10 Common Photography Mistakes

Mistakes are usually an inevitable phase of learning. For many photographers, overcoming mistakes and ensuring high quality work is important. The following is a compilation of the 10 common photography mistakes and tips to help you resolve them. Correcting these mistakes will significantly enhance your photography skills.

1. Buying lots of photography gear simultaneously

This mistake of acquiring lots of new photography gear at once affects both seasoned photographers and beginners alike. However, new photographers generally think that buying the most new gear is going to make them the best photographers. Buying a new lens, flash or camera won’t make you better at this craft. Actually, the best photographers can easily capture great photos with just about any camera. What is more important is the creativity, technical knowledge and a keen eye for lighting that will transform you to a much better photographer. Obviously, this does not mean you should never buy new gear. Different gear is actually helpful in providing better resolution and more flexibility. Just remember to enhance your skills as the photographer using the gear.

2. Distorted horizon

You are in position capturing a breathtaking sunset with your latest camera. However, in the eagerness of capturing the perfect sunset, you forgot to ensure that to set the horizon level. As a result, all the sunset photos are crooked. Luckily, there is a simple way of fixing this issue of a misaligned horizon. Most of the photo editing software available can do this automatically or allow you to make the appropriate edits by angling the canvas to a horizontal position in a software like Photoshop or Lightroom. You should also turn on your camera’s electronic spirit level or virtual horizon when capturing the photo for better precision.

3. Wrong white balance

Do your photographs look too cool or too warm? This is a common mistake that is caused when the camera incorrectly assesses the white balance. While AWB (automatic white balance) can easily determine a suitable setting based on the situation, the best option of getting it right the first time is by setting your own white balance figure. By correcting this mistake, your photos will appear more natural and you won’t need to do lots of editing work later on.

4. Lens distortions

This particular mistake is common amongst beginners as they are more prone to using the wrong lenses. Some lenses make subjects appear warped, while some introduce some undesirable elements like the loss of brightness or color around the edges. The first way of resolving this mistake is choosing the right lens with a suitable focal length for your subject. There are some cameras that even apply corrections automatically as you capture JPEG images. However, it is most efficient and easiest to correct this mistake when editing the photo afterwards.

5. Image out of focus

Relying on autofocus is not recommended for any professional photographer. This is likely due to the fact that the camera sometimes gets it wrong. When this happens, you find that your images are focused on something in front of or behind your preferred subject. In order to make sure your camera chooses your preferred focus point, set focus mode as single point AF.

6. Blurred images

You have taken a great photo, but it is just not quite as sharp. This blurred image can be the result of various factors, like movement of the camera during exposure, wrong focus point or subject movement. Unless the blur is meant as an artistic effect, there are a number of ways you can ensure sharper photos. This includes increasing ISO sensitivity to roughly 1/80 second with a shutter speed of 1/125s so as to prevent shake and also using a tripod.

7. Photos look dark and dull

Sometimes your photographs can look darker than the real scene. This phenomenon is usually caused by your camera meter reading influencing the exposure of the light situation. The remedy to this mistake is quite simple and it is known as exposure compensation. You can set this value in automatic mode. Applying the exposure compensation will give your images more life.

8. Poor composition

Composition refers to the art of balancing an image to enrich the flow. The mistake that many photographers make is capturing a photo with the subject directly in the center, but it does not always create the most attractive image. A simple composition method that you can use is the principle of thirds. This is where you subdivide the photo into thirds, both horizontally and vertically using 2 lines. You then place your subject at the intersection point of the lines or along the lines, to create a more captivating image.

9. Too much editing

Good post-processing of photos is just about subtleness, improving instead of overpowering a photo. Too much HDR or excessive contrast can make your photos appear tasteless. Remember that each photo is unique, so it is important to use different effects and filters based on what the photo requires. For instance, increasing saturation properties on landscape photos may look amazing, but doing the same effects on portrait photos will be quite unflattering.

10. Overlooking the basics of photography

This is the final major mistake that photographers make today. After learning all the right skills like focus, composition and exposure, you should not forget the simple basics of photography. This includes things like charging your batteries, carrying spares, backing up memory cards and ensuring you have all your gear before heading out to an event. Lastly, remember to always remove the lens cap once you start taking photos. You will be surprised to know that this mistake still happens to experienced photographers.


Photography is very enjoyable and rewarding. Just remember not to be scared of getting in close to your subject, as is the case with most beginners. Try numerous perspectives like climbing up a tree or lying on the ground to get a great perspective. Once you implement the above solutions and enhance your skills, you will be able to improve your photography quality.