As a new photographer we want to set you on the path to taking great shots with real impact! Avoid these 7 common mistakes (that even established photographers make) and you’ll see a real difference fast!
1. Don’t Shoot in Auto
But it’s easy! And 60% of the shots actually turn out! Don’t let those “advantages” blind you to the total awesomeness of Manual mode. Switching to M will allow you to control exposure, freezing and blurring or motion, and depth of field (that’s the nice blur that appears in some of your backgrounds) and will ultimately get you shots that actually look like what you want closer to 100% of the time. When you make the switch you’ll need some good guidance. Usually watching Youtube videos and reading your manual on their own won’t get you there.
2. Avoid Camera Shake
Camera shake is a photographer’s mortal enemy. It occurs when the shutter speed is too slow and the camera shakes as a result of hand movement during the exposure. It’s your job to do everything you can to avoid it, whether that’s bumping up your ISO and shutter speed or using a tripod and remote.
3. Set Your White Balance
You know those dingy orangey-yellow photos you got at the last family reunion / dinner party / just hanging out at home? That’s likely because of the tungsten lightbulb at home and an incorrect white balance setting. Anytime your photos don’t appear to have the correct colour hue it’s because of an improper white balance setting. Take a look at the WB options and choose the one best suited to the light in your environment.
4. Don’t Centre Your Subject
This usually creates an amateur composition that it’s too exciting. Try putting your subject off to the side! Don’t use the excuse “I’ll just edit it later”. Do it in camera! As soon as you make the move your viewers will notice the extra effort you’ve put into your compositions.
5. Don’t Stand in Line for a Typical Shot
Don’t wait in line to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower, or the Mona Lisa. Try something different! Find a new vantage point, new angle or even something in your environment to create a natural frame. Now that’ll be a photo album your friends will actually look forward to seeing!
6. Don’t Ask Your Subject to Smile
You might be an ‘ok’ or ‘pretty good’ shot of your subject after asking them to smile, but it won’t be 100% genuine. Find a way to make your subject comfortable and laugh. For instance a wedding photographer might ask subjects to look deeply into each other’s eyes to cause a bit of a chuckle, then to look back at the camera.
7. Don’t Edit JPEGS
One way to describe the difference between RAW and JPEG is that a JPEG is like a nice polished plastic – it’s pretty and it’s ready to go, but it isn’t malleable. It doesn’t do well with stretching and pulling that editing inflicts. A RAW file on the other hand is like a rubber band – not so pretty, but very flexible when it comes to editing. If you’re planning on editing images shoot in RAW, but if you’re planning on shooting then emailing grandma the files right away shoot in JPEG.
Master The Fundamentals in Photo 101!
Our Photo 101 Course is a great introduction to digital photography. You’ll gain the confidence to start shooting in Manual mode on your DSLR camera by learning to properly control Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, and more.