10 MISTAKES I MADE AS A BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHER (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM)
10 MISTAKES I MADE AS A BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHER (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM)
In today's article I would like to share with you the 10 worst photographic mistakes I made in my life as a photographer. Although they are mistakes that fortunately I have overcome many years ago, I still feel pain every time I think of the hundreds of photos that one day I spoiled by any of these errors.
I warn you, it is a long and detailed article. You can definitely take advantage of it. As you read, consider the situation in your particular case, ask yourself to what extent you are falling into a similar error and how you could correct it.
Ready? Let us begin.
PURCHASE ERRORS OF PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIAL
1) BUY REFLEX CAMERA WITH 2 LENSES
When I bought my first SLR camera I fell into the error of buying a kit that came with 2 lenses, 18-55mm and 55-200mm. At that time my reasoning was very simple, with two lenses I could photograph virtually any type of photography, from 18mm to 200mm. What happened! I thought
The first weeks I played with the two objectives and right now they are in my secondary photo backpack, the one in which I gather all the material that I do not use.
As you spend time with your cameras, you realize that to take photos worthy of showing and sharing, you need a specialized objective. The objectives that the distributor places in the kit are the most basic and simple. You will never really find good lenses in a camera kit. You have to buy them separately. They are very good and have very good demand.
What was my mistake? Buy 2 lenses included with the camera, which were finally simple and that for years I have not touched again. If I knew I would have bought the camera without lenses, or maybe with a single lens, possibly 18-55mm, and I would have saved the rest of my budget to get a good specialized lens.
Today I have several of these objectives that have meant a radical change in the way I take photos ( the objectives I recommend, here ).
2) BUY A FLIMSY TRIPOD
I bought my first tripod from a thrift store, it would weigh less than 200 grams, it was a long, thin tripod, practically made of plastic. I bought it at a time in my life when I didn't know what to look for on a tripod. I found it useful that it could be folded up to 20 or 30 centimeters, very practical for transporting, I thought. It was the worst purchase of photographic accessory made in my entire life. Every time the wind blew, the tripod moved like a tree leaf. It had cost me cheap but it was the worst money invested in my whole life. I didn't even bother to sell it to another unsuspecting. I would have been ashamed.
I threw it into a container in a clean spot and never heard from him again.
3) DO NOT BUY FILTERS UNTIL VERY, VERY LATE
If you think that filters are a complementary accessory, you are wrong. There are several types of filters, each one designed to give photography a certain effect, but in addition to that, they have another “essential” utility, which is to protect the lens. I made this mistake with my 50mm f / 1.4 objective ( the king of the lenses ), which I had for a long time without a filter. That has made its outer lens pick up dust, dirt, fingerprints. Every time I put a cloth to clean it, I was scratching it deeper. A disaster.
If you had placed a filter from day one, your lens would be like new right now.
Obviously I have not made the same mistake again. I try to have all my goals filter.
If you are going to buy a filter, two tips:
Run away from extremely cheap or extremely expensive filters. The expensive ones have nothing to justify their high price, and the cheap ones are usually made of materials that obstruct the light and make the photography worse. A price filter between 20 and 70 Euros would be a good choice.
When buying a filter, look at the diameter of the lens for which you want to buy it. Each lens has a diameter measurement (usually puts it on the lens itself) so make sure the filter has that same measurement.
In my case I buy them from the photography accessories section of Amazon . There they have a wide variety.
4) PHOTOGRAPH IN JPG
I will not be one of those fans who tell you to shoot all your photos in RAW. I, today, shot some of my photos in JPG. The mistake I made at the beginning is that I photographed everything, absolutely everything, in JPG. Issue? That there was not much processing room left in front of the computer. If at the time of shooting I forgot to set the white balance and obtained as a result a photo that was too bluish or too orange, I had to put up with it because nothing could be done.
The day I changed the camera settings to RAW, a new world of photographic possibilities opened up for me. True, when I am behind the viewfinder, I take care of the picture in full detail, I try to get it right from the camera itself. But if something goes wrong, I have the peace of mind knowing that later, in the postprocessing, I can play with some of the settings as I want. It is as if I could travel back in time, when taking the photo, to do it again.
Does this mean that all your photos have to be taken in RAW? No. Don't even think about it. The reason you should not take all your photos in RAW exclusively is because RAW requires processing. A photo in JPG is a photo ready to share, send, display and consume. A RAW is a raw file, which needs a person to get in front of the computer and spend some time processing that file. If there are 4 photos, nothing happens, you process the 4 RAWs and that's it, but can you imagine having to process 400 photos in RAW one by one?
In my case my camera allows me to shoot in RAW and JPG at the same time, so I usually have it set up like this. Thus, when I download the contents of the memory card to the computer, I use the JPGs by default. If a photo in JPG does not convince me, I look for the RAW and work with it. Those that were already good in JPG, I delete the RAW because in reality I will not need it.
5) DELETE THE SUPPOSEDLY BAD PHOTOS TOO FAST
I have deleted hundreds of photos judging them at first sight only from the small screen of my camera. Many of these deleted photos were indeed bad and insurmountable, but I had to delete equally valid photos, which even if they presented some small bug, surely they could be fixed / improved later in the postprocessing phase.
When you are at the time of taking the picture, you don't have a screen big enough or the time to rate the photos and see which ones are good and which ones have to be deleted. Deleting photos immediately, on impulse, is a mistake that sometimes we don't even realize. Maybe I had in my hands what could have been my best photograph, and I deleted it by pure impulse.
At present, after every few shots I try to check the photos to see if I am doing well or if I have to change something, but delete no longer delete any photos. I always have time to do it later, when I am in front of the computer. I think I make better decisions there
6) PHOTOGRAPH ACCOMPANIED BY NON-PHOTOGRAPHERS
Do not misunderstand. I am not asking you to get away from your family, or to become a social being. What happens is that we have all ever combined our love of photographing with walking with a friend or family member, or a group of them. The result 90% of the time is usually disastrous, both for photography and for our social relationships.
Your friends, family or couple, while respecting your hobby and also appreciate the cool photos you get with your camera, will always end up getting tired of waiting for you while you stop to photograph that monument or that bush. Believe me, wait, for those who are not taking the picture, it becomes eternal. You, who are trying to take the picture, are overwhelmed. To take a decent photo you need to do a first test, a second shot, review, reframe, focus better maybe, change the shutter speed, adjust the camera well until you get that correct photo, while your companion loses patience.
If you want to enjoy photography, you can go out accompanied and everything you want but try to book a while alone with the landscape, street, monument or something you want to photograph. If it's a sunrise, take advantage and get up earlier, go out discreetly with your backpack and enjoy the peace that moment of solitude gives you, just your camera and you.
7) GO OVER WITH SATURATION AND VIGNETTING
At first, I took the pictures with the camera and they stayed like that. Later in my life as a photographer I had a stage similar to "adolescence." It was when I discovered Photoshop, Adobe Camera RAW, and the wonderful world of postprocessing and editing. I discovered a small adjustment with which I could increase the vividness of the colors in the photograph, called "saturation." I also discovered the vignetted effect. I was carried away, and without realizing it I began to produce cloyingly saturated photographs, full of sticky colors, loud, loud, and with exaggerated vignetted corners.
There is nothing wrong with increasing or lowering saturation or vignetting, but in my case it was exaggerated. The problem is that, today that I look at them with perspective and regret it, I cannot go back. You want to know why? Read the following error.
8) DO NOT KEEP THE ORIGINALS
Do you remember that, in analog photography, the laboratory took the photos on photographic paper and returned the film or the film. Its usefulness was that, if you later wanted to take more photos again, you always had the original available.
In digital photography the same thing happens. Whether you shoot in RAW to postprocess it and get JPG, or you shoot directly in JPG, the first time you import the contents of a memory card to your computer or hard drive, first create a folder, call it "original" and put in it all the content. Then make a copy of the entire folder, and modify the copies. When you save the copies with the new settings and modifications, use them if you want, but the "original" folder does not have to be deleted. Never.
I threw myself many years modifying photos and saving on the original. Worst of all is that, at that time the photos seemed very good. Only when a few years have passed and you take a look again at those same photos, do you realize that you don't like something in them, and you want to change it, even if it's just to experiment, see what comes out. If you have not retained the original, forget it.
9) DO NOT MAKE PROPERLY ORGANIZED BACKUPS
Notice that we are not talking about making backup copies anymore . I take it for granted, dear reader, that you have backup copies of all your photos. Truth? Here the question is not only to make backup copies, but to make them in a very organized way. It is no use that you have photos swarming through different folders, here and there, a few on the computer, others on Aunt Grandma's iPad, and a few on the USB that you do not know where you left.
You need to have all your photos organized under a logical folder structure, and have exactly the same folder structure, with exactly the same photo content , in a backup. In this way, you know where you have all your photos, and you know that if something happens to them in one copy, you have another complete copy of absolutely everything.
In my early years I lost many photos due to my lack of organization. You could ask me for a photo and I wasn't able to tell you exactly where I had it. For years I have already followed a strict backup policy. I have my photographic content on my main computer, and another full, identical copy, on a remote server (Dropbox).
AND 10) ... MY WORST PHOTOGRAPHIC MISTAKE
A mistake that I realized little by little, and which I was trying to correct gradually: photographing with the eyes, instead of with the soul. Photography is a form of communication with a very important visual component, but after all it is still a means of expression. My first photographs focused on the visual, on what my eyes saw first. I was dedicated to portraying aesthetics. Anything beautiful was photoable for me. Point. My photographs portrayed colorful colors, pleasant shapes to look at. And that was the end of the matter.
Over time you discover a much more interesting, more entertaining and challenging photography. And no, I don't mean producing deep photographs. They don't have to be revolutionary or philosophical photos, nor do they change the world. But I do mean a photograph "with content", a photograph that, in addition to color and form, brings an emotion, alters even if it is only a little bit the heartbeat of the one who sees it, a photograph that tells a story, to convey a message A photograph that seduces and catches the viewer.
That is photographing with the soul.
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