Photography can be a very complex subject. Making sense of the exposure triangle, getting top side of your camera settings and understanding light, all combine to ensure alot of mistakes are made during your photography journey. In episode 8 of the Camera, Chat and Coffee podcast, Gav and I discuss the biggest mistakes photographers make. This isn't a blog to make people feel stupid from my ivory tower. Rather a couple of pointers that might stop photographers making the same mistakes I made......and rest assured I've made alot of mistakes over the years!
Mistake No. 1- Getting Married to Certain Photos
Let's set the scene. During a shoot, you've taken a shot that you're convinced is incredible. You get it on the computer, ready to edit....and your heart sinks. You know deep down that it hasn't worked out. You've got a bad photo but you just can't let it go.
There is a good photo in there somewhere!!!
So, rather than take your medicine, bin the shot and learn from it, you edit the image to within an inch of it's life so it can only be identified by it's dental records. All the sliders up to 100 and then down again, just praying that something will work out. The finished photo is hardly recognisable from the original but at least you've salvaged it right? Wrong. Over editing will not make a bad photo in to a good photo. It might stop an awful photo being awful, but don't you want to spend time making your best shots even better by editing rather than spending time slaving over shots that will never be your best work? If a photo didn't work out. Look at why it didn't and learn. Then, when you've got another chance, nail it.
Charging For Photography Too Early
In my opinion, a photographer's first couple of years should be focussed on improving the craft of their photography. Nailing down composition theory, understanding light and knowing your camera settings all takes alot of time- paid jobs can put undue pressure hampering this process. Rather than rush to call yourself a professional, I think photographers should try and enjoy the amateur journey. If you look at the french definition of the word it means ' for the love of' telling us that amateur needn't mean unprofessional, but a badge of honour that says you're taking photos because you love it.
Don't go chasing the dollar!
Another reason one might be better staying clear of paid jobs early on is it can affect your creativity. As soon as a client is paying you, they will have expectations of what the images should look like, therefore you might be there just to execute the shots, rather than create them. Creativity can be worked on and cultivated. Shooting for yourself is a great way to harness this creativity and take your photography onto a new level.
Like any walk of life, mistakes happen all the time and photography is no different. This is by no means an exhaustive list of errors that photographers (me included!!!) make. More will be written about in future posts.
Long term, mistakes are great for your photography so embrace the ups, the downs, the frustrations and use them to propel you forward!