You buy a camera, you set it to auto, and you start snapping away. Simple right? Not so fast! Great photography is part art and part science and takes time, effort, and plenty of trial and error to get right. Thanks to the intricate technicalities of photography, there’s not really such a thing as a “natural”, so unfortunately you’re unlikely to start taking incredible pictures straight away. However, there are some mistakes that virtually all photographers make which are very easy to cut out right from the get go. Here are 5 common photography fails and how to avoid them.
Composition is the foundation of all good photography. But unless you know some of the basics, then even if you’re concentrating hard on the makeup of the image, you may inadvertently be getting it all wrong. Budding photographers often fall into the trap of trying to “centre” everything, when in actual fact in most instances this will produce an unbalanced image. Basics such as the Rule of Thirds, Framing, and Leading Lines are the cornerstones of composition and will mean that your photos will look far more engaging and balanced.
Out of Focus Images
Many beginner photographers are under the false belief that when the camera is on auto you can’t go wrong. However, particularly when it comes to focussing, the auto setting is often your worst enemy, and unlike some other mistakes, it’s impossible to fix once you’ve taken the shot. Though cameras are becoming more and more intuitive and intelligent, they simply can’t pick out the object of your focus every time, so it’s important to take back that control and pick the correct focus mode.
Not Shooting in RAW
The standard default format that most cameras shoot in is jpeg, and for the complete beginner this is usually fine. However, if you have even the slightest interest in taking your photography to the next level then it’s important to switch your format to RAW. Why? In jpeg mode, your camera does some of the processing work for you which means that when it comes to editing, your options are already severely limited. RAW is exactly as the name suggests and allows you complete control over every aspect of the editing process.
At one end of the spectrum there are those who don’t edit their photographs whatsoever, so even an image with great potential can end up looking a bit lacklustre. Then at the other end many beginners get a little over excited when they first start to use an editing suite. Most commonly this happens with the saturation function which can be used to make colors pop, but when overused leaves them looking unnatural and feeling overexposed. A good rule of thumb when you start using an editing tool is to edit your photo and then halve all of the values to tone it down. The more you play around and begin to understand what each element affects you’ll quickly gain confidence in your editing skills.
Failing to Backup
This is a biggie, and unfortunately most people don’t implement a good backup regime until they have an “incident”, which will often result in losing a significant amount of images. There’s no set way to best backup your pictures, and most photographers have their own methods, but it’s important to do it regularly and to multiple places, so that if one backup fails then you have at least one, preferably two more to rely on.