If you’ve clicked on this article, chances are you’re still getting a grip on composition and its role in taking great photos. You’re also most likely already familiar with techniques like the Rule of Thirds, symmetry and leading lines. While it’s important to learn and practice these techniques, it also pays to know what you need to avoid when you’re out there shooting.

This is where Pierre Lambert comes to the rescue with the quick video above. There, he talks about the five biggest composition mistakes that he notices photographers often do — including him! Go ahead and give it a watch, then come back for a quick digest of his tips and suggestions.

Overthinking your composition

According to Lambert, overthinking your composition in-camera often causes you to miss the awesome action that makes the story of your shot. Don’t be so engrossed over the technical details like getting two-thirds of the frame, finding the right shape or leading lines, or shooting from the right angle.

Not cropping your images

If you’re a street photographer, you’re always on the look out for fleeting but compelling moments to shoot. That also means that your composition may not be perfect or flawless all the time.

This is where the crop tool comes in handy to fix or refine that. Many photographers actually still have the misconception that cropping images is cheating or inauthentic. But for Lambert, avoiding cropping is a missed opportunity in bringing out the best version of your shots.

Not shooting wide enough

If you’re not shooting wide, you don’t give yourself enough room to use cropping to refine your composition. Make it a habit to add some breathing space around your main subject. This will make it easier for you to crop your image to different sizes and orientations for printing, social media posts and other uses.

Putting too much in your frame

Yes, less is more, even in photography. Having too many elements in your frame that don’t emphasize or add to your subject will just be confusing to the viewers. Lambert advocates shooting clean frames — having as little as possible in the image but as much to add to the story as possible.

Not experimenting with composition techniques

Composition rules are there to serve as your guide, but that doesn’t mean you can’t “break” them. What Lambert means with this is to experiment with the rules, mixing and matching the different techniques to see how you can tell effective stories with them. Don’t fit your story in a composition rule if it doesn’t work!

Don’t forget to check out Pierre Lambert’s YouTube channel for more of his photography tips and tricks.

Screenshot images from the video