Photography isn’t easy and, even though everyone on Instagram seems to think of themselves as a professional photographer, the truth is, it’s tough to be a photo pro! And there are a lot of potential pitfalls, a few of which we’re here to help you avoid. Here are the five biggest mistakes rookie photographers make.
Selective coloring is so ‘90s. Yes, it was cool back in the day when Photoshop layers first started making waves in the photo industry. But today, selective coloring is a thing of the past. The whole trend for that matter has become something of a joke among professional photographers. We’ll admit, once in a blue moon there are special cases where selective coloring really works well, but, more than likely, none of your images qualify. We suggest going back and wiping those pictures from your portfolio as soon as possible!
Avoid Impaling or Giving Your Subjects Horns
Paying attention to what happens in the background is essential when photographing people and other live beings. When taking pictures of people where there are trees, electric poles, and other such objects in the environment, you should consciously try and avoid “impaling” your subject with the background objects (this goes for both blurred-background pictures and otherwise). Make sure you pay close attention to the background when you’re composing your image and if you see anything that is standing out move around and see if you can find more suitable framing that works. Worst case, you can always clean up the picture later in editing.
Autofocus can sometimes be great for quick shots. But the problem with autofocus is that it makes it highly likely your camera will focus on the wrong part of the frame. This is especially true when using a shallow depth of field. This particular mistake is nearly impossible to fix after the fact, so it’s important to nail your focus while you’re in the field. A straightforward way to make sure you’ve focused accurately is to use your camera’s spot autofocus mode to choose your focus point. A good rule of thumb is when focusing your camera for portraits, make sure your focus point is on the subject’s eyes.
Don’t Blow Or Bury The Exposure
RAW shooting gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to adjusting your exposure in post-processing, there are still limits on what you can do. If your exposure is too dark, for example, the shadows will be grainy and discolored when you bring them up in processing. If, on the other hand, your exposure is too bright, the highlights will likely blow way out of proportion and the detail won’t be recoverable when you go back later and try processing it. If you have a scene with a high dynamic range, including very bright highlights and dark shadows, a general rule of thumb is to underexpose slightly to preserve details in the highlights, while not obliterating the shadows, and then brightening the shadows in post-processing.
Try Taking Some Overall Picture Shots
There is a saying about the three rules of photography, “Get closer. Get closer. Get closer.” Most people are shy about walking up to their subject and filling the lens with whatever they are taking a photo of. But often this is how you can get much more striking photographs. The sad fact is that trying to stand back and take an “overall picture”, maybe with the intent of cropping it later, is a sure-fire way to get a mediocre shot. Fill the lens with the image that you want to have in the end.
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