There is an old saying in photography: “If you don’t make mistakes, you’re doing something wrong!”
Professional photographers take thousands of pictures of just one event, sometimes hundreds of pics of just one door. Photography is all about practice, knowledge and more practice. Getting that perfect shot will be much more complicated than you may believe at first glance.
In order to help you out, let’s simply get the mistakes out of the way, or at least the most common ones. Obviously, we cannot go through all of them. However, we can easily help you by highlighting some mistakes that professionals and beginners make. Let’s start with the beginners! We’ll then move on to the professionals and offer some extra advice to help you on the long run.
This is not the most common beginner mistake but it is one that is a lot more common than you may think. The regular reason behind the choice stands in the fact that pop-up flash is bad. This is quite obvious. However, this does not mean you should not use flash in your photos. It just means that you need to be careful and choose the correct flash type for your camera.
It is really easy to forget your ISO on a specific setting. In many situations we see beginners with an ISO of 100 on most photographs. This leaves under exposed and dark areas. The good news is that with a little practice you will get rid of this problem. Just remember that you need to check ISO before a photography session. Write it down on a small notebook until you actually memorize it. This may sound stupid but it is not. It will help you out a lot more than you may believe at first glance. Use the notebook technique whenever necessary.
You cannot fix focus during post production. The problem is that you may need to take a photograph fast as something happens right in front of you. Whenever you have a wrong focus set, the camera will try to refocus or will not track the subject you have. Make sure you learn how to fix focus problems and never underestimate the importance of focus.
Your work as a photographer is important. You need to properly protect your photos. Buy 2 backup hard drives if you have to. One thing that you never know is when a hardware error will lead towards you losing all the pictures you ever took. When that happens, you can kiss your portfolio goodbye! Many of the beginners that read this article will have no backup.
You have access to so many extra options when you shoot in RAW. Shooting in JPG automatically means that the camera applies sharpening, compression, contrast, white balance and many other things. You will find yourself naturally not knowing what you are missing when you use JPG. If you do not know what to do, you can always shoot in both modes at the same time. You will instantly notice the differences.
As you understand optics and aperture, you quickly realize exactly what a wrong lens can do. You are tempted as a beginner to choose a lens that is something like 18 to 250 mm. Learn about lenses so you can choose those that are the best for your type of photography. There are countless tutorials that are available online so why not read all of them?
You will quickly learn that this is seen as sin in photography. Free software is never as good as professional software. Since you will end up investing a lot of money in equipment, you should never try to save money on software. If you cannot afford to pay at first, it is not a problem. As time passes, you need to be careful that you buy everything that you need. This does not only mean equipment. You should also buy all the necessary software.
Taking your photography skills to the next level is usually what every beginner photographer desires. The problem is that over 80% of photographers end up out of business in the first 5 years. In many situations the difference between a professional and a novice is not about work quality. Usually we are faced with common mistakes that are made by pro photographers. Let’s see what you need to always avoid. You will quickly notice that most professional problems are not actually associated with photography.
So many photographers post too many pictures from a shoot. Professionals can easily end up making their portfolio look like that of an amateur when photo overload appears. Always choose the very best photographs that you take and be really careful with the selection process. The portfolio of a photographer is a storefront. You need to be sure that the world only sees the very best that you can offer.
We, of course, assume that you already have a blog/portfolio/website where you showcase your work. Different moments in life can lead you to completely forgetting about updating the online portfolio. Never make this mistake! You have to be sure that the site has content and the visitors have to see that you are not out of business. Take the necessary time to update the site with new, fresh content. Set up a weekly schedule and always stick to it!
Many photographers believe that they will be able to make it alone. This is incorrect. When you use networking, you are guaranteed that you find new opportunities that would not be available without knowing the right people. Through networking you can expand contacts and meet new potential clients. Always go out and meet other professionals. Network with the best vendors so that you can have new clients!
Doing professional photography work is not cheap. Unfortunately, many professionals end up underestimating costs. That leads towards inadequate pricing. If you do not correctly estimate expenses, the pricing strategy will be incorrect. Calculate estimated yearly expenses as accurately as possible. This includes advertising, taxes, upgrades and supplies.
It’s not a bad idea to want something new for beginners and professionals. However, so many photographers believe that they actually need new gear to take really great photographs. Remember that new gear is not going to make you a better photographer. A really good photographer will never let gear hold him back. Think about your business. See if the extra purchase is merited instead of buying new gear as an attempt to get new work.
One thing you may not understand is that there is such a huge difference between taking photographs as it is your passion and taking photographs as it is your job. Pro photographers often lose enthusiasm as they start taking pictures for a living. In order to combat complacency, simply take some time off from working and do projects that are 100% yours. When you do not have client specification boundaries, you can let your creativity run wild. This brings in inspiration.
Mistakes are only human. DO NOT think you will make no mistakes. For instance, how many times did it happen till now that you forgot to add a memory card in the camera? Maybe you forgot about changing your ISO. It is possible to make so many mistakes and as already mentioned, when you do not make mistakes, there is a pretty good possibility that something is wrong.
Here are some steps that you can take in order to improve yourself based on the mistakes that you make:
We noticed that there are many photographers out there that do not actually admit that they make mistake. If you do not admit that, it is obvious that you cannot learn from the mistakes you make. In most situations people prefer to believe that they do not make mistakes. Unfortunately, most of those that fall into such a category stand out as mediocre photographers.
Analyze your photographs constantly. When you notice mistake, write them down and see how you can improve.
Keep all the photographs you take, at least for some time. Only not do this when you have limited card space and you have to take many photographs. Never delete photographs while in the field. It is really important to remember this since you will definitely be tempted to go through the pictures on the LCD screen and delete some that do not appear right. If you do that, you will end up with many different good photos at the end of the day and you will not be able to criticize the work in an objective way.
In many cases a photographer takes thousands of pictures so self-critique time may not actually exist. However, when you delete images before you actually get to see them on a large resolution screen, opportunities for improvement are missed.
As soon as you get home, copy the images to the hard drive. Go through them. Skim over the images that are technical failures or that are highly similar. If you see photographs that are not perfect, try asking yourself why that is the case. Is it the position of the subject? Maybe the lighting! Sometimes there is way too much background noise or motion blur. Analyze all your work with objectivity in mind so that you can be sure that you do not make a mistake. This is what improves your work on the long run.
You can correct some of the pictures that you do not like through post processing. However, you should never overuse editing just to solve some problems. Through editing you can actually become aware of the various problems you may have missed. However, everything starts with self-critique. Never end up being dependent on editing to fix errors that appeared. You will lose a lot of time and this is definitely not productive.
Whether you are a professional or a beginner, knowledge is what counts a lot at the end of the day. The photographer will always learn. This is something that few people understand. You cannot simply keep taking photographs and expect to get better as time passes. This is just a misconception. In reality, the more knowledge you have about photography, the better you will be.
We should also add that it is a very good idea to talk with other photographers. That will help you as you can exchange tips and tricks. You never know when you learn something new. It is vital that you keep learning and knowledge is what helps you out the most at the end of the day. You have to keep learning. Avoiding mistakes is only the start. Learning how to fix them is the continuation.
Never believe that you know everything. You can be the best photographer in a region and remain surprised as someone does something that is unexpected. Never be arrogant and acknowledge the fact that you make mistakes. After all, you are just human.
Re-read the mistakes that were highlighted above and make sure you never forget about the power of self-critique. Let technology help you and gain access to all the data that is necessary to improve your current skills. It is something that will aid you a lot more than you may believe at first glance. Never hurry when you take photographs or when you process them. Well, at least try to allow as much time as possible towards improving your work!