5 Common Photographic Mistakes to Avoid
To err is human apparently. Well, I must be human because I do err. Not every shot I make is as successful as I’d hoped when I pressed the shutter button. The key to progressing as a photographer is to learn from those mistakes so that they aren’t repeated (easier said than done of course, but one can live in hope). As a public service here are five of my images that don’t quite make the grade and the reasons why.
Choosing the right shutter speed is very important if your subject is moving. You have two choices. You either use a slower shutter speed than required to blur movement or you use the right shutter speed (or faster) to freeze the movement. This image is flawed because I used too slow a shutter speed. Even 1/400 of a second wasn’t fast enough to stop this furious Arctic Tern in its tracks. What I should have done was used a higher ISO to allow the use of a faster shutter speed. A pin-sharp image with slightly higher noise would have been preferable to the noise-free image I have in which the subject is unsharp. Next!
Flare is non-image forming light that’s been bounced around the glass in your lens before landing on the camera’s sensor to cause a big splodgy mess. One way to avoid flare (from light entering the lens obliquely) is to use a lens hood to shade the lens. However, I’ll let you into a little secret. I’m allergic to lens hoods. Well, perhaps allergic is a bit strong. I don’t like them though, mainly because they’re tricky to use with a filter holder. My usual solution is to shade the lens with a hand, a reflector or even my entire body (the trick being of course not to get what ever I’ve used into the shot). In this image I forgot to do this and ended up with flare in the shadow area of the main building. Doh!!!!
You need to keep your wits about when you’re dealing with flighty creatures like sheep. They move about and don’t take heed of exhortations to keep still. This can make composition tricky. In this instance I’ve fluffed it by cropping the main sheep’s ear off. On reflection I shouldn’t have used such a long lens. A shorter lens would have made the task of keeping the entire sheep in the shot far easier. If necessary I could have cropped the image later to achieve the composition I was after. Oh dear.
You need light to make a photograph. However, it’s the quality of the light that determines the success or otherwise of a shot. Light from a point light source such as the sun is usually hard and contrasty. It’s only when the light is made more diffuse – by a passing cloud for instance – that it’s softened. When I made this image the sun was blazing away at full strength. The result is perhaps too harsh for comfort (though I did use fill-in flash to try to reduce contrast). What I should have done was waited for a cloud to cover the sun and lower the contrast. Moving on.
The art of composition is to create an image that’s a pleasing whole. This means deciding what stays in the image and, perhaps just as important, what shouldn’t be there. In this case I hadn’t spotted the insect crawling over the flower head. It’s not sharp as there’s very little depth of field, but it’s noticeable. It could be cloned out I guess, but I’d know it was there originally. Next time I’ll step away from the camera and look at the subject critically before pressing the shutter button. You live and, if you’re lucky, you learn.
Your weekend challenge this week is to go back and look critically at five images you’ve shot recently. Try to study them objectively and see what works and what doesn’t. If there are flaws, think about what you did at the time and what you’d do differently next time you shoot something similar.
Most images are required to have some sort of focal point. This not only allows the viewer’s eye to be drawn to it, but it also helps give the picture a sense of scale. Where this object or objects are placed, is equally important, as […]
There is probably no more agonising decision in photography than buying a tripod. You only have to search an online photography equipment store to see what a bewildering range there is to choose from. The basic function of a tripod is to keep a camera […]
You have to know and understand the so called ‘rules of photography ’ before you can break them, but once you have mastered them, you can commit them to your subconscious and start to follow your own inner creativity. By following your instincts, you will […]
After many years as a keen amateur photographer, I decided to start a small landscape photography business called Lakescenes which I ran alongside my main job as an IT Manager. As business increased, I found myself working long, but rewarding, hours just to keep up […]
Rob Sheppard is a naturalist, nature photographer and videographer who says his favorite location is the one he is in at any time. He is the author/photographer of over 40 books, as well as a well-known speaker and workshop leader, and a Fellow with the […]
Gary Hart has photographed California’s natural beauty for over 30 years. Gary’s photos and writing have appeared in many publications, most recently Outdoor Photographer and Sierra Heritage magazines. You’ll also find his images in greeting cards, postcards, calendars, and many galleries and private collections throughout the world.
Originally from Poland, based in London UK, Jaroslav has background in Fine Arts, degree in Architecture, and wide array of experience. Being an Architect taught him how to be resourceful and to solve complex problems with simple, yet innovative solutions. Constant passion for graphic & […]
I love the texture of old heritage photos, particularly those that have been kicking around for some years and which have managed to accumulate folds and crinkles. While it can take many years for a printed photo to develop this sort of quality, luckily Photoshop […]
Five of the world’s top Olympic sports photographers talk about what it’s like to shoot the biggest sporting event in the world. Getty Images photographer Streeter Lecka puts it best: “The Olympics are unlike anything you will ever shoot in sports,” he says. “For professional […]
Camera makers are trying everything to revive the tanking market of low-end shooters. Their latest gambit? Insanely long zooming cameras that reach across vast swaths of land. But zoom is just another sweet-sounding spec that could leave you with crappier pictures. Way back in the […]