Photography is a great way to capture a moment in time. Whether the picture is being taken on a smartphone, or on a professional camera, it’s most likely being taken to share a memory or a story. That’s why, it’s important to be aware of the most common mistakes which, if not paid attention to, can really ruin a picture.
Here are five terrible photography mistakes, and how to avoid them.
1. There isn’t a clear subject.
Every picture needs to have a clear subject. If there isn’t one, then the viewer won’t be able to understand the purpose for the picture. A common mistake that many people make, which can really ruin the photograph, is to have too much going on. A busy picture, with no clear subject, will keep a viewer’s eyes bouncing around from one thing to the next, without being able to pinpoint the subject of the picture. Avoid this by paying attention to your subject’s surroundings. Is there something near it that could be mistaken as the focal point? If so, move it, or change your position to leave it out. Make sure that nothing is competing against your intended subject.
2. The focus is on the wrong thing.
Just as having a clear subject is important in every photograph, it’s equally important that the subject be completely focused and clear. The last thing you want is to go through the trouble of identifying a subject, paying attention to the surroundings, making sure that the lighting is right, only to find that the subject is out of focus. This mistake usually happens when people use the autofocus option on their cameras, and the camera chooses the wrong thing to center on. However, this is a mistake that can be easily avoided by using either the manual focus, or the selective point autofocus mode. These will give you control over what the camera centers on.
3. It’s not properly cropped.
Not properly cropping the picture is a mistake that can be made both, when the photography is first being taken, and when it’s being edited. When the photograph is not cropped correctly, it will either have too much going on, which will detract from the subject, or it won’t have enough to tell the story. To avoid this, it’s important that you don’t over-zoom when you’re first taking the picture. Remember, you can always digitally crop the picture some more at a later time, but if you zoom in too much from the start and mistakenly leave an important factor out of the frame, there won’t be a way to fix that. When editing the picture, you can avoid cropping it too much or too little by thinking about the purpose of the image, identifying what complements and what detracts from the focal point, and then cropping it accordingly.
4. Over-editing your pictures.
With the rise of Instagram, photo editing has been overly-simplified. You no longer have to rely on Photoshop to add a filter or to tweak something on your pictures. While this is great because it can save you a lot of time, it can also ruin a lot of your photographs if it’s not done properly. Simple mistakes such as over saturating an image, adding too much contrast and noise reduction, or even stacking too many filters, will make your image look fake. When editing your photos, remember that less is more. Don’t use anything that will make your photo look too extreme. Subtle enhancements are key to good photo editing.
5. Not paying attention to the lighting.
Too often, people ignore the importance of having the right lighting conditions when taking a picture, and then they end up disappointed when their pictures come out dull. The right lighting sets the tone for the picture, and it’s key to capturing your subject properly. When the lighting isn’t right, it can cast shadows on your subject, taking away from its beauty, and can make what should’ve been a vibrant and interesting photograph appear boring. The best way to avoid this mistake is to make sure that you understand lighting, and to do so, you’ll want to spend some time studying what kind of lighting is best for different kinds of pictures.