Bad photography habits you need to UNLEARN

Not reading your camera’s manual
Read the manual that came with your camera – and check online for updates to it.  You may not need to know every feature your camera has (some functions are very obscure and some are probably useless to you), but looking into what they are will help you learn what your camera is capable of.  You may even find a couple of functions that will become immensely helpful that you didn’t know existed before reading your manual.

Shooting with a “fix it in post processing” mentality
Your future self will eternally hate your past-self if you shoot thinking, “Oh well, I’ll just fix that in post processing – Photoshop is God.”  Take the time to make sure you get your image right when you are taking your pictures and don’t punish your future self. Getting it right “in camera” is far from easy, but so worthwhile to at least try for.

Overdoing it in post processing
Edit your photos, but just be careful not to over process.  This is usually a malady that people new to photo editing software suffer from. If you look at enough photos online you will definitely come across tons of over processed pictures.  The aspects of retouching that you need to be most careful with are sharpness or clarity, saturation or vibrance, and contrast. Also, people who process HDR photography tend to do so with a very heavy hand.  HDR can be great, but when it is overprocessed it looks tacky and surreal.

Thinking it’s your camera and photographic gear that is holding you back
It’s really not.  The most important tools you have are your creativity, your imagination, and your perspective. Can a better tool or camera help you better realize your vision?  It definitely can, but it is your vision that is most important.  There is often a lot of importance paid to what camera and lens shot what.  While the average person may attribute better pictures to better tools, photographers should know better.  Many of us, however fall into the trap of gear lust.  Try to fight it though.  Your trusty old camera will serve you exceptionally well – so long as you learn to use it at its best to help you realise your vision.

Centreing the subject in the frame
Centreing a subject in the frame is something that is very common in beginning photography.  Learning the rules of composition will help your photography immensely.  Centreing can definitely be used with to great effect once you know what you are doing, but avoid it for a while if you are a beginner. The Rule of Thirds is a great help here – it is hardly ever a good idea to place your subject in the centre of the frame, and more than it is a good idea to have even numbers of items in the subject – two trees is not good compared to one or three.

Missing an opportunity because you don’t want to look foolish
This is something that many photographers struggle with, thinking you look foolish taking those Spiderman-like photographic poses to get the shot you want.
The first aspect is about photographer’s concerns that by getting into an odd position to get the shot they will be stared at or feel ridiculous.  A lot of times great shots are made by completely shifting perspective and getting into an uncomfortable or weird looking shooting position. The best piece of advice to help you get over this fear is to always tell yourself that the awkwardness will pass, but the image will remain. And if you are photographing in a location where you don’t know anyone, you are not likely to ever see any of these people ever again so just go for it!
The second aspect of not wanting to look foolish is to not take pictures of people who catch your eye on the street. While it can be intimidating to take pictures of strangers, you will be surprised at how friendly most people are. You can either approach your subject and ask their permission or sometimes you can just smile and nod to your camera and that will be enough.  This style of photography is definitely one that takes a lot of courage, but just remember that the energy you project will impact your subject.  If you look nervous, they will in turn be nervous.  If you can find a way to be confident you will get a much better response.

Moving the camera away from the subject to adjust the settings
Photographers so often pull the camera away from their face to adjust the settings.  Learn by touch the buttons and dials used the most, and your shooting will become much faster and better.  You will also miss fewer shots.  It takes time and a lot of practice, but you will feel a lot better when you can quickly change aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, without taking your camera off your subject or your eye from the viewfinder.

Stopping your learning process
Since you are reading this article, you are already avoiding one of the major pitfalls of photography.  Not expanding your knowledge and learning new ways to shoot, different ways to look at the world, trying new photographic styles and generally getting out of your comfort zone is probably more typical of photographers who have been shooting for a while. If you keep reading, keep looking for new inspiration, keep having your photos reviewed and keep working on your skills you will always be looking with fresh eyes and your photographic journey will last a lifetime.


With thanks to Adorama for some of this content.