When you are a beginner, whether it’s photography or something else, it is often easy to get overwhelmed. There are some common mistakes people make. Are you making these photographic mistakes? Let’s look at a few and how to fix them.

Missed focus

Often this is caused by not understanding your different focus settings, but also by not fully understanding composition and WHERE to place your focus point.

For instance, if you are taking portraits, use the eye closest to the camera as your focus point and move the actual focus point within your frame to that spot. Then focus.

If you are unsure how to move the focus point, try Googling that for your make and model. Oftentimes though, there’s a joystick on the back of your camera you can use, or a D-pad of arrows.

Perhaps even try your hand at manual focus. If you are looking for intentional camera blur, that can be cool too, just make sure it is for a creative reason and not a mistake.

Shaky/blurry images

The stabilization in modern cameras is pretty amazing, but they still have their limits. If you are handholding your camera, you really shouldn’t drop below 1/60s or maybe even 1/80s.

If you are using a zoom lens, you should use at least double the focal length. For example, if you are using a 200mm lens you shouldn’t shoot slower than 1/400s as a rule of thumb. Image stabilization has made doing this more feasible, but if you need to shoot at slower shutter speeds due to lack of light, try a tripod.

Blown exposure

Shooting in difficult conditions, such as midday sun can often cause overexposed areas of your image. Try changing the metering modes in your camera to something more suitable or even try your hand at bracketing.

Background distractions

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the shoot, but remember to look around for unwanted and distracting elements. I branch protruding from someone’s head, rubbish bins or (bad) graffiti. You may need to reposition yourself or your subject to get a better frame.

Photo by True False on Unsplash

Be intentional

As much as you might want to jump in and start shooting, hold off a minute. Immerse yourself in your surroundings a little. Look around. Be intentional in what you are trying to capture, whether it’s a landscape, a portrait or even some flowers or fungi.

What are you trying to capture in your images? Spending a few minutes to centre and ground yourself, check your settings and have a purpose to your photography, can vastly improve your overall images. And it can stop you from making these photographic mistakes.