If you’re new to the world of photography, it’s easy to think you know what you’re doing when you actually don’t. From backlighting your subjects to cutting off their feet, there are certain mistakes that crop up most often. But if you can be aware of them on the front end, you can train yourself to avoid them.

Read on to learn how to avoid the most common photography mistakes at all costs!

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Learn How to Use Your Camera

When you make room in your budget to get a fancy camera, you should learn how to use it. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on features that allow you to control exposure or lighting. And you may be able to use special features that can give you different photography styles, like black and white.

Learn what aperture is and how it impacts exposure and shutter speed. Know how to turn on or off the flash. And investigate any dials that can change settings on your camera.

You may be able to impose a fish lens effect that distorts images for a playful aesthetic. Or you can activate a setting that is better for low light situations. And you’ll know how to turn on the video mode more efficiently to capture a unique bird that pops into your frame. 

And practice turning the position of your camera, too. While it might sound intuitive to rotate your camera to create a portrait-style image, not every newbie thinks to do this. A close-up image of a face, for instance, will benefit from a portrait approach instead of landscape.

Always clean your spare lens and treat it kindly. Designate a spot in your carrying case for memory cards or cleaning products. And always ensure that you’ve secured your case before storing it anywhere.

Don’t Cut Off Your Subjects

Knowing how to frame your compositions is one of the keys to achieving professional photography results. This means that you don’t want to cut off any limbs. In other words, if you’re taking a group photo of your cousins, don’t clip them at the feet.

Instead, back away or zoom out enough to ensure that each person is included in the frame. Likewise, avoid taking photos where the top of someone’s head is clipped or an arm juts out the side of the image. 

And yes, you can place your subjects in the middle of a composition. But what about putting them toward the side or asking them to look off in the distance? Or what about standing on an elevated surface and looking down at your subjects for a more dramatic vantage point?

Anyone in the photography industry will tell you that compositions should be balanced. But this doesn’t mean everything needs to be centered. Going for a little asymmetry with your subjects can add more punch to your images.

Avoid Photography Mistakes Like Blurry Images

You might think you’ve just snapped the perfect picture. But when you zoom in on the image, you may notice that it’s blurry. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this mistake.

For starters, make sure you have a steady hand when you’re holding the camera. This might mean staying away from caffeine and ensuring you’re not cold. It also could involve using a tripod to anchor the camera and minimize vibrations.

Check the level of zoom or focus on your camera, too. And do this frequently during a photoshoot. Expert photography means being aware that sometimes zooming in too far yields a pixelated image. 

Don’t try to zoom in if the subject matter is a football field away. Instead, physically move closer or abandon the shot.

Choose Natural Poses

Nothing looks more awkward than a staged photo. You probably can remember childhood school photos where a photographer positioned your arms and made you smile. Scenarios like this rarely result in natural-looking images, so you can do better!

Make sure your subjects are relaxed. Ask them to walk together if they’re an engaged couple and bump into each other to get some laughter going. Stay quiet to create a soothing atmosphere, or if the situation allows, crack some jokes to generate natural smiles.

Read each professional photography scenario to know how to behave. And give your client some say in how they feel most comfortable being photographed.

And sometimes you’ll just need to be patient and creative. For instance, a newborn photographer will need to create gentle and comfortable environments to avoid a crying baby. And they’ll have to be patient if the newborn moves a lot, or simply embrace the unexpected!

Make Lighting a Priority

Try to avoid taking images in direct sunlight, or taking backlit images. Taking photos at midday will give you washed out images. This is because the sun will be higher and stronger. 

Situating a subject with a light source, such as a window, behind it will create a backlit image. This means your photograph will show a burst of light but a dark, poorly defined subject. Aim the light source in front of or to the side of the subject matter.

Similarly, using low lighting scenarios during the winter months can be risky. Taking photos after dusk will create grainy images that look unprofessional. Experiment with taking photos at different times of day.

While you’re at it, steer clear of manipulating a digital photograph too much. When it comes to types of photography, digital is preferred by many because it permits easier editing. But it’s also easy to get carried away.

Correct Mistakes in All Types of Photography

When you avoid photography mistakes, you can explore more photography styles and improve your pictures. You’ll become a reliable photographer at family events if you know how to frame your subjects well. And you’ll create great memories of your favorite people and places.

For more tips to capture the important moments in your life, check back for new articles!