We’ll show you five common mistakes new photographers make and what you can do to fix them.

When you’re learning how to do anything, you’re bound to make mistakes along the way, and digital photography is no exception.

Luckily, those of us who have spent years learning the ropes of shooting digital already know there are some common mistakes beginner photographers often make that can be easily avoided with a bit of prior knowledge.

Here are five of the most common technical mistakes beginner photographers make, from image blur to overlooked composition, and some advice on how to avoid them.

1. The Missed Focus

Abstract bokeh and blur shopping mall and retail store interior for background
The Missed Focus in common mistakes from freepik (mrsiraphol)

If you’re using autofocus and letting the camera choose your focus points, it’s highly likely you will focus on the wrong part of your image frame from time to time, especially when using a shallow depth of field.

This is something that’s either impossible or difficult to fix after the fact, so it’s important to nail your focus in the field.

A simple way to make sure you get accurate focusing is to use your camera’s spot autofocus mode to choose your focus point.

When focusing for people and portraits, make sure your focus point is on the subject’s eyes.

Pro tip: Use your back button focus to lock on.

2. The Shaky Frame

Green landscape created by 4045
The Shaky frame by 4045

If your photos are turning out blurry or slightly unsharp and you’re not sure why, it’s probably because you are using too slow of a shutter speed.

When your shutter speed is too slow, the shaking of your camera can reduce the sharpness of your image.

A rule of thumb to help avoid this is to use a shutter speed that is at least equivalent to the focal length of the lens you’re using.

For example, if you’re using a 50mm prime lens on a full frame camera, the slowest shutter speed you can use without shake is 1/50 of a second.

This becomes 1/85 of a second on an APS-C (crop) sensor camera, as the effective focal length of the lens is multiplied by 0.5.

If you’re using a zoom lens, you’ll need to pay attention to the focal length you’re using as you zoom in and out.

Pro tip: If your lens or camera has image stabilization, you can shoot at three to five stops slower and still get a sharp image.

3. The Buried or Blown Exposure

Buried or Blown Exposure (picture from Noemí León)

While shooting in RAW gives you a lot of latitude to adjust your exposure in post-processing, there are definitely limits on what you can do.

If your exposure is too dark, the shadows will be grainy and discolored when you bring them up in processing.

Too bright, your highlights will be blown out and the detail won’t be recoverable when processing.

Scene with a high dynamic range, including very bright highlights and dark shadows, a general rule of thumb is to underexpose slightly to preserve details in the highlights,

while not obliterating the shadows, and then brightening the shadows in post processing.

Pro tip: Use your camera’s spot metering function to meter different parts of your frame.

4. No more auto mode!

The AUTO mode was created for amateurs.

However, if you want to develop your skills, you should avoid it like the plague!

As we have mentioned before – get to know your camera, read the instruction and take advantage of its functions! It’s easy 🙂

Also, try to take pictures in a RAW format which is easier for digital image processing. 

5. Photo editors? It’s not everything!

When it comes to digital image processing, you should remember that photo editors are great to expose the beauty of your photograph, not to create it from scratch!

Of course, they were created to make photographers’ life easier but you should never forget about the frame discipline. 

Create technically good pictures to minimise further interference in a photo editor.

Learn how to use the slider which controls the brightness, the contrast and the saturation and don’t be afraid to strive for the ideal! 🙂

Part of tex from www.colorland.com

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