We all start out as dummies when it comes to photography. That’s the basis for this entire Camera Stupid blog. Mistakes are great and even necessary. Especially when you learn from them as part of the learning process.
I hope you can learn from some of mine.
Here’s 5 photography mistakes that make you look dumb and how to avoid them.
1. Shooting in JPEG
Just don’t do it. Shoot in RAW. Memory cards are so cheap these days. If you’re going to go through all the work of trying to learn photography and create a great photograph then there is just no excuse.
You want the best possible image quality… right?
You want the freedom to make more adjustment in post editing… right?
You want to future proof your photos… right?
Good, then shoot RAW.
You think all the pro photographers shoot RAW?
Here’s a little story.
I work with a couple of contractors on occasion. They specialize in video production but they use DSLR cameras (capable of high resolution RAW still photos) to capture their video.
Last year, my company contracted them to go to an event and create a highlight video. We also wanted some stills to use in an annual publication.
No problem right?
They shot some great photos, but they were all low resolution JPEG files!
Moral of the story – Shoot RAW.
ESPECIALLY if you are on a paid shoot.
ESPECIALLY if you are shooting something that would be difficult or impossible to re-shoot.
Want to learn more about the power of RAW?
Download a Free PDF
2. Over Editing
We’re all guilty of this. As we’re learning our own style and what makes a great photograph we all have the tendency to overdo it a little in the post production process. For me it was a dissatisfaction of the photo itself and a mistaken assumption that I could improve a poor photo through the editing process.
Yes, Photoshop and Lightroom are powerful tools that can absolutely improve a photo. In most cases, it’s a better idea to try and get it right in camera first.
Every extra moment you spend crafting your photograph is an hour or more saved in editing.
I most often get into trouble trying to fix something in photoshop because I’m doing this next mistake…
3. Rushing the shoot
Time is money right? It can be hard to remember everything you need to and want to remember when you’re in the moment and trying to capture the perfect photo.
How many times have you been looking through your photos from a shoot and thought “dang, if only I had taken the time to slow down and do this…”
I’m guilty as charged.
Ideally we’d have time to always thoroughly plan out our shoots, creating a shot list, mood board, lighting test etc… but the reality is we often just don’t have time.
Even when time is short, I like to run through a mental checklist and think about things like exposure, composition, lighting, posing, and motion. There are so many variables in photography. I like to get the safe shot (the one I know will work) and then explore out from there as time allows.
Of course, you can take this too far and be guilty of…
Spray and Pray. It is possible to take to many photos. This typically happens because the photographer just doesn’t know what to do or what might work. They think that if they just take a metric ton of photos that at least some of them will turn out.
Don’t do this. It’s better to use the time (and memory space) to work the problem. Experiment, but only make incremental changes to one or two variables at a time.
What don’t you like? Is the image too dark? Do one thing to make it brighter. Exposure is good but you don’t like the composition? Try a different pose before changing locations. You get the idea.
Are you struggling with one point of the Exposure Triangle? Watch my free 3 Part Video Series.
5. Being Unprepared
If you practice photography professionally (meaning you get paid to do it) then you are likely already aware of the importance of a pre-shoot gear check. That’s where you check everything in your camera bag and make sure everything is in working order, batteries are charged, memory cards are empty, and all your important parts are accounted for. I even go so far as to fire off some test shots before I leave the house just to make sure.
It’s a good habit to get into even if you’re doing photography as a hobby or a part time pass time. There is nothing worse than getting to a location and missing a shot because you forgot a memory card or your battery is dead. I’m always losing those blasted tripod plates…
Have you made one of these mistakes or royally goofed up in another way?
Tell me about it in the comments.