Photography is an appealing hobby because there’s no barrier to entry; you can just grab a camera and hit the pavement. That also means budding photographers who are just learning as they go often make the same mistakes. Here are three such mistakes common to inexperienced photographers.
First, as this video from the team at Mango Street Lab demonstrates, many photographers over-expose highlights because they set their exposure to broadly match a scene. And, depending on the specific photo you’re trying to capture, that might be fine! But if you’re indoors, for example, that means a bright window will be blown out. Instead, you can expose for the highlights so you don’t lose the details outside that bright window and then brighten the rest of the photo in post-processing. (You will run the risk of noise in your photos if you try to push them too much in post, though.)
Their next tip deals with directing your subjects. Instead of having people do stale, predictable poses, give them an actual direction. Tell them to try to convey an emotion or if you’re shooting a couple have them do something that will elicit a reaction that reflects their relationship.
Finally, don’t forget how much timing and location can affect the light in your photos. The so-called “golden hour” is always a good choice for great lighting, but even a harsh midday’s sun can work if you just explore a little and take your camera into the shadows. Or you can take advantage of the high-contrast juxtaposition. It all comes down to making intentional decisions to best utilize your location, light sources, and subjects.