Mistake For Beginner Photography

There is an awful lot of things to learn when you get your very first camera, especially if it’s an ultra-modern, sophisticated DSLR, with shed-loads of features. So, it’s not surprising that mistakes will be made by many a newbie photographer. Here’s a short list of ten common mistakes…

Newbie Mistake 1. Flashing From A Distance

Flash can be useful even on a bright sunny day, such as to illuminate subjects when they’re backlit by the sun (to avoid their features disappearing into silhouette). However, while external or pop-up flashes can be exceptionally bright, they’re not going to do anything for subjects that are too far away and beyond the reach of the power of your flash (e.g. mountains).

Newbie Mistake 2. Getting ISO Wrong

In dark environments, you can turn your ISO up to lighten your image; in light environments, you can turn your ISO down to darken your image and improve image quality. If you’re unsure of what ISO to use, just choose Auto ISO and let the camera figure it out for you.

Newbie Mistake 3. Mode Dial Confusion

The Mode Dial is usually the largest dial on the top of the DSLR, often stamped with various letters or symbols. The most common of these are Program mode (noted by the letter P); Aperture Priority mode (A or Av); Shutter Priority mode (S or Tv – Tv = Time value); Manual mode (M). Some cameras will let you set one or more Custom mode settings (so you may see C1, C2, etx.). More sophisticated DSLRs might even let you record video (so expect to see a video camera symbol amongst the other mode letter symbols).

Newbie Mistake 4. Mounting Lens Hood Backwards

For convenient storage, you can usually keep your lens hood mounted the opposite way on your camera. The mistake comes when you begin shooting and you’ve forgotten to take your Lens Hood off to have it fixed on properly. The lens hood for your camera has been designed especially for your camera, to avoid unwanted light affecting your image (e.g. you might get lens flare in a situation where you don’t want it).

Newbie Mistake 5. Forgetting To Change White Balance

White Balance ensures that anything with white in your frame appears white in your photo. Forgetting to change the White Balance can cause unwanted discoloring of your photos (e.g. whites can appear blue, orange, or even a green).

Newbie Mistake 6. The OIS Switch Not Turned Off On A Tripod

This one is a very easy mistake to make. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) works by calculating the movements you make while hand-holding your camera, and then it attempts to counteract those movements to give a smoother appearance while looking at your LCD or Electronic Viewfinder, as you steady yourself to take a shot. Apparently, the OIS feature on some cameras and/or lenses can introduce movement when stationary on a tripod, so it’s best practice to try and get into the habit of turning off the OIS feature, before you attach your camera to said tripod.

Newbie Mistake 7. The MF-AF Switch

Switching to MF (Manual Focus) enables you to fine-tune your focus manually with the focus ring; AF (Auto Focus) lets the camera do the focusing for you. The mistake might come, for example, when you’re in MF mode to take a close-up or Macro photo of a plant, and then you go to take a “Selfie” and forget to switch the camera to AF mode, so all you’ve got to do is press the shutter button and let the camera focus on you and your mates. The result, without the AF switch on is typically a blurred image.

Newbie Mistake 8. Forgetting To Insert A Memory Card

This can happen if you’ve been transferring images from your SD Memory Card, to your computer, and then for whatever reason, you find yourself caught short for time and having to rush to get the images loaded, either for processing immediately, or for storage for later. When the image transferring process is done, you proceed to shut down the computer but, in a rush, you forget to remove the memory card and return it to your camera (to be formatted, ready for its next use). You rush off to do whatever it is you’ve got to do, and consequently forget that you’ve not returned said memory card to your camera. The next time you go to use your camera, you’re confronted by a warning message on the LCD, telling you that there’s no memory card, so images won’t be recorded. This is fine, if you’re still at or close to home. But, not so good if you’ve travelled far with your camera to shoot an event only to discover you’re minus a memory card as you forgot to re-insert it after transferring that last batch of images.

Newbie Mistake 9. Wrong Choice Of Lens

Imagine setting off to take photos of wild animals out in nature (a safari, or some other awesome trip); you arrive at your destination and discover a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot a rare animal with her new born; you go to grab your camera and discover you’ve left your ultra-wide angle lens on the camera. By the time you’ve managed to open your camera bag, grab your telephoto lens, take off the wide angle lens, pop on the telephoto, switch on your camera and begin to compose your shot and… oh, darn… you’ve lost that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t make this kind of mistake.

Newbie Mistake 10. Forgetting Tripod For Nighttime Photography

When you go to take photos at night, you’re going to be forced to use longer / slower shutter speeds, in order to give your camera’s sensor enough opportunity to capture the light detail that’s out there, but lost in the relative gloom. It’s almost a certainty that the slow shutter speeds you’ll need to use won’t make it possible to hand-hold your camera, without introducing unwanted blur into the resulting shots. If you know you’re going to be shooting in low light, especially at nighttime, ALWAYS make sure you take along a sturdy tripod.

 

Benefit Watermark Your Photos

You see it all the time when you want to find an image on the Internet. You could download almost any photo, but often they have a watermark on them. Why?

Image providers watermark their photos so that you can look at them and download them, but requires you to pay a fee to use the image without the watermark. You certainly don’t want that watermark visible.

However, fine quality stationery often exhibit faint watermarks that you can see when you hold it up to the light — a mark of elegance, a desirable effect.

The watermarks on your photos that I’m referring to are more like the latter.

They don’t get in the way of the photo, but enhance it and you at the same time.

Here are the three reasons, you might want to watermark your photos.

1. Branding.

Your watermark can be a signature, a small photo or a logo. As such, it serves to brand you. When people look at your images, they learn something about you.

If you consistently show photos that appeal to them, they’ll get to know who you are and look forward to seeing more of what you publish.

Your images may be quotes or landscapes or funny stuff that you share.

2. Promotion.

Watermarks on your photos promote. What do you want viewers to do? Where do you want people to go? What do you want them to see beyond the image?

Answer these questions to determine what kind of watermark you should create.

You may want to promote yourself, your business, a website or blog. Make sure your watermark reflects that.

For example if your business has a logo, choose that for your watermark.

Your signature would be a good choice if you are promoting you,

I chose to create a community on Facebook, and as such, use a logo of its name, which is both personal and business.

If you use social media with its sharing capabilities, your images can potentially be viewed by thousands or million of people. That’s a lot of promotion.

3. Protection.

Certainly if your images go viral on the Internet, you want to protect your brand, so that people cannot simply take your photo and brand it as their own.

Although this latter point isn’t foolproof, because watermarks can ultimately be removed, it has some safety benefit.

In most cases, unless you are a professional photographer, you won’t need to copyright your photos.

If you’re like me, a network marketing professional, you will be using other relevant photos you find online that you want to put your own words to or your favorites quotes.

So that’s it. The 3 reasons why you might want to watermark your photos.

Bonus Reason:

Profit. When you put all these reasons together it adds up to profit for you, your business, your network marketing company.

 

Going Into High Level Photograph

1. Print your images

Are your photographs destined to remain hidden on a hard drive forever, unseen by the world? Remember the buzz you once had in the pre-digital days, when you saw your photographs the first time in print?
Why not peruse your recent holiday snaps, and select your best work to be immortalised with ink on paper. Frame them; hang them in your home; give them away as gifts.

2. Update your camera gear

There comes a time when your digital camera doesn’t do your skills justice. While point-and-shoot cameras are convenient and cheaper, they are restricted by their simplicity and their smaller sensor size.

Unfortunately, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is still the truth. Even an entry-level DSLR and kit lens will produce sharper and bigger images, and allow you to play with a wider aperture range, from at least f/4 to f/22.

If you’re into landscape photography, a sturdy tripod is a must, as is a polarising filter to darken blue skies. A cable release will prevent camera shake during longer exposures. A decent kit bag will protect your expensive gear, and enable more efficient access to it.

3. Subscribe to a photography magazine

The racks of most bookshops are stacked with numerous photography magazines. My favourite is Digital SLR Photography*, which boasts a higher standard of writing than found in other titles from the UK. Of course, these days you can subscribe to the digital version of magazines, and download them to your mobile device of choice.

4. Start a personal project

A popular pastime is to shoot a photo every day for 365 days. The idea is to force yourself into the habit of getting your camera out regularly, not just for holidays, or special occasions. Shoot ordinary events or items.

Dedicated 365 websites give tips and ideas.

You could photograph a ‘selfie’ in the mirror to record your beard growth for 12 months, and then create a time lapse.

Another worthwhile project is to choose a numeral (e.g. 8) or a colour (e.g. red). Walk around town for a day, only shooting this topic. You will be amazed at how such a focussed assignment will hone your observation skills.

5. Enter a photography competition

Success in a local, national or even international competition is not only a huge boost to your confidence, and reputation – you may collect some fantastic prizes too. Competitions range from promotional gimmicks at local events (think A&P shows or radio stations), non-profit organisations (think camera clubs) to magazines which run these on an annual basis.

This is a great way to expose your work to a wider audience, and broaden your skill set. The more prestigious competitions will charge entry fees, particularly the umbrella organisations for professionals, where winners are highly acclaimed.

6. Get your work published

If you love to photograph in a narrow niche (e.g. animals, gardens, fashion, children, or sports), and believe your images will withstand an editor’s scrutiny, why not send a sample CD off to your favourite publication? Magazine editors are forever on the lookout for fresh takes on old topics. Follow up with a phone call, or better, a personal visit.

If you’re a competent wordsmith, even better, as you’ll get paid more for quality writing than for a handful of photos. However, be warned: editors are notorious for not replying, so you will need to be tenacious. Don’t give up.

7. Learn how to post-process your pics

This is what often separates amateurish photos from professional-looking images: taking a few minutes in Photoshop, adjusting a few basic things. Stuff like colour correction, sharpness, and exposure curves are easily done. So is straightening a wonky horizon, or cropping your picture into a more pleasing frame.

Photoshop Elements or Lightroom are popular with hobbyists as they are cheaper, stripped-down versions of Adobe’s flagship software. Beginners may find Faststone Image Viewer a simple yet powerful program – and best of all, it’s free.

8. Push yourself

Very rarely do great images come easy. Persistence pays off, and sometimes it’s just a matter of staying around longer on location, waiting for the right light. Or getting out of bed earlier for that stunning sunrise shot.

Go the extra mile this year. Don’t settle for second best, even if it means embarking on solo missions when the family is sleeping or watching TV. The sacrifice will be worth it.

9. Make money from your hobby

There are numerous ways to earn a living from photography – it all depends on your skill level, personality type, and passions. While the market for more landscape calendars or greeting cards is saturated, there’s still room for tasteful stock images, particularly shots of people.

On-line micro-stock libraries such as iStockphoto.com will no longer provide a decent full-time income, but you could make some pocket money. Fortunately, local stock libraries value their contributor’s images more highly. If your images are accepted and sell regularly, you can expect to earn several thousand dollars every year, once you have built up a considerable body of quality work.

Of course, if you have the people skills and can think on your feet, wedding photography is where the real money is. As this competitive genre is seasonal, it can be supplemented by studio shoots, or baby portraiture.

10. Join the club

Photo albums have now been replaced with on-line galleries. Host sites include Google Photos or Yahoo’s Flickr, but if you’re serious, why not build your own personal website? This is no longer such a daunting task, as it was a few years ago. Cloud-based hosts include clikpic.com and wix.com where beautiful templates make DIY web design a breeze.

However, if you and computers don’t mix, you can always find a like-minded community of real humans in a local camera club. These not-for-profits offer advice, training, competitions, trips, conventions and printed publications.

11. Take a photography course

Most folks will benefit from attending at least one photography course, especially when they’re starting out. This needn’t be a four-year university degree. Check out your local high school – many offer night classes for adults, and are great value for money.

Alternatively, many pro photographers run seasonal workshops on portraiture, wildlife or landscapes.

12. Go on tour

To really improve your photography, you need to grab your camera, and practise, practise, practise.

Perhaps the best way to fast-track your camera skills is on an intense weekend shooting on location, with an experienced guide. He or she will transport you to the best hot spots at the best time of day, to ensure you get great images.

 

Photography Tips For Beginners

1) Pick a subject matter that speaks to you!

Pay attention to the reoccurring themes in your work. Think of what draws you to these things so you can find new ways to capture and express what you like!

2) Practice!

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Sometimes those mistakes turn out to be something unique and innovative that you can build on.

3) Work the subject!

Try shooting the same thing in as many ways you can that capture different aspects about it. After you shoot look through your shoot and critique your work. Be mindful of what worked and what didn’t and why. Editing your shoot is an important part of the learning process.

4) Study the work of other photographers.

Find something that inspires you and pay attention to what you like and try to mimic it. Then try to make it your own by bringing in something new and different.

5) Composition.

If you pay attention, most great photographs will contain at least one of these guidelines:

  • Rule of Thirds: Imagine the image is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The interesting aspects of the image are placed on those lines. This rule is often used in landscapes, with the horizon being placed in the top, or bottom third of the composition. Some cameras even have a grid option that will display through your viewfinder, to help you make your composition precise.
  • Balancing Elements: If you are framing your main subject off center, try having a less important object in the background of the image to balance the weight of the dominant object. The secondary object will add depth to the subject and make it more interesting by filling the void of space in the image.
  • Leading Lines: Use the subject’s lines or contours to your advantage! These lines lead the viewer’s eyes across the image, so become aware of them and how to use them to your advantage. The more they lead the eye around, the longer the viewer looks at your image. Examples of the leading lines could be a winding road on a hilly landscape, or the contours of your model’s body. Notice how models pose is ways that create leading lines by using their limbs in interesting ways.
  • Symmetry and Patterns: Often used in architecture and nature, even in artistic portraits. The subject is center balanced, unlike in the rule of thirds.
  • Viewpoint: The angle of which the photographer shoots in relation to the subject. Showing us a subject from an angle that we don’t usually see it is a great way to make it more interesting. In working the subject, pay attention to the message the shot conveys. Try eye-level, from above, below, side behind from a distance, in close, etc…
  • Background: Pay attention to your background! If your background doesn’t add to the subject, use a plain backdrop or use a shallow depth of field to blur the background out. Think about how it affects the tone of the subject.
  • Depth: Mostly in landscapes, depth helps convey a 3-dimensional subject in a photograph, which is 2-dimensional.
  • Framing: Objects in your environment can be used to add to your shot! Some useful examples are: archways from a building, branches from a tree, holes in some cliffs. These frames can help show off the setting.
  • Cropping: Cropping in tight on a subject is a great way to remove distracting elements around it. Everything in the photograph should hold value to your image. If it doesn’t, try cropping it out.
  • The more you practice these composition guides, the more they will become instinctual. Even in your editing & selection process, pay attention to which images pop out at you, and see if they hold one of these elements.

6) Familiarize yourself with your tools.

Photography is so versatile! You can even take amazing photos with a coffee can, but you must understand the limitations of your gear.

7) Familiarize yourself with photography software!

Digital software is today’s darkroom & developing an image is just as important as how you shoot it. My favorite way to digitally polish my images is through Lightroom. It’s amazing what it allows you to do to an image without exposing yourself to chemicals or wasting photo paper and developer. The preset filters are a great way to intensify the tone of the image, but you must know how to fine-tune them to make the image just so. Photoshop is also an important tool.

8) Learn Lighting!

I suggest photographing a subject at different times of day and compare them. If you have access to professional lighting equipment try shooting your subject lit from different angles, diffusion vs. Hard lighting, etc… There are jobs just dedicated to lighting on high-end shoots, so there are no limits there if you have the budget. Really think about how the light conveys your message to the viewer.

9) Go with your instincts!

Make sure what you are shooting is fulfilling something for you. There is no point in shooting something you aren’t enjoying. It will show in your work! The more you are passionate about it, the more creatively you can capture it! I’ve worked with so many photographers that have talent, but take on shoots they don’t enjoy and it showed in the quality of the images. For example, I could never understand why somebody would hire a nature photographer to shoot their portraits. Somebody that isn’t a people person doesn’t take flattering photos of people no matter how much technical knowledge they have. On the other hand, if you see all people as beautiful and you have a natural talent for making a person feel good about him/herself, then portrait photography is a great niche!

10) Communicate with your subject!

If you are shooting any time of portrait, make sure it is prepared beforehand. Nothing worse than having your model show up with chipped blue nail polish! Learn to guide your subject with clear direction in a way that makes them feel comfortable! Even models feel vulnerable with a lens in their face, so learn to give suggestions in a flattering way. Nobody feels confident after hearing “sucks in your gut,” but if that’s what you want try something like “intensify your ribcage”. Compliments go a long way! When you ask for a smile, it will look forced. If you compliment the person they will naturally smile.