We all make mistakes when we’re learning how to do something new. It’s part of the process, I always say to my students if you’re not making mistakes then you’re not learning! Not my quote but one that resonated with me many years ago.
So, here are 5 of some of the most likely mistakes you can expect to make and for the record I’ve made everyone in my time.

1. Always shooting in JPEG
Okay, first off there is no hard and fast rule that says you have to shoot in RAW, but there are some good reasons to do so.

When you shoot in jpeg, your camera will automatically apply presets for white balance, sharpening, saturation, and contrast. It also compresses your image into a smaller file that can be instantly shared online and is compatible with almost all cameras, computers, and mobile phones. However, that comes at a cost.

When you shoot RAW the processing of the image DOES NOT happen in-camera, like with Jpeg. Instead, you have to process the image later using some software like Adobe Lightroom or equivalent. Also, shooting in RAW preserves more of the image data which can allow you to recover more detail from the shadows or highlights. Shooting in RAW may not be as convenient as JPEG, but it can yield higher-quality pictures.

Most people who aren’t fond of shooting in RAW say it is the file size that puts them off as it is much larger thank Jpeg. However, the external memory is very affordable these days, so there’s really no excuse not to take the extra step for potentially better images.

I no longer store any of my images on my computers hard drive, much preferring to opt for external portable ones instead.

2. Always Using a Zoom lens
When I started out in photography I always seemed to use my kit lens it went from 18mm to 200mm, great right all that distance in one lens, wrong. What I found was it limited me, and if I couldn’t get the shot, I would just zoom on and take it.

35mm right in the crowd.

A photographer who I was training with said to me one day that I should just take out a prime lens one day and only shoot with that, nothing else. Why I hear you cry, well I’ll tell you when I went out with a prime and mine was a 35mm if I couldn’t get the shot the only way I could adjust was to physically move. It was if a whole new world had opened up for me I suddenly found myself with unique compositions I had never even thought of let alone seen So, try it don’t limit yourself to one spot, be brave, move around and get closer to your subject. It will open up a whole new plethora of images for you.

To this day I still from time to time grab a prime and go out with nothing but that for a days shooting. You can mix it up a bit and take different focal lengths.

Go on give it a go you will like what you see.

3.Forgetting the basics
Take your time and learn all about ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, these three form the foundation for the most fabulous photographs. Once you’ve mastered them its then essential to go out and experiment with them, make them your friend and don’t be afraid of them.

No Flash just the lighting of the stage ISO 3600.

For example, raising your ISO, when you first went through your camera’s manual, you probably learned that the higher the ISO, the more digital noise there is, and that leads to bad image quality. Naturally, you would try to keep the ISO as low as possible, maybe around 100-200. The truth is, ISO isn’t your enemy. A high ISO can be useful in all kinds of situations. The triangle is your friend, learn it by heart, understand it and above all have fun with it. And, yes while some shots will come out not so good, you will also get some fantastic photos you thought were never possible!

Using the surroundings to frame the subject.

4. Limiting yourself when it comes to composition.
The most fundamental commandment of photography is composition: the rule of thirds. It’s all about dividing your shot into nine equal sections by a set of vertical and horizontal lines. But it’s important not to let the rule of thirds or other “laws” limit your creativity! Once again learn the basics, get comfortable with them then play around with them.

You can use frames such as bridges, arches, and trees to isolate your subject or draw attention to it. Look for patterns, textures, and lines to improve your shot’s composition. Don’t be afraid to fill the frame by closing in on your subject as well.

5. Relying on post-processing to fix errors.

Having fun in post production.

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are pretty good tools for a beginner, amateur and professional photographers alike. There’s nothing wrong with post-processing, after all, it’s the modern equivalent of the dark room. However, its vital for you not to become entirely dependent on it to fix your errors.

Remember: the purpose of post-processing is not to fix bad photos; it’s to enhance and bring out the best in (already) good photos.



I hope these five points help, they’re not mine, I didn’t invent them they were all passed to me by photographers I admire, and I just want to share that information with you. With most things creative Photography, writing etc. there are the basic rules and you need to know them inside out.

Because when you do, you can then break them or play with them and that’s when the fun starts and a whole new world of artistic creativity is born.

Learn the basics! Go out and experiment! But above all else go out there and have fun!


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