We all make tons of mistakes as photographers, but naturally, we tend to make more of them when we’re just starting out. While learning from our own mistakes is effective, it’s a painstaking process. After all, learning from the mistakes of others is better because “you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” So, in this video, Nigel Danson shares seven of the most common mistakes made by beginner landscape photographers. Hopefully, they will help you skip making them yourself and you’ll improve your photography skills.
1. Not thinking about distractions
Distractions are all those elements in the photo that draw the viewer’s attention away from where you want it to be. Luckily, it’s not so difficult to fix this issue; you just need to be aware of, and keep a look out for, them. You can fix it in post-processing, by cropping out the distractions. Or even better, remove the distractions by composing the photo without them in the first place.
2. Worrying too much about gear
Another mistake many beginners (and even experienced photographers) make is not caring so much about taking photos, but caring about gear. If you’re just starting out, your camera settings may still seem a bit complicated and you probably spend a lot of time and effort thinking about them and setting everything up.
At the same time, you may think that your smartphone or entry-level camera simply isn’t enough. Okay, a high-end DSLR or mirrorless camera will ultimately take a better quality image in terms of resolution and dynamic range. But, sometimes you just need to focus on the light, composition and the world around you, and forget about settings and gear. That’s why it’s sometimes good to get back to basics and just shoot with your phone or your old camera.
3. Ignoring light
Light and shadows add a lot to the photo and actually make the photo. Light helps to emphasize some elements and it can really make a difference. Remember then, to appreciate the light, to observe it, and to think about how it can improve your images.
4. Using weather as an excuse
We’ve all done this – it’s a pain in the neck to go out in the rain, snow or wind. But the truth is: you can take amazing shots at any weather, and the elements can add to the story and textures in your images.
For example, if a day is overcast and dull, you can always use it to shoot portraits. Rainy days can be a great time to shoot street or landscapes because of the reflections you don’t get to see on a sunny day. Simply, try to make the best out of any weather conditions and turn them into your advantage.
5. Not spending enough time in one location
When you go to a location, don’t just shoot and run to the next place. Instead, stay there for a while. Sit down, enjoy the view and drink your coffee after you’ve taken the shots you planned. You know what will happen? You’ll start seeing things you haven’t seen before. You’ll get new ideas and create more interesting shots. As the day goes by and the light changes, the scene will look different. So, don’t visit lots of locations in a single day. Rather, choose one, spend some time there, and make the most out of it.
6. Blaming your camera
Don’t blame your camera and the settings for not taking good shots. Okay, sometimes the focus won’t be accurate and it’s not up to you. But most of the time, if your shots aren’t good it’s because of you. Maybe you didn’t position yourself correctly or you didn’t choose the right settings. For example, it’s not my camera’s fault that I forgot to change the ISO back from 400 to 100 when I wanted to shoot a sunset. : ) Anyway, focus on what you can do to make the best out of your camera and your skills.
7. Not editing your photos
The final mistake many beginners make is not investing enough time in editing their photos. I was guilty of this as well, because I used to think that spending a lot of time editing will make my photo look over-edited. But it’s not necessarily the case. The trick is to invest time in getting the best out of your images and correcting imperfections, but still making them look natural.
I have found myself making some of these mistakes, but I’m happy to realize that I don’t make them any longer, or it happens very rarely. What about you? Do you make any of these mistakes? Or you did when you were a beginner?
[7 BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY mistakes to AVOID | Nigel Danson]