For those just starting out in photography, the technical aspects of getting it right and producing images to a professional level can be somewhat overwhelming. Aperture, exposure, shutter speed, composition, lighting – there’s a lot to learn. Not to mention knowing how to put it all together and engineering that magical ‘right time, right place’ situation. |
However, while with time and dedication you’ll gain the technical know-how, understanding what pitfalls to avoid can be equally useful.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Even the most renowned photographers will have made their fair share of mistakes, but the important thing is that they learned from them. Here are just a few common errors that beginners make.
Great composition is part skill and part instinct, but one of the most common rookie errors is trying too hard and filling your frame with a lot of conflicting and competing elements. A striking composition is one that doesn’t overwhelm the viewer – in other words, simplicity is key. Understanding techniques like the rule of thirds is very helpful, but simply being mindful of exactly what you’re looking at through the lens will allow you to make better compositional decisions.
We’ve all seen those novelty photos where it looks like someone has a power pole coming out of their head, or a tree branch out their ear. If you’re serious about your craft, however, while of course your focus will be on what’s in the foreground, you also need to be very aware of your background before you close the shutter. Beware of any distracting elements and recompose if needs be.
Another very common mistake for beginners is the tendency to use too slow a shutter speed without realising it. You might think you’re holding steady, but the shake is magnified the slower the shutter speed. A good basic equation to apply is that your shutter speed shouldn’t be any slower than the focal lens. So, for example, if you’re shooting with a 50mm lens, don’t go any slower than 1/50 second.
Heavy Handed Post Production
When you’re working with digital images it’s very tempting to over-process when they’re out of the camera and on the computer. While it’s amazing what can be brought out, corrected or improved in an editing program, the key is to use your tools lightly. Too much colour saturation or contrast will yield overblown and unrealistic results.
Failing to Backup Files
Technology failure is far more common than many people think and not having a good backup system for your images can lead to heartbreak. Ensure you have a second external backup drive (apart from your hard drive) or pay for increased cloud storage.
Learn Profession Tips from an Expert on a Steve McCurry Photography Course
The above are just some of the common mistakes beginners make, but one thing that’s certainly not a mistake is the decision to learn tips and tricks from an expert. An online Steve McCurry photography course is one of the most inspirational ways to not only gain technical expertise, but also discover the working processes of this iconic artist. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn at your own pace as you work through a range of lessons with the Master himself. A Steve McCurry photography course could be just what you need to go from amateur to professional.
Adam Harper is a Photography Consultant at Masters of Photography. If you’re looking for courses from the world’s greatest photographers, they offer a Steve McCurry photography course online as well as other excellent Masterclasses. Suitable for all levels, the courses provide lifetime access to easy to follow classes, allowing participants to learn valuable tips and tricks and take big steps to improve their photography. The online community affords the opportunity to find inspiration from both the Masters and fellow students.
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