Learn from Your Photography Mistakes

There are thousands of little mistakes that can wreck a potential great shot and the following is a list of the most common beginner photographer’s areas of improvement and how they can be avoided or resolved:

Placing a horizon line in the middle of your frame – this will cut your image in half and can appear jarring to look at. Unless it was your intent for creative reasons that will surely enhance the shot, place the horizon line on a third of the frame instead for a more pleasing composition. This goes the same for both horizontal and vertical lines. 

Cutting off the top part of a person’s head or parts of the feet – have you ever seen those snapshots where the person is standing and smiling and everything seems just right until you suddenly realize the person’s feet seem to have been cut off at the ankles in the photo? Before pressing that shutter button, first check and make sure everything that should be in the shot is included in the frame. 

Here is an example:

Forgetting to half-press the shutter release to lock in focus – when using autofocus, aim your lens at the subject and then half-press the shutter release button before taking the shot to lock in your point of focus so that it stays sharp. This is essential especially if your depth of field is shallow and you want a certain part of the subject to be in defined while the rest of the frame is blurry.

Placing a subject in front of a mirror or pane of glass then shoot using a flash – reflective surfaces will bounce back the light from your flash and cause flare and blown out highlights. This could ruin the shot beyond repair in post processing. To avoid this issue, you can position the subject against a different background or change your shooting angle so as not to include the reflective surface in your shot. You can also do without flash entirely and choose another light source instead such as window light or a lamp light. 

Shooting from too far away – another common error that budding photographers make is to shoot the subject from such a distance that it can no longer be noticed and appreciated. If your subject begins to blend in with the background, it is time to move closer if you can or use the zoom function if you cannot get any closer to your subject. Moving close to the subject not only gives it more importance, but this action also allows you to remove background distractions from the image frame area. 

Here is an example:

Placing the camera on an unstable surface – if you are in a situation where you have to let go of your camera (such as a self-portrait) and do not have a tripod on hand to keep it steady, you can be inventive and place your camera on a steady surface such as a table or the floor. BUT do not let your guard down for a second and place your camera on something that does not offer much support such as on an uneven ledge or high up on a stack of pillow, with the thought that it will only be for a few seconds. It does not take a second for your camera’s weight to shift, topple over and crack in several places. 

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