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3 Common Photography Mistakes by Beginners

30Mar
  • 3 Common Photography Mistakes by Beginners

We’ve all been there. We see a breathtaking scene, take out the camera and snap a few shots. We think we have captured the what we saw, and are excited about how great the photos will be. However, when we process the photos the next day, they are not as astounding as we thought. There is nothing more disappointing than seeing the photos you took not showing the what you envisioned. So what did we do wrong? It’s probably one of the common mistakes I have listed below. These mistakes are common among beginners, and I have made every one of them in the past:

Mistake #1 – No Point of Interest

In most cases, there should always be one, and only one, main point of interest in your frame. A point of interest is an element that you want to draw the viewers’ attention to, and you should based your composition on it. Many beginners make the mistake of either not having a clear point of interest in the frame, or their points of interest is not very interesting themselves. When composing a photo, always ask yourself “what do I want the viewers to see?” When you have a point of interest defined, ask “how do I draw viewers’ attention to that element?” Finally, ask yourself “how will the viewers react when they see the element?”

Mistake #2 – Competing Elements

Too many elements

Are you trying to show me this hat, that hat, or the hat in the back?

Opposite to those who have no clear point of interest in their pictures, some beginners may choose to include everything they see in the frame, thinking that the picture would be more interesting. It is not. When there are too many equally prominent elements in the frame, they compete for viewers’ attention with each other. Viewers will have difficulty understanding what subject is being shown and what message is being communicated. To avoid this mistake, try to narrow down the number of elements in the frame. Eliminate one element at a time until there is only one element prominently shown in the frame.

Mistake #3 – Centered Subject

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Bamboo in the center. Good Feng Shui but bad photography.

When I first picked up photography, I’ve always wondered why my photos were not as interesting as the ones done by the other, more experienced photographers. I did some research on composition and eventually discovered that I had the tendency to place the subject in the center of the frame. This is perhaps the most common mistakes by beginners because this is what non-photographers do. When the subject is placed in the center of the frame, it leads to the so-called static composition which renders the photo flat and uninteresting. To make things more dynamic and interesting, try to use some creative composition and make the subject off-centered.

There are certainly other mistakes photographers make. If your photos consistently turn out not the way you expected, it is best to have some experienced photographers review your photos. Do not let these mistakes discourage you from pursuing photography. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please leave a comment below.

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