7 Common Beginner Photography Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

In many ways photography is the simplest of hobbies. All you really need is a camera, or even a decent smartphone, and you have the potential to take great images. But taking great pictures is both a science and an artform and going from novice to expert takes time and dedication, and at the beginning there are certain mistakes that virtually every newbie photographer makes. Check out these 7 common beginner photography mistakes and how to avoid them.

Being Scared to Get Off Auto

When you purchase a brand new camera with lots of seemingly complicated functions and buttons with names you don’t understand, it can be a bit daunting at first. Because of this many people are terrified of switching out of auto mode and get stuck in a rut of taking average snaps. All it takes is a little bit of research and some practice to start getting used to the controls so don’t be scared to get off the auto setting.

Thinking You Need all the Gear

Top photographers have bags and bags full of expensive gear. But you're not a pro, and you can start taking awesome photos with just a few pieces of key kit. Don’t let not having all of the latest accessories put you off.

Believing Expensive Gear Alone Will Improve Their Photography

Conversely, some people think that investing in a bag full of gear that costs thousands of bucks will instantly turn them into  David Bailey. Wrong. If you don’t know how to use it, there’s little point in having top of the range equipment, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to your hobby if you want to improve.

Always Centering Their Images

To a beginner, the obvious thing to do is to always make sure everything is dead center when they take a picture. Horizons, people, buildings, all end up right in the middle of the image. But composition is a huge part of photography and you soon get to learn that centering your subjects makes for a boring and displeasing image.


Editing is an essential part of great photography, but when you’re first using an editing tool it’s easy to get carried away. Over editing makes things look completely unnatural, so it’s important to keep it real. A good beginners trick is to edit your photo, then reduce all of the changes by half.

Cutting Off Important Parts of the Image

Good photographers train their eyes to notice little details, but these seemingly small features can make a huge difference to the end result. It’s unlikely that you’ll accidentally cut off a subject’s head, but chopping off their feet can have as significant an effect. Keep your eyes open and try to notice what’s at the edge of the frame, not just what’s in the middle.

Not Checking What’s Behind the Subject

The background of a picture can be just as important as the actual subject, and if there’s something unwanted that you don’t notice when you pull the trigger it can totally ruin the image. You can end up with people appearing to have things growing out of their heads, or elements that detract from what you intended to be the subject. Check what’s going on in the background before taking each snap.

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