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The 7 biggest mistakes beginners make in photography. 

Believing “likes” to equate to great pictures. 

Have you ever heard the saying that it takes one to know one? That is probably true of great photographers. If you show a class of kindergartners 2 photos, one of Barney the purple dinosaur, and the other is a black and white landscape by Ansel Adams. Do you think the class will unanimously agree that the Ansel Adams photo is better than the Barney photo? Whether you are or are not getting likes, you might want to consider who is seeing your work before passing judgement on your photos. 

Believing that you know what good is. 

We’re conditioned to believe that we know what good is at an early age. Parents tell us we’re doing good when we’re just scribbling garbage on construction paper with our crayons. Teachers tell us we’re doing good when we’ve just begun to understand the bare minimum to pass a test. Our brains tell us things are good that we will outgrow in a matter of a couple of years or even months. The world is designed to make you think you know what good is, but you really don’t. 

Getting trapped in the imitation game. 

One of the things I hate about Instagram is how it conditions people to copy each other. Something becomes a fad, such as standing on a rock outcropping in front of a sunset, and suddenly 100’s of different photos of the same thing come pouring into the feed. Don’t get stuck copying popular accounts because you think that is what people want to see. In fact, I would go one further and just not even look at popular accounts. The more similar an account’s photos are shows that they’re stuck in the trap of imitating their own success.

Doing photography for no reason. 

Lots of beginners are just doing photography with no purpose or intent. They call photography their “hobby”. Even a hobbyist should have goals. Do you want to make money, work with products, athletes, companies, designers, in nature, or with animals? There are lots of fields that photography works hand in hand with such as sports, marketing, fashion, news, and entertainment. It doesn’t have to be paid work. I know people who do photography for animal shelters, putting together yearly calendars of the animals that have been adopted out to help raise money for the shelters.

Not getting enough experience early on. 

Most people don’t know what being good at photography entails. It’s more than just using the camera. It’s more than having talent for “photography”. Almost every photographer I talk to wants to start their own studio. Have you wondered how many studios will the market support? Even if you having success, be careful not to misjudge your own successes. Sometimes things come along, such as Covid 19, that show us just how strong the business we built really is. I know a bunch of studios got slammed by Covid 19. One of the people I used to work for doesn’t even control his own money, a bankruptcy court does. Don’t end up being that guy.

Not engineering good outcomes. 

I used to think that if I just tried my best and took great pictures I would have happy clients. It doesn’t always work out that way. It’s important to try and get buy in from clients while shooting. Try to make them look at the back of your camera and say, yes, I like that picture. In this way you force them to get buy in during the shoot, which will become a logical impediment to any future complaining they may decide to do.

Final Thoughts

Being a photographer is more complicated than doing photography. If you’re still struggling with how to adjust your cameras settings, how are you going to run a business doing photography?

If you’re interested in learning more, join the discussion in our photography club or check out some of my courses where I go into more depth on photography subjects.


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