5 Common Photography Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As an amateur photographer, you are going to make your own fair share of mistakes.

You’re going to forget your settings, maybe even forget what you were trying to photograph, but that is the whole point of pursuing a creative hobby. These tips are not here to help you take professional pictures.

These following tips are to help you have fun and explore the many options available to you through your Canon DSLR so that you can develop your own sense of style and taste.

Once you do that, professional photography will become a talent for you, which you can pursue however you choose.

First Mistake — Automatic Mode

The biggest, most limiting mistake beginning photographers make is keeping their camera in Auto or Program mode. This denies you access to not only every aspect of your Canon DSLR, it also prevents you from exploring the creative caveats of your mind.

By switching your camera to manual, you are opening the door for more and more creative options that can only be gained from making mistakes in your exposure settings and messing up your white balance.

Do not be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone and make these mistakes, because they will probably be the best things you could ever do for your photos. And because the camera is digital, you can just delete them and tiy again without worrying about developing film or wasting space on a memory card.

Second Mistake — Expensive Equipment

After you’ve already purchased your DSLR, you don’t need to buy any expensive add-ons until you’ve mastered it.
Many beginners think expensive lenses and tripods are the quick way to professional photography, but just because you may look like a famous photographer does not mean you actually take pictures like one.

Mastering the elements of photography, like light, movement, and color saturation do not require anything else but your mind and your camera. Get to practicing with the equipment you have and learn how to master white balance, artfully manipulate overexposure, and take perfectly flawless action shots before you start investing in lenses and lights.

Once you learn how to do all of those things, that expensive equipment will be well worth the wait.

Third Mistake — Not Using a Tripod

While expensive equipment may be placed on the back burner for the time being, a tripod is always a wise investment. And, as the least expensive item compared to lenses, lights, and editing software, there is no excuse not to purchase one at the same time you purchase your camera.

Tripods are not only great for taking those all- in family photos, but they also help you keep a steady camera during action shots or other instances when you’ll need to slow down the shutter speed.

Any movement of the camera can blur up a shot, especially if you’re waiting a few extra seconds for lighting calculations and shutter speeds. Attaching your camera to the tripod will reduce the physical movement of the camera and therefore help reduces blurriness, noise, and smudges in an otherwise flawless photograph.

Fourth Mistake — Centering Your Focus

Yes, focusing on your subject is important, but that doesn’t mean they have to be in the center of your shot every time.
The Rule of Thirds is a staple rule in photography and it can help you create more and more inventive shots. Simply divide your photo space in three pieces, either vertically or horizontally (depending on the subject of the shot), and make sure that your focus is in one of those three areas.

Avoid the center area and practice taking pictures with your subject in the first third or the last third. This can bring in some creative perspective, but it can also be tricky to get your camera to focus on the subject at hand.

Practicing this rule will give you time to practice the focus settings in Chapter 4 and perfect your ability to reign in the powers of your Canon DSLR.

Fifth Mistake — Disrupting your Subject

Whether you’re shooting portraits or out in nature capturing birds in flight, you need to remember your role as an observer.

This means respecting your subjects’ boundaries. I11 natural settings, you will want to disturb as little as possible. Do not cause a ruckus when you’re trying to photograph animals in their natural habitat, and always be respectful of private property lines or crowded public places if you plan on taking photos outdoors.

People are very wary of strangers photographing them, and it is a finable offense in some countries, so always be polite and ask if it is alright for you to be taking pictures.When taking portrait photographs, always make sure your subjects are comfortable and enjoying themselves. Impatience is common, especially in young children, so it’s always wise to lighten to mood with a great sense of humor and possibly a treat or two, even if that treat is a bottle of water on a hot day.


Photo is a Greek term meaning “light”, and that is exactly what you capture when you start taking pictures with your brand new Canon DSLR.

As a beginner, your manipulation of light will be mediocre at best, but as you’ve read this book and begin practicing with your camera, you’re understanding on the role light plays with your photographs will grow. Each change you make to your Exposure Triangle is another learning curve you are completing, but there is still plenty’ of room to make mistakes.

If you’re stuck in a jam, refer to these few lighting tips to help you overcome the confusion and get back behind the camera.

The broader the light source, the softer the light. And the more narrow the light source, the brighter the light.
So in case you need to soften the mood of the photo, opening a window or two and allowing light to shine in can accomplish that.

When using the flash or other external light sources, you can shine them against a blank, white wall to reflect it and diffuse it across your image.

This is another trick for softening the light.

It can also create great effects if you are able to reflect a narrow light source. This can take some practice.

Cool light will appear blue in images, and warm light will appear orange. Sunlight will always appear blue because, even though it seems counterintuitive to say so, sunlight is cool. Warm lights are commonly found indoors or in street lamps.

The farther away the light is, the dimmer your subject will appear. If you are using natural light and can’t physically bring it closer, this is when you can use the flash or another light source to compensate.

Otherwise, move the light closer or move your subject closer to the light.

Lighting from the front is the most commonly used source for beginning photographers. Practice breaking away from this habit by putting lights behind or beside your subject. For portraits, three lights will always create the best shot.

Put one behind your subject and one on each side in order to create the most natural lighting possible. You may have to work around the angles of these lights in order to complement your subject, and that will take time and practice.

In fact, all of photography will take time and practice. But with your user manual and the tips and tricks offered in this book, you will see yourself becoming better and better with each picture you take.

Have fun, and don’t forget to make mistakes!