We all make mistakes in photography, especially when we’re new to it and still learning. The sad thing is, no matter how long you choose to pursue photography and no matter how good you get, you’ll keep making mistakes. The important thing is that we are able to recognise them, acknowledge them and learn from them in order to keep improving.
That’s the focus of this video from Nigel Danson, who goes over seven compositional mistakes he often sees from beginners. And he’s not judging, because he admits he’s made these mistakes himself and provides examples of where he’s done it. But he also shows how he identified the problem and how he went about solving things.
After starting of with an explanation of exactly what composition is, Nigel breaks down his seven tips in quite some depth. He shows some photographs he’s created where he made the mistakes and how he went about correcting them. Chances are, many of these (if not all of them) will be mistakes you’ve either made already or will do at some point during your photography.
- 2:37 – Having the scene too tightly packed together
- 6:18 – Not using negative space effectively
- 7:48 – Not thinking about light in the composition
- 13:00 – Not thinking about how elements connect together
- 17:11 – Including the whole scene but ignoring the parts within
- 18:40 – Not using the foreground to your advantage
- 21:32 – Not taking enough time to really consider the shot
While the tips mentioned in the video are related to photographing landscapes, the principles can also be adapted to just about any genre. Food, macro, product, events, weddings, all of them can fall foul of compositional mistakes like these. Perhaps it’s just having a product amongst too much clutter on a tabletop or putting your bride and groom too close to the edge of the frame, they can all be adapted to fit other genres.
The trick, as Nigel says right at the beginning, is to look back at your work, really study them and try to figure out why they failed so that the next time you head out, you’ve got a bit more direction in what to try next!