Just like most things in life, photography is a skill that can be improved. Newbies often make subtle mistakes that spoil their photos and have no idea how to fix them. In this post we are going to go through five common mistakes beginner photographers make.
1. The Horizon Line Is Not Straight
This is the most common mistake I’ve seen in many photos, including my own. True, you can fix this later on using software, but that will crop your image. As a result, you may lose something you intended to be in your shot or will have to stick to the original one with the tilted horizon. To fix this problem, always make sure your camera is not tilted. You can use references in your composition, like a wall or a tree, to make your images look straight.
2. Junk in the Edges
Another common composition mistake beginners make is not paying attention to their edges. They concentrate on their subject, and ignore the edges so much that junk gets into the shot. True, it can be cropped in most cases, but it’s best to avoid that when you are taking the shot. Junky edges can be easily fixed – just move a bit or use zoom.
3. Exposure Is Off
Another very common mistake is getting exposure and contrast off. Either the image is too dark, or it’s too light (underexposed or overexposed). Again, you can often fix incorrect exposure using Lightroom or similar software, but the image may lose its natural look in the process. That’s why you should always try to get your exposure as close to perfect as possible. And remember that using Auto often results in incorrect exposure settings.
4. Wrong White Balance
While it’s not too hard to fix underexposed or overexposed images using software, correcting the white balance is not that easy. That’s why you should always do your best to get it right. If you notice that your automatic white balance is off and there is no way you can choose a preset, set a manual white balance using a piece of white paper. That way your photos will look natural.
5. Photo Lacks Subject
This is perhaps the most common mistake. There are countless landscapes and street photos that lack subject. You can take as many photos of people in the street, but unless there is a subject and a story behind your shot, it will be a boring snapshot that you’d better get rid of straight away. Remember that photography is art, just like painting. There can’t be a painting without a subject and the same applies to all the photos you ever take.