10 errors in the photo
Au fil des années, j’ai pu observer de nombreux photographes sur le terrain, mais également voir d’innombrables images et discuter avec beaucoup d’amateurs et de professionnels.
All these interactions highlighted the difficulties photographers can encounter and the most common mistakes they make.
So I decided to make a list of 10 mistakes that I have seen many times and that I have also made in my years of practice.
1: Staying in your comfort zone
However, in the long term, this specialization can work against you and hinder your evolution...
I'm not telling you not to specialize, on the contrary, I think it's a good thing to find the area(s) that you're more passionate about than anything else, but from time to time I invite you to leave this comfort zone and try things you've never done before.
For example, when I got into astrophotography, it helped me in landscape photography, as it improved my understanding of ISO sensitivity.
2: Neglecting treatment
I know that some people want to take raw, unretouched photos. However, in reality, to create a photograph, light must be collected through a sensitive surface (silver film or digital sensor) and this data must then be processed so that a photo can exist. As a result, a photo cannot really be raw. Knowing this, I urge you to do this processing yourself and not let a machine (your camera) do it for you. To do so, you should set your camera to RAW mode and process these digital negatives using a digital darkroom like Lightroom.
Your camera can't know what you want to communicate as a message or emotion with your image and that's why I advise you to process your images.
A few minutes of processing can make a huge difference and significantly improve the rendering of your shots!
3: Being afraid to make mistakes
In photography, I urge you, very strongly, to make mistakes! It may seem strange in an article about not making mistakes, but understand that the only way to never make mistakes is to do nothing.
Nowadays, it seems that some photographers consistently produce excellent images when you look at their Instagram account or Facebook page, but you have to understand that what you see is the result of hard work and countless missed shots. For example, the following picture is the only one I kept out of almost 300 takes!
A few weeks ago, I did an outing dedicated to astrophotography and some might think it was a disaster! My GPS pointed me to the wrong place so I drove for an hour in the wrong direction, then I arrived on the scene late and so I couldn't photograph the sunset. Finally, I photographed the sky for almost 5 hours and I didn't keep any pictures of this session!
Yet, I learned a lot on this outing. I was able to discover a very interesting place that seems well suited to astrophotography and I tested various settings and combinations of equipment. In short, I learned a lot during this chaotic evening.
4: Giving too much importance to equipment
It is true that the material does have an impact on the quality of your pictures, but also on the type of photos you can take. For example, photographing birds at a wide angle will not give the same result as with a 600 mm camera, no matter how good the photographer is.
That being said, I've noticed that many photographers are not fully conversant with the equipment they already own and often buy new lenses and cameras to get better results. Not only is this an expensive approach, it is rarely the one that will give the best results. Indeed, by getting to know your equipment, you will be able to use it optimally.
For example, each lens is different and will produce sharper or shallower images depending on the aperture you use, and each camera body has several autofocus modes, more or less adapted to the subjects you photograph. It's by getting to know the strengths as well as the weaknesses of your equipment that you'll be able to make the most of it.
Besides, the photo technique is much more important than the equipment you use! We often see people complaining about lens sagging when in reality the problem is caused by poor focus or inappropriate settings.
Finally, it is important to know that constraints push us to creativity! Some photographers even impose additional constraints on themselves to make their work more original by using, for example, a single fixed focal length lens.
Rather than saying, "I can't do this picture because I don't have the right equipment," you say, "How can I do it with what I already have? "For example, you want to photograph a landscape, but your lens is not wide angle enough... make a panorama! You want to photograph the Milky Way, but the aperture of your lens is not wide enough... make a stack. There are almost always solutions and it is often because of the limitations of our equipment that we will look for ingenious solutions, but also try innovative approaches.
5: Underestimating the importance of composition
A photo can be perfectly sharp, exposed and processed, but if its composition is messed up, it won't be pleasant to look at! As a reminder, composition is the way in which we arrange the visual elements of a photograph, the goal being to create an image that seems harmonious to us and that communicates an idea or an emotion. It depends on many factors such as :
- The location of the elements in the frame
- What you decide to include or exclude from the framework
- The size given to each element (using perspective in particular)
- Lines of force
- The direction of the subjects' gaze (human and animal)
6: Neglecting the light
Photography is the art of painting with light and we must never forget it! Over the course of a day, the colour, intensity and angle of sunlight constantly change and two photos taken only a few minutes apart can look radically different. In general, I advise you to use the blue and golden hours to take your photos.
If you're taking pictures inside, light is always the key! For example, if you're doing portraits in natural light, don't hesitate to move the person around the room to play with the light coming in through the windows. If you use a flash, use a Softbox or an umbrella to soften the light, play with the distance of the light and the size of the diffuser to get the rendering you want.
7: Only go out when the weather is nice
Un ciel bleu et sans nuages est idéal pour faire un pique-nique, mais c’est rarement intéressant à photographier.
N’hésitez pas à sortir quand le ciel est nuageux, sous la neige ou encore sous la pluie.
Ce sont souvent dans ces conditions difficiles que l’ambiance et la lumière seront les plus intéressantes !
8: Forget to move
When starting out in photography, you tend to stand relatively still and focus on your camera settings.
Unfortunately, by proceeding in this way, the compositions of our images are often uninteresting.
Don't hesitate to turn around your subject, to move closer, to move backwards, to bend down in order to test all sorts of different angles and compositions.
9: Not knowing your subject
Leaving for the unknown without any particular preparation can be very interesting and sometimes we have beautiful photographic surprises. However, a successful photo often requires knowing your subject. For example, animal photographers study animal behaviour and often go on preparatory outings without taking their equipment in order to get a better understanding of the behaviour and habits of the animals they wish to photograph.
In landscape photography, it is highly recommended to watch what time the sun rises and sets to capture the beautiful light of the golden hours. When you want to photograph the Milky Way, it is essential to check what time it will be visible and whether the moon will be up.
A little preparation can save you a lot of frustration and time. Study your subject and put all the chances on your side!
10: Getting discouraged
Finally, whatever your level and field, it often takes a lot of hard work and determination to get the shot you want. Landscape photographers sometimes return to the same location dozens of times to capture the scene with extraordinary light. Wildlife photographers spend days and sometimes weeks waiting for their subject in the forests and mountains.
All astrophotographers have already had missed sessions due to cloudy skies and poor settings.
Sometimes it takes many hours and hundreds of shots to get what you want. Don't be discouraged, with hard work and determination, you can do it!
If you wish to read more articles about photography, I invite you to discover my blog : https://www.photohc.com/blog