Towards the end of last year, I did, or should I say, we did, a post on Common Newbie Mistakes, and while that was a post on mistakes that many made when we were just starting out in photography, it seemed apparent that many of us still make mistakes, often different from those, but I thought it might be good to take a look at the ones that the more experienced photographer makes. It is amazing how silly you feel when these things happen, but then when you realise you aren’t the only one it can make you feel normal.
This post will work the same way, I will start the conversation off, the post will stay open. I will list a few things, and you will see what I do, and if you can think of additions to the list, then tell me in a comment, after I publish the post, I will leave the post in edit format on my computer and as you think of things to add I will add them and continually update the post. I won’t be home this morning, but will be all afternoon, so I can catch up then.
Mistakes the Experienced Still Make
I don’t know how many times I have gone to take photos of something and not realised that my camera is still set for bracketed shots. These days, I’ve done it so many times, that I realise fairly quickly, but once, I photographed a whole cycling event, four days of racing with my camera set on 5 bracketed shots. Even when I saw the images at the end of the day I didn’t realise why I was getting shots that were really dark and shots that were so overexposed. I finally realised on the last day. I felt like such an idiot and it is amazing I still do it, but like I said, I work it out much sooner now.
From time to time I still forget to check what my ISO setting is on, then I will realise that I have take a heap of shots with it way too high and got a lot of noise unnecessarily. I am always so annoyed with myself for that one.
Not Checking Memory Cards Before Deleting Photos
I have been known not to put my images onto my computer straight away and then thinking a few days later that I had, and then I format the card, and lose everything on it, once I did that for a job I had done, so I had to reshoot, so embarrassing. These days I make sure I load the photos first as soon as I get home.
Using ND Filters
I know when I use my ND400 that I have to close the shutter on the back of the camera, or I get terrible light spillage, then my photos are ruined. Do you know how many times I go out and forget to do it. I get some horrible part magenta shots. Sometimes I will close it, then go to refocus or change the composition, and then start taking a photo and realise I forgot to shut it again.
On the other side though one thing I still constantly do is when using the shutter remote, I forget to shut off auto-focus so after I compose, then focus, then put on the ND-filters, I click the remote button then hear my camera focusing and think, “great, now I have to start over”. It’s even more of a nuisance when there’s a lot of noise so I don’t hear it auto-focus then after a 2+ minute exposure I look at the photo and wonder why it’s not in focus then have to redo the shot. I’m almost thinking of creating and laminating a checklist of things to do for a long exposure shot to make sure I’ve got everything setup correctly. I’ve created myself a bit of a cheat sheet for calculating exposure times based on the base exposure and the number of stops the ND filter is. I also have full stop increments for shutter speeds and f-stops so I know if I want a specific amount of time I know exactly what I would need to change. Before I had this I was constantly shooting for a certain amount of time then check then increase or decrease the amount of time based on the exposure and histogram. Sometimes it’d take me 5+ shots to get the exposure correct resulting in a 3 minute exposed shot taking 30+ minutes to get. J.T. AVERY PHOTOGRAPHY
This is something I am trying to get better at, but I am terrible at doing things like changing lenses. I know a different lens would work better, but then I think, nah, and I don’t change the lens. I am really terrible for this.
There are mistakes like cutting of things in the top or bottom and not noticing before it’s to late. Kerlundphoto
As a newbie, I sometimes forget that I’ve changed settings and continue to shoot and get horrible results or miss my object because I have to recalibrate everything. But what annoys me quite a bit is that when shooting moving targets, like birds, I don’t get prepared for their next move although I know by now what it’s likely to be. TINY LESSONS BLOG
From Nato, More often than I like to admit, I have changed my manual settings for a particular shot. Then got side-tracked and see something else and start shooting. After a handful of shots, or more, I finally look at the images on the screen and wonder, “Why do these pictures look so wrong?” Then, it dawns on me….”Oh yeah, I forgot to change my settings.” Ooops.
Here are some of Stacey’s personal ones.
- – deciding not to go out and then missing the best sunset in the history of the world – happened last week LOL
- – not using my tripod when I really should – either due to time or just can’t be bothered (usually I have carried it with me so I don’t know why I don’t)
- – being impatient and not waiting for the right conditions to happen
- – not being dressed properly for the weather ie too hot or cold and that leads to the point above because not comfortable to sit or walk around
- – forgetting to put on and take sunscreen!
- – cleaning my kit – I should do it after every outing but I usually do it every few months
Forgetting to check what you have your White Balance set on. WordsVisual
Failing to check that all necessary gear is in the bag when I head out. photographybykent
Rushing out of the house with my cameras and not bothering to bring a can of bug spray. Mosquitoes would often eat me alive when out in the woods taking macro photos. There were a lot of healthy, happy mosquitoes out there… thanks to me! It’s kind of ironic really… I was hunting insects (to photograph)… and they were hunting me! Here (in Illinois) there are also deer flies that can bite you and ticks that can give you Lyme disease. THOMAS PEACE
Here are some additions from John Fiest Photography
- Leaving the camera on full auto. As a more experienced photographer, I will shoot either in aperture priority or full manual. That lets me decide on what I am trying to capture.
- Focus without recomposing. I’ve seen a lot of shots where the rule of thirds is ignored because the camera is on center point focus. Recomposing while holding the shutter button half way can be a real pain. I know some folks will use a lock on the camera. Of course you then have to remember to turn the lock off. I’ve switched to back button focusing which makes it really easy to focus and then get the composition.
- Capturing unnecessary peripheral distractions. Ironically just before your posting arrived, I published the latest in my blog. This is one of the things I talked about. The newbie will have trees or poles growing out of people’s heads. More experienced photographers won’t make that mistake, but will just look at their primary subject and end up with an extra arm here, a tree branch sticking in there, etc.
- Understanding lighting. This will be part of my next posting…taking shots that are backlit and wondering why everything is in silhouette, shooting in bright sun and scratching their heads when images are washed out or very harsh and contrasty. In the same area, using flash wrong. This can be letting the camera’s flash pop up and decide how to fire or putting on an external flash pointing it straight forward and firing at full power.
Ever since the super sized memory chips became available, I shoot so many pictures — often each so much like all the others,that even side by side, they look the same. I’m afraid to even look at them. WAY too many to sort through and I end up deleting most of them anyway. A waste of time and effort. I would be far better served taking pictures of something else. Anything else. My own feet would have been more productive!! SERENDIPITY
Here is another list, this time from The Lightweight Photographer
- – Being too lazy to put on an ND grad when shooting landscapes even though I know the shot wont work without it
- – Not exploring the scene properly before I decide on my composition
- – Leaving a scene to soon because I think there is something better at the next location
- – I used to let the camera decide the focus point rather than manually select it but thankfully I have overcome this one.
I keep losing them, I stick them in my pocket then it falls out.
My most common mistake is that at least 60% of the time I forget to take the lens cap off until I try to take a photo and can’t see anything! EXPRESSIVE PONDERINGS
My biggest and most repeated mistake (I’m not an expert by any stretch) is to forget to reinsert my memory card after I’ve taken it out to download a photo session. On more than one occassion, I’ve set off early in the morning to photograph wildlife only to find I have no card and no back up! *sigh* Big Hair Metamorphosis
I think poor composition is the biggest error. I forget to check all through the frame before I press the shutter. All downhill from here
My most annoying mistake is forgetting to switch back to Auto Focus after using manual focus. APERTURE64
Another common mistake is not to check the battery level and end up at the most inappropriate moment with a flat battery. newsferret
Going on a trip to a nice swamp to shoot some three shot HDR’s, getting home to find the camera set on small sized jpg images. feralc4t
Trying to save money when i rent a camera body and not give myself enough time to familiarize myself with the camera or to check to see that it in 100% working order – so I get the camera the day (or night) before a shoot – then all heck breaks loose when I’m at my location. infraredrobert
You get the idea, so I would love to hear what mistakes you keep making. I’m sure they are ones I do as well but I have forgotten right now.
Please share with us the mistakes you still make, or things you forget to do. Just tell me in a comment and I will add it to the post.
I am feeling beachy and moody today, so I want to put up some photos from Airey’s Inlet, taken a couple of years ago. I think if I were doing these images today I would do them differently.