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Mistakes All Beginner Photographers Make

Common Mistakes Made by Novice Photographers

We’ll cover five mistakes that just about every beginner photographer makes. It’s totally fine if you’re guilty of making any of these mistakes but learning to fix these  things will help take your photography skills to the next level.

We’ve reviewed a lot of beginner photographer photos over the years. And by far the number one problem we see is these photos lacking visual interest. Or meaning the main difference between beginner and seasoned photographers is that seasoned photographers take meaningful or visually striking images that tell stories and beginners simply don’t. The main reason for this is likely because beginners are in the early stages of learning their camera, learning what works and what doesn’t, what looks good and what doesn’t. But once you become comfortable with your gear you have to be able to use it to capture interesting subject matter in ways that capture feelings or emotions, tell a deeper story or stop viewers in their tracks. Doesn’t matter if you have a skilled model, a majestic landscape or high-end gear, all that matters is how you use what you have to tell a story or create captivating visual interest.

For example if you’re just shooting a snapshot of your pet. It’s okay to capture a candid slice of life photo but if you want to take a photo that’s more interesting to a wider audience you’ll have to use a few photography tools to do so. 

dog photo

Speaking of intention behind your images another common mistake we see beginner photographers make is not having a discernible focal point in their photos. We often see a picture of a landscape that leaves us wondering what is the subject of this photo. Is it this random tree, is it this more random pond. What is this photographer even trying to say? I don’t understand what I’m looking at. There are a few ways you can direct your viewers eyes to the subject in your images. The most common way is through the rules of composition perhaps the simplest way to compose your photo is by utilizing the rule of thirds by choosing to place your subject in one of these four points. You’re telling your viewer what’s important in this photo. Obviously there will be times you want to break this rule and that’s fine but it’s helpful to keep this in mind when starting out. Another good way is by utilizing color the brightest part of the image is where the eye automatically drips to. If the brightest or boldest part of your image is not part of your subject it’s going to be competing with. It is another key factor that literally highlights your focal point. 


The main way that beginners get color wrong is by not considering it at all. For example color can change the overall mood of the photo. It can cause distractions or it can strengthen the image to create a captivating result. 

Along with not considering color, beginner  photographers often don’t consider lighting. Lighting is single-handedly the most important element to consider with photography. So put the odds in your favor by shooting when lighting conditions are favorable. When we photographed weddings and we’re shooting in a room with tungsten lighting mixed with daylight from the windows we would turn off the tungsten lights to get even color temperature across our scene. When scouting for portrait locations we look for areas with the best light even if the backdrops aren’t as ideal. This is how important nice lighting is for your photography.

the bride

Most commonly beginner photographers will find an image they love on instagram or wherever and then attempt to recreate that look themselves. While this can be a fine way to learn some of the basics if you really want to break out of your beginner shell and develop your own look. We take a lot of inspiration from movies. You don’t have to be literal with your inspiration, it could be something as simple as a color palette or a composition that you then apply to your own photography. This is where you get to flex that creative muscle and let your imagination run wild.
Mango Street