Tag Archives: Beginners

Simple mistakes to avoid in photography

The quick way to improve:

…Is undoubtedly to listen to the mistakes that others made. Here are some easy things you can do to improve your photography in leaps and bounds. Getting lots of practice is the first step. The more you shoot the more you will get to know what works and what does not. However, going further than that takes a little diligence. So here are some things to do for quick improvements…

1. Not reading the manual

Get the manual out. Learn a technique from the manual. Then go out and use that technique.

2. Not reading the manual again in six months

Repeat (1) in six months. Using your camera will become easier and your memory will be refreshed.

3. Not making friends

The most fun you can have in photography is with friends. Join a club, find some other camera owners, join a website that shares comments… whatever you do – get people to look at your photos and help you with tips and tricks.

4. The equipment you own

Read “Seven deadly photographic sins” and realise that you should concentrate on learning everything about the equipment you own. Once you are an excellent photographer with your current equipment then consider new stuff, but not before.

5. File resolution

Shoot with the largest file size and highest resolution. If you do not know how to do that consult the manual. This is important. Using tiny files and low resolution will really frustrate your improvement.

6. Not checking the image

Beginners often click away without checking the image. Shoot-and-hope mostly fails. Check your screen, check and check again. Reduce the number of shots you take. Concentrate on composition – make the images you do take higher quality. Read up on “Chimping” the gentle art of screen checking!

7. Deleting in camera

Do not delete in camera… There are many good reasons for this…

  • Constant deleting shortens the life of your memory card – only ever format the card.
  • Unless very experienced you are probably not qualified to say if a shot is good or bad.
  • You cannot possibly tell if an image is good enough in the low resolution of a camera screen.
  • As your ‘eye’ develops you will change your idea of what is a ‘delete’. I have seen an image voted Best-shot-of-the-day but listed as a deleter by the author before the vote.
8. Not looking at the image in full size

There is only one sure test of sharpness, look at the image in full resolution. When you pull the image up on screen it is reduced and sharpened. Expand it to 100% to see it as you took it. Read your software manual to see how.

9. Ignoring the light

Find out all you can about light – all types of light and all sorts of lighting situations. You can find a whole range of resources here… Light and Lighting – Resource pages on Photokonnexion. Your knowledge of light will make you a great photographer if you focus on that alone.

10. Not using a tripod

The best sharpness tool is using a tripod. Never forget your tripod and you will always have sharp images!

For more on this subject and some detail of how to get past these mistakes read: Mistakes beginners make and how to overcome them

Here is a short video with four more great tips for you to take on board…

Mistakes to Avoid as a Beginner Photographer

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

The benefits of 100% viewing

Cornish Vista

Cornish Vista
At full resolution this picture is 5616 x 3744 pixels – Canon 5D MkII
Click picture to see the cropped version of the beach.
“Cornish Vista – secluded beach” by Netkonnexion on Flickr

Check sharpness right through.

One of the mistakes that beginners make is not to get the sharpness right into the image. Often it looks good on screen. Below the surface it’s not so good. When you open the image up to full resolution there is a lack of sharpness. What is going on?

Sharpness is the name of the game

A picture with poor sharpness may still look good on screen when you open it. Image editors will readjust the size to fit the picture on-screen. Then you can see the whole shot. The image editor has sharpened it as it resized the picture. What you see is not a full resolution view. As a result the picture looks better than its full resolution sharpness. Print it or see it at full size and the truth is revealed. The sharpness is just not there.
More after this…

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Beginners find it difficult to learn to take a sharp image because they only ever see pictures as small pre-sharpened versions on screen. They think the image is sharp – it’s not. The benefit of opening up your image to 100% resolution is that you see the sharpness that you have really achieved.

Professional photographers will tell you that if your image will not print sharp at full resolution your picture is not sharp enough. That level of skill is something that takes time to develop. However, if you have aspirations to improve your photography then you need to know the level of sharpness you have achieved. For this reason, I urge you to open all your images up to 100% size resolution. You will probably not be able to see the whole picture. Some of it will be off-screen. However, you will be able to properly see what sharpness you are achieving. As you improve your sharpness this test will show your improvement.

Each image editor has its own method of changing the image to 100% size. Check out the help pages for your editor to find out how it’s done.

Here are some links to help you work on your sharpness:
Simple tips for a good stance
Are you sacrificing image quality with a zoom lens?
Five tips you must know to start photography
Focus – great tips for better understanding
Don’t get lucky, get great photographs
The Third Most Important Piece of Kit
The Tripod