and shapes combined with placing your subject intentionally, will lead to a better image, fact.

  1. Analyze the surroundings. Got the right subject but angle just feels wrong? Move your feet – this is exactly why I'm a huge advocate of prime lenses.
  2. How's the light, what's your camera's exposure meter telling you? Change shutter speed, aperture or raise/lower the ISO – your decision.
  3. Happy? Take the shot, take another from a different angle, or zoom in/out, move closer or walk back.
  4. Now you've got a few images on your memory card. Pause, have a quick chimp. Any improvements you've just figured out, go try them
  5. Rinse and repeat UNTIL you're satisfied. Photography is supposed to be fun and enjoyable so really get in the groove here and concentrate, you'll be in your element, trust me.
Image by Andrew E Weber
Image by Andrew E Weber

There we have 3 mistakes beginner photographers make when they're starting out. I'm certain you'll read this and say, “yeah but, what about #4…….” – please comment below. Hey, we're family.

Further Resources

Further Learning

How's your post processing coming along?
Do you need a video series to get you on track with your practical photography skills?
“How to Consistently Transform Your Images Into Powerful and Share-Worthy Works of Art In Lightroom”

About Author

Russell is a self-taught photographer who loves travel and capturing life as it unfolds. Having lived in the far east for a few years with some long term travel, this catalyzed his new-found passion for photography.
Lifestyle, Food, and Event Photography are areas he enjoys most.

Excellent Article. Thanks foir sharing. On prime lenses, I took my Nikon 50mm f1.4 prime lens to a Portrait photo shoot. There was not enough space at the venue to get the shot I wanted. I switched to my usual Nikon 17-55 f2.8 lens and got the shot at 40mm.

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