10 Beginner Photographer Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Beginner Photographer Mistakes

As a new photographer, it’s inevitable that you’re going to make mistakes. Some of the most common beginner photographer mistakes are also the easiest to fix. When you first start taking photos, your images may be underexposed, overexposed, out of focus, poorly composed, or just plain old dull and boring. Don’t let it get you down or stress you out because it’s all part of the process you need to go through to learn photography. With digital photography you can take as many images as you need and make as many mistakes as necessary to perfect your craft.

Be Patient

It helps to approach photography with realistic expectations. You can’t expect to learn everything about photography all at once or with just one course. It takes time to learn about the different qualities of light, exposure, ISO, shutter speed, composition, and flash. We recommend starting your journey by building a solid foundation that starts with learning how your camera works. Nearly every beginning photographer starts off with minimal knowledge of how to properly operate the camera they are holding in their hands. Today’s digital cameras have far more power, tools, features, and capabilities than you can imagine. Don’t stress out if you don’t know or use every single feature on your camera. Just start with the fundamentals and work from there.

Constantly Develop your Skills

Remember that photography is a never ending learning process that takes time and dedication to master. Making mistakes is a natural part of learning process. The fact is nearly every beginning photographer starts off with little to no knowledge of how to properly operate the camera and take quality photographs. Photography is a craft and you have to constantly work on improving and developing your image taking skills.

Photography Mistakes to Avoid and How to Fix Them

1. Not Knowing the Settings on Your Camera

Chances are you just spent hundreds, or maybe thousands of dollars on a new camera. You’ll probably be surprised to see the user manual is a puny, poorly written, black and white book that you can’t read without a darn magnifying glass. Fortunately, most camera user manuals are now available online and in PDF format. Your camera may include a disk with the manual, or you can download a PDF version of the manual from the camera manufacturer website.

Before you take another photo, READ THE MANUAL from read the user manual from front to back!!! And when you’re done, read it again!

While you’re going through the manual, be sure to learn how change these key settings on your camera;

  • ISO Sensitivity (you may have manual, presets, and automatic options
  • Internal Camera Menu (learn how to navigate)
  • Exposure Modes (Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority)
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • White Balance (auto, preset, manual)
  • File Type (JPEG & RAW)
  • Flash (learn to turn the built in flash on and off)
  • Focusing – Automatic Focus (AF) and Manual Focus (MF)
  • Focusing Modes (Single-servo AF, Continuous-servo AF)
  • Drive (or Burst) Modes (Single, Low Continuous, High Continuous)
  • Format the memory card (it erases your images, so learn to back up your photos)
  • Exposure Compensation
  • Self Timer

Memorize the location of key settings on your camera until making changes becomes second nature. Changing ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed should be natural as flipping a light switch. If your camera user manual is not sufficient or too difficult to follow, read our article on how to Build a Resource Library for your Camera. So number one on our list of Beginner Photographer Mistakes is to read the manual.

2. Not Learning the Basic Photographic Terms and Concepts

You must learn to crawl before you can walk and photography isn’t very different. One of the biggest mistake beginner photographers make is not learning the basic. You have to learn the basics so you have a solid foundation to build upon. You can go from zero to Ansel Adams overnight. Great photos are made with a combination of skill and creativity.

So, take some time to learn about light, the different types of light, and the significant role light has on creating an image. Learn all about ISO and how changing ISO increases or decreases exposure. Get to know the shutter speed and how to stop action or show motion. Learn how ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed are the foundation of photographic exposure. Photography Course has plenty of lessons and courses to help you master the basic.

3. Being Too Afraid to Try Something New

We’re going to start this section with a brief Doctor Phil moment. It’s human nature to fear the unknown. Mastering a new skill can be a frightening experience and you may get overwhelmed as we introduce you to all this complicated photography stuff. Just remember one things – your camera won’t bite, we promise. It won’t talk back, it won’t break (unless you drop it). So, take a deep breath and jump in with both feet.

Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s no exception when it comes to photography. We find a lot of new photographers will learn a few basic settings and stop learning new techniques as soon as their pictures start turning fairly decent. Complacency can make a potentially great photographer average (and possibly a little dull and uninspiring).