December 18, 2023

5 Mistakes I've Made as a Photographer

Let me first start by saying that we are all human, and we all make mistakes. It is an inevitable part of life. But hopefully, after reading this, you be more prepared to handle photography related mistakes when they happen.

Mistake #5) Not checking my settings before moving to a different location

This used to happen to me all the time. I'd get so excited during a session and just continue shooting without checking my settings after walking to a different location, only to find out when I got home that some of the pictures were too dark or too bright because I forgot to adjust my settings for the change in light.

I now have a two second image review setting on my camera enabled, so it automatically shows me the image on the screen after I take it. This has greatly helped me to see what my camera is seeing and adjust my settings as needed.

Mistake #4) Backing up photos on USB drives

There are so many avenues for file storage these days. But of course, most of them you have to pay for. Back in 2013, when I first started photography and was a broke college kid, I would back up my photos on those portable 16 or 32GB USB drives. That worked well for me for a little while, until I tried to copy a file from the USB to my computer and it said it was corrupted and the file couldn't be read. I could see the file in the folder, but I couldn't open or retrieve it.

Now, not only do I have my photos on a solid state drive, but I also utilize Dropbox for online file storage. I love that I can download from Dropbox straight to my phone. It makes sharing my work on social media much easier.

Mistake #3) formatting my memory card and loosing raw files from a workshop

Yes, that literally happened. I am still mad at myself for that. Formatting your memory card to your camera is important, just make sure that there is nothing on it before you format it!

Mistake #2) Saying yes to projects i didn't really want to do

When I first started, I wanted to photograph EVERYTHING. That's good though, practice makes perfect right? Pets, equine, families, maternity, newborn etc etc. I never understood why other photographers would say that you need to focus on your niche. But the more practice I got or the more that I attempted things like newborn sessions, I realized that it wasn't something I wanted to do. At the time, I was not skilled enough to achieve the types of pictures that I had envisioned, and as a result I was always disappointed with what I would produce. My expectations were so high because of the work I had seen other photographers posting and sharing. I probably could, if I ever tried it again, now that I have 10+ years more experience, but that's not where my passion is. Now, I am more than happy to refer people to other photographers in the area whose work I admire that specialize in newborn and maternity sessions.

Mistake #1) comparing my work to others

This right here can be detrimental.

I think the biggest obstacle all photographers face is fear of judgment and fear of failure. Not just when they’re starting out; this happens all the time, even to the seasoned professional. We question whether or not people will like our work or whether or not it will resonate with them. But one thing that I try to tell others is that photography, as an art, is subjective. What speaks volumes to one person may not even elicit a response to someone else. When you grasp that concept in your mind that art is subjective, you tend to stop worrying about what other people think. You start creating for you and what you want, not what you think everyone else wants. Once you do that, when you photograph or draw or paint for your creative and emotional fulfillment and not for the response of others, you gain a whole new perspective.