Photography Bad Habbits

March 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

 

Hello everyone, I usually don't post about camera settings or tutorials, but I thought I'd switch it up today, with this post: 'Bad habits that can prevent you from being a better photographer, Guaranteed.' 
 
 
Bad habits might not completely ruin your photos, but they can hold you back from creating the best images possible, and what's the worst part about them? We tend not to realize we even have the bad habit until it's pointed out!
 
Bad habits that can prevent you from being a better photographer, Guaranteed.
 
 
1. Standing Still
If you are keeping your feet still when you are shooting, it is a surefire way to limit your creative potential. It is an easy habit to fall into, especially if you use a zoom lens. I can tell you that I have had to try to not to do this one myself. Instead of shooting a scene from just one perspective, get into the habit of walking around, moving closer and stepping back. Don't rely on the zoom! Just like with a prime lens (Non-zoom lens)-Use your feet, and see how quickly you start getting way more interesting perspectives.
 
Note: If you're shooting a 2 min long exposure you can completely ignore this advice. In that instance, standing still is a very good thing. ;)
 
2. Chimping
What the heck is chimping? Chimping is the act of taking a photo, and then looking at the result on the back of your screen while going "Ooooo!". There's nothing inherently wrong with checking out your photos on your camera - it can be a great way to learn, and fix any glaring mistakes. The problem exists when you do this, and in the process, stop paying attention to what's going on in front of you and miss capturing a great moment.
 
So use the back of the screen only when completely necessary (checking your exposure in tricky lighting, for example) and then keep your eyes on the scene, ready to get the shot. I will check the exposure and sharpness on the display when fist testing out lighting and exposure at the beginning of a shoot, and if lighting changes. Looking down constantly, will distract you from your subject-it will not reassure your model or subject that you know what you are doing, if you are just fooling around with settings the whole time. 
 
3. Bringing The Camera Down To Change Settings This goes along with chimping, but is a different bad habit. I still do this all the time. I don't know why, but basically, when I need to change my ISO, I bring the camera down, look at the screen, and change it. And by doing this, I take my eyes off the scene, and miss important moments.
 
Doing this will take a considerable mental effort-trust me, I do this all the time too. It requires memorizing where all the buttons are, but when you do manage it, it will really help you to stay focused, and keep careful watch on your subject. Take the time to play around with settings on your own time-be the master of your camera, and know exactly what will happen when you change certain settings! You can even do this while you're just sitting on the couch reading articles about bad photography habits. ;) 
 
4. Talking From Behind Your Camera:  Have you ever been directing your subjects, and received a puzzled look and a "Huh?", and then realized that you had the camera covering your face for every word? If you have this bad habit, it's definitely an important one to break! 
5. Neglecting To Square Up
First, if you have a horizon in your image, make it level. The human eye expects horizons to be level, so one that is slightly tilted will be distracting. If you have trouble with this bad habit, you can install a grid in your viewfinder to help you out.
 
Note: Sometimes it can aid your image to have a tilted horizon (perhaps to create a sense of movement), but it should be a conscious decision, not a careless mistake! Leading lines will help viewers. They will be drawn into your images, but this needs to be a concise decision when composing before you push down that shutter button. 
 
Then, when you're shooting against a wall or a building - something that has straight lines - be sure that you are standing perfectly square to it. If you're at a very slight angle, the lines won't be straight, and it will again feel distracting. This rule can be broken as well, as long as you make the decision to do it!
 
6. Thinking You'll "Fix It Later"
I have seen this this a lot. Thinking that you will just fix the exposure, or slight fix in Photoshop or LightRoom afterward. This habit can apply to anything from shooting with an incorrect exposure, failing to move a stray hair, or leaving a small piece of garbage in the frame. It's easy to get caught up in wanting to get the shot, and thinking you can just fix these little things afterwards on your computer. And you can. But it's at the cost of improving your skills and being an efficient shooter.
 
Get as much right in camera as you possibly can. Don't let digital processing be a crutch that prevents you from strengthening your technical skills! It's rewarding when you set the image up exactly as you would like, and get the perfect exposure and composition without having to spend 3 hours fixing one image in post. 
 
And seriously, you'll be cursing yourself when you have to edit that stray hair out of dozens of photos, spending hours on the computer, when you could have spent 10 seconds to move it during the shoot. That's a mistake that you'll hopefully only make once!
 
Bad habits are easy to pick up, and difficult to break. But if you keep working on adopting good habits, and getting rid of the bad ones, you're sure to see your technique, and your photos, just keep getting better and better!
 
You're Turn!
What are some other bad photography habits that you should break? Tell me in the comments below!

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