National Geographic

4 mistakes new photographers make

I have been the photography editor for The Clarion Call (university newspaper) for 3 years now. Over those 3 years, I have noticed some mistakes that are reoccurring with student photographers. These mistakes are particularly seen in people just starting out in photography. I have seen these mistakes with my photographers but also from a lot of other photographers. Here are these mistakes and what you can do to learn from them.

1.      Rule of Thirds

If you do not know anything about photography, you probably may not have heard of The Rule of Thirds. This is one of the fundamental rules of photography. The Rule of Thirds is separating the frame with two horizontal and two vertical lines, creating a 3x3 grid. When shooting a subject, you want to put the subject on any of those lines. That’s why in most photos, the subject is often to the left or the right. It is aesthetically pleasing.

2.      Using flash and not ISO

Since I have students shooting events around campus, often events are in auditoriums or chapels. These places do not have the best lighting let alone lighting at all. When shooting in these conditions, I urge the photographers to crank up the ISO and turn off the flash. There is a great chance that you are not going to be in the front row or very close for that matter. With that being said, the flash will be useless. You will be lighting the crowd more than the subject(s) on stage. Plus, do not be that guy/girl who is being annoying and using flash.

3.      Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Gear Acquisition Syndrome also known as GAS, is a very serious condition where one needs the newest and best photography gear. I have and am currently suffering from this. How can you not want the newest lens or body!? However, it is all in your brain. If you are a photographer, you hear this all the time. You don’t need the best gear to create the best pictures. I recently read an article about the cameras the photographers of National Geographic use. One photographer used a Canon T5i. This camera is a high end consumer DSLR. You couldn’t tell which National Geographic photo was taken by a Canon 5D Mark III or a Canon T5i, no one could.

4.      Shutter Speed

Shooting for the university newspaper, requires sports photography. Numerous times I see photographers getting blurry action photos or the subjects are sharp and clean but the ball is a glob of blur. This is all due to a low shutter speed. When shooting sports photography, it is key to shoot at least 1/250 of a second or higher. This freezes almost all the action in the frame. There may be some sports that need to be higher than 1/250. I have also noticed some student photographers are shooting at f/10. You can easily open your shutter to f/4-5.6 to increase the shutter speed and get rid of motion blur.

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