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Common Photographer Mistakes
Old 04-17-2003, 11:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm currently teaching a photography course in the evenings at one of the local campuses here, and I wanted to come up with a list of 10 common mistakes that photographers make. I can come up with ten, but I thought I'd throw this out to the forum and see what I get here.

Keep in mind that my students aren't professional photographers, and don't aspire to be. They're shooting wives, husbands, friends, kids, and soccer teams.

My top three are:
Cropping below the knee.
Not using a tripod at slower shutter speeds.
Shooting out of vehicles (More of a peave of mine, rather than a mistake).

What are some of yours?
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Re: Common Photographer Mistakes
Old 04-17-2003, 12:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I hate it when I see some grab the lens and hold it like a champaign glass with the little pinky finger sticking out. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Number 1.
Old 04-17-2003, 01:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Check the batteries!

Then, here's some others.

Don't gorget to load the film, (if using film).

Take off the lens cap (used to be a laugh, with rangefinders.)

Don't put your finger/thumb in front of the lens.

Be sure to start the film properly. (35mm cameras).

Don't forget to focus.

Don't cut off heads, or feet.

Try to center the subject, when appropriate.

That's enough for now. Have fun. Watch out for the tech heads who know lots of technical stuff, but can't make a decent picture. (Been there....know about that stuff.)

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
 
 
Framing
Old 04-17-2003, 01:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If the subject is not centered in the frame, have the motion move into the picture not out of it. For example, if you are shooting a boat on the water, have the boat moving into the picture. If you are shooting a person, have them look into the picture.

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Re: Common Photographer Mistakes
Old 04-17-2003, 01:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thinking a better camera will make better pictures.

Using on-camera flash far too often.

Obsessing about getting the finest-grained, sharpest pictures.

Thinking that simply taking lots of pictures will insure they get a good one.

Learning pointless "rules" (which won't guarantee a good photo when followed).

Failing to develop an understanding of how shutter speed and aperture affect the look of the image.

Concentrating on understanding cameras/lenses instead of understanding light.

Ignoring the relationship between the photographer and the subject.
 
 
As far as \"mechanical\" errors...
Old 04-17-2003, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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"Check the Batteries" is #1, I agree. Important squared and cubed in the digital age. "Check the film/digital media" is next on the list of "don't screw up the easy ones." [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

I don't know if this counts as a "mistake" or just as something far too many people are ignorant of, but I've explained exposure lock to zillions of people with P&S cameras of all sorts, and I don't think I've run across three P&S users who knew about it.

By "exposure lock" I mean the trick where you press the shutter release halfway down, which forces the camera to calculate focus and exposure (on some digicams it also kicks in the auto-white balance, ISO equivalent, and other doodads) and then hold it until either you let go or you press the release the rest of the way. Most common use for this is to focus on an area where something is GOING to be, then pressing the release the rest of the way down when it actually gets there - since exposure has already been set, shutter lag is greatly reduced. You can also use it to compensate for odd lighting conditions in various ways. I don't use it as often as I should, but I at least do know about it. (My main camera does have manual controls but they're very cumbersome to use and so I only use them for studio/posed shots.)

St. Marc
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Re: As far as \"mechanical\" errors...
Old 04-17-2003, 04:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Look past the subject, and into the background, so you get no poles sticking out of the head.
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Re: Common Photographer Mistakes
Old 04-17-2003, 08:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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10. Shoot n Pray

9. Focus

8. Cameranxiety-shoot to fast and do not take the time to compose the shot. Chop of heads or the counter measure of afraid of doing that so the heads at the bottom of the photograph.

7. Forgot to put film in camera

6. Thinks flash will reach the stadium floor from the nose bleed section. All it does is shows the bald spot really loud to the person in the row in front of them. No one speaks of this because the T.V. stations want this for effect.

5. Standing to close or to far back from the subject. They never get it right. Either to shy or they want way to close to the action. Creates small subjects or out of focus photographs.

4. Batteries. They think most cameras run on solar power.

3. sync. "Why is my pictures half black?"

2. Forgot to rewind the film. Exposing film by opening up the back.

1. They will forget everything you just told them the next time they pick up the camera.
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THE ,ost Common Photographer Mistake
Old 04-17-2003, 11:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Looking through the viewfinder, but not 'seeing' what's in there; seeing what is in all four corners. My place
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Some from when I taught a Communty class
Old 04-18-2003, 08:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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1) Make Verticles verticle and Horizontals horizonal (in other words, turn the damn camera)

2) Clean your lens

3) Change batteries once a year whether they need them or not, ALWAYS have a spare set. If you aren't going to use your camera for more than a month, take the batteries out

4) Never use a sheet for a backdrop, not matter how good you are, it will always look like a sheet

5) Get on your subject's level, crouch, climb up or lay down in front of things but don't just stand there and shoot

6) Focus on the eye when doing portraits

7) Watch for unfortunate intrusions growing out of people's heads

8) Fill the frame, get as close as you can and don't 'waste' film by not using every mm of the frame you have.

9) If you are on a budget, skimp on the body and use the money saved to invest in the best lens you can afford at the time. You are better off with two quality lenses than 5 bargan basement specials.

10) Buy a good wide angle before you buy a telephoto, you will use be a sitaution where you're trying to go wider 10 times more than trying to pull something far away closer.

11) Film is the cheapest part of the equation, shot a lot. If you are paying $3000 for a trip to Jamace, why quibble about an extra $60 or so to purchase and develop a few more rolls of film.

I know it's more, but choices are good

Joel
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