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Mistakes to Avoid for Photography Newbies

Updated on March 11, 2016
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

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Most newbies buy a camera and think that they will immediately start taking great shots and even dream of having their shots published in print media or better yet, being ask to post images on an internet media outlet to use as screen savers.

What many newcomers to photography often forget is that it does take time before you really become good enough so that your pictures are in demand and you can start making some sales or even venture into the photo business.

Although there are many things hat can help any newcomer, here are the major flaws that are usually repeated time after time by those first starting in the art.

The first basic mistake and everyone does this at one point or another is to center the main subject in the center of the frame all of the time. Most professionals have learned through practice and from experience that many quality images can be captured by not centering everything in the middle of the frame.

By allowing your main subjects to be in one corner, top or even near the bottom of the frame you add interest and perspective to the pictures. Yes take some images in which the main subject is in the center of the frame but also take shome shots where the subject is not right smack in the center.

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The second most repeated mistake is not to pay attention to elements withing the view that detract or rather take away from the main subject. Pay attention to everything to the sides and in back of the subject.

A tree branch, an electric powerline, a cluttered backdrop are all things that will distract the viewer and take away from the main point of interest.

Cutting parts of the body when doing portraits or when you include people in your shots. Most newbies often cut off the feet , the top of the head, or the hands from an image where a person is the main point of interest. Make sure to include the entire person.

This makes the image more realistic but it's also the natural way that many of us are accustomed to seeing when looking at someone. Unless your photo is a close up of a face or other interesting aspect of a person, do make it a habit to always include the person in its entirety.

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It's not the camera but the person behind the camera that makes great pictures. No matter how advanced, expensive or fancy your camera is if you do not learn to use it properly and also learn its limitations and possibilities, nothing about this new gear will turn a bad picture into a good one.

You need to learn photography, it's that simple. Learn everything about your gear and also learn the rules as well as explore ways of making great images. Looking at photographic publications that feature the works of professionals is probably one of the best ways to start.

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Another very common mistake often seen in the work of those just starting, and this is especially true for travel shots or landscapes, is looking at images that always seem to be taken from the same most common and often over photographed perspective.

Do not just stand in front of a subject and snap a picture. Look for new ways of taking a photo of an often photographed subject.

Explore new angles and perceives, play with the settings and try to see how a common subject's photo can be improved upon.

Think of the Eiffel Tower. How many times have you looked at image of it and come away thinking that it is yet another image like the many others you have seen many times before. Think of how you can photograph it from a new and exciting angle, different light, or creative way.

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Most professionals shoot in manual mode because they want to have total creative control over what they do.

A very common mistake is to forget to look at the previous settings used for one image and believe that they will perfectly align with the new subject and light conditions.

Check your settings often and adjust whenever you come upon an new subject, especially if the light has changed which occurs more often that you may think.

Every hour of the day that passes between shots has the effect of changing the conditions and you need to think of this from one photo to the other.

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ANother common mistake is to always use the same landscape mode. For many pictures changing the camera from a landscape orientation to a vertical inclination is just what the shot needs.

By changing the view you can add interest and really bring out the subject to all its glory. Especially true for tall subjects like trees and buildings or even some landscape shots like when the Sun or clouds are on the horizon.

Finally a common mistake is not having fun. You first started taking pictures because you liked the art and thought that it would be fun.

Now one gets into photography because they think that it is going to be a mission and they are going to be miserable. Have fun but pay attention to what you do as well as applying what you have learned.

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© 2016 Luis E Gonzalez

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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      2 years ago from Miami, Florida

      wheelinallover: thanks, yo are right. Children can often take very good pictures because they have no preconceived notions. They capture images as they see them.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 

      2 years ago from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S.

      When you are learning think also like a child. Most things are new to them, which gives them a different perspective. The best non professional pictures I have seen in the last nine months were taken by either a three year old or a seven year old.

      Children also have no preconceived ideas of what a picture should look like, they climb on things, get down on the floor, and do whatever suits them when shooting pictures.

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