20 most Common Mistakes made by Beginner Photographers

Michael • Updated May 27, 2022 • 8 min read

20 most Common Mistakes made by Beginner Photographers

We have made a list for you of the 20 most common mistakes beginner photographers can make. They occur again and again, and everyone knows them: the classic image errors. Not only are beginners often prone to them.

In the past, you still had to get the film developed, and you didn’t know what the end picture would look like. Nowadays, you can already see the image on the screen. The difficulty is that when anything becomes so fast-moving, it loses its value.

Fortunately, there are those photographers for whom photography is a real craft. And because no master came from the sky, here we point out frequent assumptions and mistakes you can make when capturing images.

If you make a few of these mistakes too, though, please don’t feel terrible.

We all make errors, and that’s a wonderful thing. The following mistakes are extremely common:


1. Getting a DSLR is enough to become a good photographer

Because they own a DSLR camera, many people believe they are good photographers. Of course, this is incorrect. Buying a sports car, after all, does not make you a race car driver.

As a result, purchasing a new camera does not automatically turn you into a skilled photographer. Photography is an art form that must be studied by newcomers to the field.

Photographer with 2 DSLR cameras
Photographer with 2 DSLR cameras

2. More expensive cameras and lenses make us better photographers

This is the second misperception about photography that people have. You frequently inquire about the photographer’s camera when you see a good shot.

And not how much time and work he put into taking such a lovely photograph. It’s akin to inquiring about the colors and brushes used by a famous painter on a masterpiece that recently sold for ten million euros at auction.

So, investing in a more expensive camera and a larger lens will not improve your photography. You must devote time to learning, practicing, and maximizing the capabilities of your equipment.

Very expensive camera, Hasselblad
Hasselblad H6D-400c MS 100, ©Hasselblad

3. More megapixels means higher image quality

This is also a common misunderstanding among newcomers to photography. They believe that a camera with a higher megapixel count will provide higher-quality images.

This assessment, however, is not the user’s fault. Because currently, all mobile phone advertisements simply mention megapixels.

The size of an image is measured in megapixels. If a camera captures a picture with a resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels, the result is 6000 x 4000 = 24.000.000 pixels.

So it’s a camera with a resolution of 24 megapixels. The image quality is determined by the sensor size, lens, light, and a variety of other elements.

4. We don’t need to read the camera’s instruction manual

These days, life moves at a breakneck speed. And when we buy anything, we rarely have time to read lengthy instructions. That’s why most individuals only use ten percent of their camera’s capabilities.

It’s like driving a Maserati in first gear all the time if someone always uses his high-end DSLR in full auto mode. This way, he’ll never find out what his car’s top speed is.

Read the camera manual
Read the camera manual, @Alexas_Fotos

5. We don’t learn anything about photography basics

Let’s do a test. Take a peek at several Instagram pages and you’ll quickly notice photographs with poor exposure and awful composition. Why? Because fundamentals such as exposure times, ISO levels, and apertures are frequently not understood. If you want to be a professional photographer, you must first grasp the fundamentals.

You must learn how to see light and how to use it effectively. You should also study the basics of image composition, as well as the golden ratio (rule of thirds) and how to apply it to your subject.

If you can tell a tale with your images, for example, you’ve already accomplished a lot. Everyone nowadays has a camera or a smartphone in their palm and shoots hundreds of photographs.

So, if you want to get noticed, you must take remarkable images. And you can only accomplish that if you have a good understanding of what you’re doing.

As a result, you should learn photography, attend photography classes, workshops, or online photography courses, and experiment with the greatest internet suggestions.

Also, when you see fantastic photos that have a wow factor, try to figure out what the photographer did differently during the process or what makes the perfect photo.

6. We don’t think before we take photos because we believe they are free

We don’t worry about it anymore whether we shoot images with a DSLR or a cell phone because it appears to be free. We don’t need to buy a roll of film, and we can take as many pictures as we like.

We can also erase the photographs if they aren’t good. Now, let’s be honest: do you feel the same way? Because when you shoot with a DSLR, photography isn’t free.

Every DSLR has a shutter that, after a certain amount of releases, begins to malfunction. As a result, every terrible photo you take reduces the shutter and camera’s lifespan. Assume you went on a picture walk and captured 500 photos, but only 50 of them were good.

Think before to take a photo
Think before to take a photo, @kaboompics

7. Excessive usage of post-production software

Photographers used to spend hours in the darkroom improving the photographs they took with their analog cameras in the days before digital photography. Using image editing software, this work may now be done with ease.

And when anything becomes so simple, it is misused. In this scenario, post-processing software is being utilized to correct the terrible images, which isn’t the goal at all.

“If you make a mistake, take a photo and then repair it in the software.”

We should put this concept to rest. The software exists solely to enhance the image and should not be used excessively.

Excessive usage of photo editing software
Excessive usage of photo editing software

Necessarily remember, for example, that enhancing color does not always result in a better image, and that black and white is not always the answer to an image with bad hues. In addition, not every photograph appears nice in HDR.

8. Failing to back up your photos

This is a costly mistake that you should avoid. Always correctly index your photographs and preserve a backup, either online or on external hard drives, so you don’t lose your important work and can quickly locate it if necessary.

9. Concentrate on a single type of photography

Each form of photography necessitates a distinct set of tools and abilities. For example, a super-telephoto lens is required for wildlife photography, a wide-angle lens is required for landscape photography, and a flash or studio light may be required for portraits.

As a newbie photographer, looking around in each area can’t hurt because it will teach you different approaches that you can use in other regions.

10. There’s too much theory and not enough practice

Many inexperienced photographers waste too much time on the internet, becoming lost in the work of other photographers. If you’re doing something like that, you should stop.

As a beginner photographer, focus on one subject at a time and, most of all, bring what you’ve learned into practice. And, most importantly, keep doing it until you achieve the desired outcomes. If that’s the case, move on to the next step.

11. You are not using RAW mode

Images can be generated in an uncompressed raw data format by high-quality cameras, called RAW. After that, the raw data can be or must be digitally developed.

A RAW file will pull an unbelievable amount of exposure and contrast range out of it. In addition, the RAW converter allows for lossless white balance adjustments and outstanding color effects.

Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop’s built-in RAW converter Adobe Camera Raw is used to develop RAW photographs (ACR).

Man with zoom lens
Photographer with zoom lens, @Peggy_Marco

12. Using the telephoto lens to zoom in

Of course, zooming is quite acceptable. However, it is critical to walk around when learning to shoot photographs in order to establish a sense of distance and depth of field. Zooming is enjoyable since it allows you to get close to subjects without having to move much.

However, if you understand how focal length impacts your photographs, you’ll be able to tell when zooming is appropriate and when it isn’t. You should definitely move around a lot in the beginning.

Don’t just stand there and zoom; kneel, lie down, and gaze at the subjects from different perspectives. A fixed focal length lens, such as the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 STM, is ideal for this.

Fixed focal length lenses do not enable zooming, forcing you to maintain the proper distance from the subject.

cluttered photo
Cluttered photo, @Kasman

13. Too much information in the photo

We’ve sifted through hundreds of thousands of photos in our professional lives. While doing so, we realized one thing that all good images have in common: the photos have very little information on them.

Too much detail, as seen on many rookie photographers’ images, detracts from the importance. The image is excessively agitated, and the eye isn’t sure where to glance first.

There’s another tree here, another traffic sign there, and individuals in the background who aren’t supposed to be there.

Our advice: Use a creative choice of perspective or wait till the distractions are gone to hide information. To obscure the background and draw your focus to your subject, use a big aperture or a long focal length. You could also consider moving to a new location.

14. Using the flash on the camera

Another mistake made by most amateur photographers. To brighten something, they use the camera’s built-in flash. Frequently, the flash is turned on by default, in the expectation that nothing will go wrong and the image will be bright enough. Unfortunately, an out-of-control flash ruins the ambiance.

We also frequently see visitors on our travels using the flash of their compact camera to photograph things such as statues.

Never use the camera’s built-in flash! Because, to use the tourist example again, the flash’s power is far too low and can’t keep up with the bright sunlight.

Or if you’re photographing someone in a dark environment with a flash. So, what does this flash do? On the one hand, it naturally brightens the space.

However, the direct flashing of your subject causes the light to be unflattering for portraiture due to the harsh shadows and narrow light area of your camera flash.

Professional photographers will, of course, shoot the camera flash straight at the subject in certain instances. They don’t use the flash to brighten anything, but they’ve previously planned out the photo and know they want it to look like this with severe drop shadows.

15. There are far too few photographs taken

Many inexperienced photographers take much too few shots of their topic! They notice something, press the shutter once, and that’s all there is to it.

It might be because they don’t want to use a lot of memory (memory nowadays is nearly free!) or that they don’t want to have to sort things out afterward.

However, many things can go wrong right before the shutter is released: the snapshot is blurred, the person has their eyes closed, the child looks away, and so on.

Take a lot of pictures of a situation. Please try to imagine as many permutations of this situation as possible. That is, maneuver around your object, getting closer and further away using varied perspectives.

As a result, you’ll have a greater variety of photographs from which to select the best.

16. There was no conscious photographing, just a snapshot

Only very experienced photographers can quickly capture a photo that also looks good. A beginner photographer is likely to take a photo that isn’t particularly appealing.

But that’s exactly what we see with a lot of new photographers. They have their camera with them and are constantly snapping away. They are unconcerned with composition, timing, or light!

And this is one of the most common mistakes made by newcomers to photography. They don’t take photos on purpose.

They simply release the shutter and the photo is ready, rather than looking at where the light is coming from, what things are interfering in the background (which may be erased by a tiny movement to the side or downwards), or waiting for a brief period until the child laughs freely.

Camera in Auto mode
Camera in Auto mode

17. The automatic mode is used far too frequently

We’re confident that the vast majority of SLR camera users have never switched off their camera’s automatic setting. They spent a lot of money on a camera in the hopes that it would solve the problem.

This is incorrect! Because any smartphone, with its various intelligence algorithms, shoots considerably better images in automatic mode than an SLR or mirrorless system camera, which only has limited such capabilities.

Consider what SLR and mirrorless system cameras are designed for. They hand over photography control from the camera to the user.

All of the major photographic settings, such as the magic triangle of ISO, exposure time, and aperture, may be set totally manually with such cameras.

When you switch to automatic mode, the camera performs all the thinking again, which brings into question the purpose of an SLR or mirrorless system camera.



18. The horizon tilts

There are only two cases in which the horizon may tilt in the picture: it supports your image statement an earthquake causes the continental plates to rise into the air.

In all other cases, you should take care that the horizon is straight. If you use Lightroom, you can correct the horizon in the Develop module (shortcut D).

Photo with tilt horizon, @Walkerssk

19. Change camera settings randomly

There are so many modes and camera settings on SLR cameras that it’s easy to become lost in them. As a newbie photographer, it’s normal to want to try everything out right away and activate this and that just because it sounds cool.

There was once a little white balance, then HDR adjustment, then a little tweaking of the color settings and it was already done! You lose track of time or are taken aback when all of your images start to seem the same, have a color cast, or do anything similar.

Then it’s only a matter of resetting the camera. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but it can be problematic if you come upon a fantastic motif the next day that you just must shoot.

20. Only take photos with the sun behind you

Every child understands that you do not photograph straight in the direction of the sun. It hasn’t yielded any positive results. With all of the light, the camera sensor is completely overloaded.

Photo taken against the sun, ©TieuBaoTruong

It’s preferable to have the sun behind you because “something comes out of it.” That isn’t entirely correct! Backlighting produces some of the greatest and most atmospheric images! Backlight shots, on the other hand, aren’t always straightforward to work with.

However, not everything has to be simple; obstacles have their own allure! The contrast range is frequently wide when photographing in backlight: highly bright regions of the image merge with dark, underexposed areas.

You can achieve very amazing results by tweaking the contrast range. The exposure of backlit pictures can be considerably enhanced by shooting in RAW format or using the HDR approach. As a result, nothing gets in the way of atmospheric outcomes.

Don’t forget to share this article!

By Furoore team member Michael
Furoore Team is here to assist you in capturing the most significant moments in your life. To create exciting photographs, discover photography guides, find unique photo ideas, and limitless image inspiration.


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