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3 Noob Photography Mistakes You’ve Probably Made or Will Make

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As someone who has been in the photography arena for sometime now, I tend to see some common mistakes made by those new to the photography game. The following article highlights three common mistakes beginner photographers tend to make.

You need the most expensive camera.

Don’t laugh, it happens all the time. During my time behind the counter I witnessed a trend of many new photographers wanting the best equipment. When I asked what they would be using the equipment for quite a lot of them would say something along the lines of wanting the latest Canon or Nikon to photograph landscapes or portraits. Many were under the false impression that if you had the best camera you would be able to take amazing photos like they had seen on Facebook or popular photography blogs. Typically cashed up on credit, these noobs lashed out the electronic cards to accumulate a medium to high level body and some of the most expensive lenses available. Now, that’s all great for a retail store, however often I would give the advice that they didn’t need the most expensive gear to take amazing photos. Some would listen, however the majority wouldn’t. Predictably in a years time I would see the very camera and lens they purchased on ebay or Facebook after experiencing not enough clients purchasing their images or worst still, financial problems. So, the moral of the story… you don’t need the best camera and lens (or most expensive) to take great photos! Stick with a small budget if you’re starting out. Master that gear and start generating some cash flow before you even think of upgrading.

RAW why do I need that? – Jpegs are perfect.

Now as the seasoned photographer knows photographing RAW is essential for almost every situation – just ask Mr ‘I Shoot RAW‘ aka Jared Polin! For those starting out however, the default setting tends to stick straight out of the box. I’ve been messaged privately on countless occasions over the years about how to best edit an image that’s gone belly up and what software to use. Typically the most common ‘mistakes’ I’m referred to are blown out highlights in landscapes or portraits due to the wrong camera settings being used. Now this is where I ask to see the original RAW file – ‘the RAW what’? Yep, you guessed it…
Having no RAW file means that if you run into the problem of having blown out highlights due to a tricky lighting situations, then you’ll be able to recover the detail in the photo. This is because the RAW file contains MUCH more image data than a standard Jpeg. So, please if you are new to photography change your image quality setting to either shoot RAW only or select Jpeg + RAW (stores two files). That way you’ll be covering yourself for any future mishaps.

I took photos at the event but I can’t find them – I think I lost my memory card…

Sure you did! Check again! What you’ll find is when you were busily taking photos at the event I’m guessing you didn’t review the first couple of shots on the camera’s rear LCD screen? This is a very common mistake and I’m sure it’s happened to many of us (including myself – a very long time ago). The problem is many cameras when they come out of the box tend to have a stupidly annoying default feature that allows you to take photos with no memory card inserted in the camera. Sometimes if you’re in a rush your mind can be elsewhere focusing on what camera settings to use rather than making sure you inserted a memory card in your camera. Fast forward to the event and you might be busily snapping away, the camera takes photos no problem, and you may even see the image displayed for a few seconds on the rear screen after you’ve taken it, but like a SILLY LITTLE NOOB you never press the playback button to DOUBLE CHECK your first couple of shots. Then you get home and go to eject the memory card and your heart stops, suddenly being lost in a sink hole doesn’t seem so bad at all.
The lesson: check and double check your first couple of shots BEFORE the event starts, make sure you have that memory card in the camera and turn off that damn ‘shoot without a memory card’ setting.

Have you ever experienced a noob mistake as someone starting out in photography? Go on… admit it you know you want to!