15 Common Mistakes People Make When Taking Photos And How To Fix Them

Oct 10, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

15 Common Mistakes People Make When Taking Photos And How To Fix Them

Oct 10, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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Regardless of skill level, we’ve all made at a least a few of these common photography faux pas. Even pros like Jeff Cable are guilty of a few, which is precisely why he’s here to share his experiences and advice on how you can recognize the mistakes as you’re committing them and what you can do correct it.

The clip is about an hour long, but don’t let that deter you. Jeff is an outstanding educator who knows how to keep it light, fun, and engaging. Watch the video here, then we’ll recap the list for you after the jump…

YouTube video

Drumroll, please!

  1. Mixing Light and Shadows – Cameras are not known for their ability to handle extreme differences between highlights and shadows. If you see dappling on your subjects, try moving them to a different area where the light is more consistent.
  2. Wrong Location – If your subjects are standing in front of an ugly parking lot, don’t be afraid to move them around!
  3. Missed focus – Use focus to draw the viewers eyes to the part of the image you want them to be looking at. For example, with portraits, the focus should generally be on the eyes.
  4. Wrong Aperture – Learn about all the ways you can use aperture to create interesting images–break away from the point and shoot look!
  5. Poor Composition – Study photo magazines and other resources to find inspiration behind the composition techniques of your favorite photographers
  6. Shooting Tight – “Cropping” an image can actually happen when you are framing the shot in your viewfinder. Don’t be afraid to get in tight when taking portraits.
  7. Wrong Use Of Flash –  As much as we’d like them to, flash heads cannot light up an entire city nor should they be used through glass. Flashes are also really great to use when it’s sunny outside to balance shadows.
  8. Unaware of Shutter Speed – Yes, shutter speeds help you control your exposure, but they also can be used to create or eliminate motion blur. Shutter speed can make or break your photos in more ways than just exposure.
  9. Bad Camera Basics – Hold your camera properly for steadier handheld shots.
  10. Shooting At Night Without A Tripod – It never works as well as you think it’s going to.
  11. Looking In The Wrong Direction – “The best shot isn’t always in front of you.”
  12. Standing By Walls  & Bushes – Don’t stand your subjects next to walls (even though they will naturally gravitate to them) if you don’t want flat looking images.
  13. Taking Too Few Frames – Memory is cheap and capacities are large. You don’t need to spray and pray, but make sure you got the photo you wanted to take.
  14. Lacking Creativity – Think outside the box, be different, and break the rules. (Even these rules.)
  15. Uneven Horizon Lines – Yes, technically the earth is round, but the horizon line should look straight!

Some of these are rage inducing pet peeves of mine, but, I have to admit, I’m also guilty of several of them, too.  What about you, how many are you guilty of? Don’t be afraid to share with us in the comments!

[ via B & H ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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4 responses to “15 Common Mistakes People Make When Taking Photos And How To Fix Them”

  1. Jim Johnson Avatar
    Jim Johnson

    “flash heads… [should not] be used through glass.”

    I’m not sure I understand this piece of advice. In my career, I have put flash through all kind of glass— outside windows, fill through a glass table, etc.— and have had no problem with it.

    1. Alex Avatar
      Alex

      I guess here is the pop up thing on the camera. Shoting straight to glass will end up with a horrible glare

  2. Silverwing Lopez Avatar
    Silverwing Lopez

    Camera is a tool that responds to you body not just hands and eyes. Too many people hold cameras wrong especially the digital ones with no viewfinder.

    I recommend to every new camera buyer in the family to spend a weekend just walking around with the camera in a PS mode and get familiar on holding it up to the eye, shooting vertical, from the hip and shooting using raised above head.

  3. gs_790 Avatar
    gs_790

    #15 darn it. You have an off day and everything is tilted by 5°
    Adobe’s straighten tool is just the best at sorting out that little snafu.