Ever been told to learn from your mistakes? Well why learn from them when we you can avoid them completely.

As photographers we’re constantly faced with pressure to create and capture the perfect shot, but a lot of the times our shoots can be compromised because of tiny mistakes made. These mistakes can happen to the best of us and they can easily be rectified and avoided by following this guideline.

Poor positioning

The subject should complement the background and avoid being staged at a point where viewers’ attention is not drawn in. When positioning a subject ensure that the frame is well balanced to create a focal vision. The rule of the Thirds should come into play whenever positioning for a shoot and the following two questions should be asked; what points of interest are in this shot & where should they be placed. The answers to these questions will help determine a well-balanced and interesting picture.

Shadows and light balance

photographersA lot of the time photographers make the simple mistake of not knowing how to use natural light, especially when shooting outdoors. For example; you’re outside in a park shooting a group shot and you place the subjects where the sun is the brightest – this could impact the results of the picture because of the contributing factor of surrounding shadows. There might be trees or buildings around that create a shadow effect on the subjects, so instead of shooting directly in the sunlight think of shooting in the shade. Use your external flash to create light instead as this will enhance and add balance in the photo.

Over doing saturation

Saturation was probably the first edit you’ve tried out as an amateur photographer and chances are you liked using this adjustment a little too much. There’s no doubt that saturation (when used correctly) can bring life and vibrancy to pictures however it can also create an unnatural and orange tone. When it comes to using saturation think of the general rule of “less is more”. Analyze the colors within your picture and if there are plenty of different colors then its best to use the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) panel.

Using auto focus

PhotographersUsing auto focus is one of the most common mistakes made by new photographers. Here’s the thing about using auto focus when capturing pictures; you’re leaving your camera to choose the focus point of the picture. The cameras AF system might pick up on the wrong thing to focus on resulting in a picture you’re not happy with. Make use of manual focus and zoom in on the LCD so that you can be certain that the focus is on the main subject of the picture.

Cropping the entire scene

Cropping images is almost always necessary, especially when you need to straighten up an image. Although a necessity in editing pictures, cropping should be done in such a way that it does not remove the surrounding character of the picture. Leaving the surroundings in the frame creates a magnificent exaggeration on the focus point.  However, photographers should also take note not to have too much going on in the frame as the subject could get lost in a busy picture. Make use of negative space that compliments the picture and works well with it.

Expect the unexpected and be well prepared

Always be prepared for unlikely yet possible situations. Have a check list of all equipment you might need. For instance, the weather might be sunny so you leave all you rain protective gear at home and suddenly it starts pouring on set. This will completely mess up your shoot but it could be avoided if you prepared better and took a rain sleeve for your camera.

Another common misfortune that many photographers are faced with is forgetting to keep an extra battery on hand and an extra memory card. If you’re shooting long exposure pictures your battery will drain a lot faster so it’s vital to remember to have a fully charged battery with you.  Certain images require a lot more space, like RAW images as they are bigger files and use more memory than other pictures.

These mistakes are common by both new and old photographers and they can easily be avoided to help you get the most out of your shoots.