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Lesson 6: Mistakes Every Photographer Made at Least Once (How to Avoid Them)

The thing about being a photographer is that you always make mistakes, no matter what level of skill you’ve reached. Sure, you’ll make fewer mistakes when you develop more skills, but you’ll never, ever be completely free of making mistakes. You can get better and make mistakes less frequently, but you’ll never be perfect.

Don’t despair, though! When you make mistakes, it’s not the end of the world because you always have the power to improve, do better and eventually master the things that are giving you trouble in photography. In fact, that’s what this lesson is all about: Avoiding these nasty and aggravating mistakes that all photographers have made at least once.

So if you’re ready to leave your mistakes where they belong (in the past) and improve as a photographer, read on for our breathtaking advice.

Failing to Bring Along a Spare Battery

Sometimes, the biggest mistakes are the most common—if we had a nickel for every photographer who’s ever done this on numerous occasions! C’mon…admit it. You’ve forgotten to bring along a spare battery from time to time.

Photo by Chris Gachot

Photo by Chris Gachot

Being forgetful won’t suit you in photography because, what happens if you see that perfect scene to shoot? However, you forgot your spare battery…what then?! Train yourself by always bringing along a spare battery to your shoots—always! Make sure that it’s also always fully charged, of course.

Relying on Editing Software Too Much

Another mistake is the overuse of photo-editing software such as Photoshop. Yes, these days, it’s very easy and therefore tempting to really overuse photo-editing software because makers like Adobe include a bunch of creative and neat features.

Photo by Evans Lazar

Photo by Evans Lazar

However, if you use photo-editing software excessively, you’re really just setting yourself up for increased laziness when it comes to taking shots. For instance, you may now not bother with composition because you think to yourself that some quick edits after the picture was taken will do the trick. It’s best never to sink to that state of mind if you’re a real photographer.

Getting Caught up in the Technicalities

We advise you to simply do the Buddhist thing and live in the moment (of your shot, that is). Your very creativity as a photographer depends on it. You’ve fallen to this temptation before: You overthink each and every shot due to the technical details behind your camera settings.

We have nothing against you mastering the basics of your camera settings—nothing at all! It’s just that we’re looking out for you, so we definitely don’t want you to worry with the technicalities too much. If that’s the path you’re going down, then you’ll miss out on letting the moment you’re wanting to capture pass you by.

Failing to Notice Exactly Where the Sun Is

One of the most important rules in photography is the need to always pay attention (or at least know) where the sun is. Surely, you’ve forgotten to take note where the sun was when you were shooting outdoors. Perhaps you were just particularly excited about the scene in front of you or the shooting location. Whatever it was, you forget about the sun, and it screwed up your shot.

Don’t let that happen again. The key rule to remember is always that it’s best to take pictures when the sun is near the horizon. What you’ll get in your pictures is more of an atmospheric effect that features both softer highlights and shadows.

Being Too Afraid to Experiment

As long as you don’t go too crazy with experimentation—say, delving into kinetic photography when you’re still struggling to understand what aperture is—experimentation is something healthy that you should encourage in your photography. It’s both how you learn and grow as a creative shooter.

Photo by Galdric Pons

Photo by Galdric Pons

Yeah, adhering to fundamental rules like the rule of thirds and the rules of good composition is to your benefit, but that doesn’t mean you have to be so rigid about everything. Instead, do some light experimentation with both composition and angles, and see what you wind up with.

Failing to Understand Your Subject

As a photographer, you’ll hopefully and eventually shoot all sorts of types of subjects. There’s people (of course), landscapes, moving objects, etc. All the diversity of subject matter won’t really help you to improve as a photographer if you fail to understand your subject matter in every shot.

When you understand your subject matter, you are definitely at an advantage. This will empower you to understand when you’re going to shoot, where you’ll stand for the best shot, and how to interact with the environment in order to get the best shot around.

Ignoring Natural Light

It turns out that available and natural light are highly effective as either lightboxes or off-camera flashes. Sometimes…maybe even more effective. That’s why you neglect using natural light to your advantage in shots at your own peril.

Yes, your lightboxes and your off-camera flashes will really help the quality of your pictures, but not in all cases. When you use natural light, it’s imperative that you have the proper conditions, which you’ll have to recognize on your own through trial and error.

Forgetting about marketing

If you’re serious about making photography your full-time job, developing a sound business strategy is a must. Most photographers don’t pay enough attention to the business side of photography concentrating on the actual shooting. With such approach don’t be surprised to see that crappy photographers get more clients and sell like crazy. Now that you read the 6th lesson of our email course, you understand the importance of promoting your own work. Remember that a professional photo website, frequently updated social profiles, organized workflow, and your hand on the pulse of the modern photography marketing will make a fertile ground for your creative talent.

Photo by Georg Sander

If quality was enough for the product to sell, why would then Lamborghini spend millions on advertising and marketing? Photo by Georg Sander

Learn From Your Mistakes

We know it sounds like the corniest thing to say, yet learning from your mistakes is the only path you can go through in order to attain eventual photography mastery. You see, if you’re an ambitious photographer who wants to excel, you won’t be afraid to make mistakes…because you’ll learn from them and never make them again! That’s what we hope to instill in you in this lesson.

The best place to start in learning from your mistakes is with these seven, notorious ones that we’ve clearly outlined for you above. These are such common photography mistakes that amateurs and pros alike are given to making them. However, now you know better! Yes you do.

So grab your camera, find a great location, get inspired by something, and start clicking and shooting away. Be on guard for the possibility of making any one of these seven mistakes, and banish them forever by not falling prey to them in any shooting situation.

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