5 Mistakes Newbie Photographers Make (And How to Avoid Them!)

Newbie Photographer

Newbie Photographer

New photographers are faced with many hurdles that can get in the way of learning essential photography skills and taking great pictures. Here are some typical mistakes made by beginning photographers and what you can do to avoid them:

1. Staying in Auto Mode

Auto mode feels safe. And it works fairly well. Technological advances have produced cameras that calculate technically correct exposures. However, setting your camera to its fully automatic mode robs you of the chance to experiment with your photography and to move beyond taking snapshots. Setting the controls yourself allows for deliberate motion blur, freezing action, and over- or under-exposing for dramatic effect. If manual mode seems too daunting at first, try shutter priority or aperture priority mode. These semi-automatic modes let you choose some of the settings to add your own artistic vision to your photographs.

2. Relying on Photoshop

Image editing software has its place in photography. But most novice photographers benefit from practicing without it, at least in the beginning. Take some time to get to know your camera and its capabilities. Challenge yourself to create photos that capture light beautifully without cropping, adding filters, adjusting exposure, or otherwise altering the image later.

3. Buying Lots of Gear

You don’t need a lot of equipment to be a good photographer. In fact, some successful professionals can fit all of their gear into one small bag. If you have a camera body and a lens, you’re set to get started. Learn to use what you have before you go on a shopping spree. Once you’ve mastered the basics and exhausted all the possibilities of your camera and lens, you’ll have a better understanding of how camera gear works and will be better able to make sound decisions about what to buy.

4. Keeping Every Photo

Experienced photographers know their good photos from their bad photos. And they delete the bad ones. Toss out any photos that are out of focus, unflattering, or just compositionally boring. Draw attention instead to only your best images. In time, you’ll learn from your mistakes and have more keepers and fewer throwaways.

5. Not Reading the Manual

If you read newbie photographers’ forums, you’ll start to notice that the same questions get asked over and over again. Most of those questions are answered in the pages of the camera’s manual. Read the manual. Several times. Then keep it in your camera bag to refer back to later. That priceless little book is packed with so much information that you can’t possibly retain all of it with just one reading.

Making mistakes is a natural part of learning any new skill. When starting out with photography, it’s easy to get swept up into the illusion that you need the latest and greatest camera and editing software to create good photos. In truth, learning the fundamentals, being selective, and experimenting with the gear you already have can be a faster (and cheaper) pathway to success.

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Profile photo of Nicoal Price About Nicoal Price

​Nicoal is a New England photographer with a penchant for learning. Her work ranges from nature-inspired portraiture to outdoor product photography. Visit nicoalprice.com for more info.

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