5 common photography mistakes

1. Taking too many photos

Digital photography is too damn fast! You can take dozens of photos every second. Point and shoot again and again. You know that it’s not costing you. Sure your memory card fills up, but you can ignore or delete that later (more on that in a moment). So, on you go; pressing, shooting, taking…

Sometimes you might get lucky and capture a great moment. Sometimes you’ll have a few good photos. But can you repeat the experience?

There is another way. Slowing down. Paying attention to what is in front of you. Maybe restricting how many photo you create in a set period of time.

Did you see what I did then? I said create instead of take a photo. If you slow down, and really pay attention to what is there, you might actually be more attuned to what is in your frame, where to place your frame and when to press the shutter.

Then you may create a photo.

Slow down!

2. Reckless deleting

The second part of taking too many photos, is that then you’ve got to delete them all, and you may just do that in a flurry of chimping.

Chimping? That’s looking through your photos very fast, going oooh or even ooooo when you see a photo you like, and deleting the rest.

There won’t be much attention paid to the photos you delete, and that’s a great loss. Every photo you take is a signpost to a better photo. Sure you need to delete the clangers, but first consider: Why didn’t that photo work? What could you have done differently? Every photo is pointing the way to a better photo.

If you slow down, create less photos and then mindfully review each photo, the whole process of creating a limited number of photos at a location becomes a more mindful experience.

You might just start to create more great photos.

3. Trying too hard

Do you have a little critical voice? Maybe it’s sometimes a loud nag. Perhaps it tells you that your photos are no good. Or that you don’t know what you’re doing. Then this little voice has you trying harder and harder to take good photos. More photos. More trying. But the same habits.

You may try to follow advice and guidance. You may try to learn new techniques, seek out special places. None of this trying is the problem. Study, practice, reflection and more practice are a necessary part of developing your skills and confidence.

The trying is about the striving. Striving to get it right. Striving to be like everyone else.

There is another way. Another approach to creating, rather than taking photos.

4. Looking for a photo opportunity

Do you go out looking for a photo? Do you have a vision in your head. Sometimes that might work, particularly if you’re staging a photo. But usually it just gets in the way.

In the way of what? In the way of seeing what is actually there.

This may sound a little silly, but what if you went out, not looking for a photo. What if you were just paying attention to what was there. Really paying attention.

Walking and noticing the bright red amongst the green; the pattern of sunlight through leaves; the shadows left against a brick wall. What if you just allowed the world to unfurl in front of you?

Maybe the photo would find you.

5. Real, but not expressive

Do you take photos of what is in front of you? Realistic, real, sometimes even beautiful?

In fact, let’s get to the point: what is it that makes your photos different from anyone else’s?

Expressive photos that allow something of what you’re thinking, feeling or experiencing to seep into the act of creation.

Then your photos may say something nobody else can say, because there is only one you.

Two photographer’s may stand in front of the same scene with the same camera equipment, but only you are feeling and thinking what you’re feeling and thinking.

You just need to able to tune yourself into this, and then have ways of conveying those feelings in your photo.

How can you conquer these mistakes?

You could take a look at 10 Tips to slow down your photography!

Or you could think about developing a mindful approach to your photography. Take a look at my new course Photography for Well-Being – The Ultimate Mindful Photography Course.

There’s 50% off the course price in September.

There’s a course tour coming next week! Stay tuned.

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