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Trying your hand at photography for the first time can be tricky to navigate. There’s a continuous learning curve that goes up and down no matter your skill level. So running into mistakes is just part of the process. 

Nonetheless, knowing the common mistakes beginners often make can save you some major headaches down the road. From compositional mistakes to hiccups in your camera settings. Avoiding the usual pitfalls in photography won’t necessarily boost your skill. But it can certainly enhance your experience as you learn the ropes on how to capture your vision in the right light. So here are some rookie mistakes to avoid in photography.

rookie mistakes to avoid in photography

The Missed Focus 

There’s nothing more frustrating than taking a photograph and finding the focus on the background rather than the subject. This can happen when you’re using the autofocus setting on your camera. Wherein an AI chooses the focal points for you. Other times, manually adjusting the focus can also be a challenge, especially in scenarios with a shallow depth of field. 

With that in mind, you can easily nail your focus in the field by adjusting the central point on your subject’s eyes. You can do this manually, or use your camera’s spot autofocus mode so you can easily move your focus point. 

missed focus in photography

Relying on Your Camera’s Automatic Mode 

There’s nothing wrong with using your camera’s automatic mode, especially when you’re in a pinch and need to point-and-shoot. But the best way to ramp up your skill as a quick-thinking photographer is to learn how to use your camera manually. 

Modern cameras are intelligent. But your eyes will have a better judgment on the right balance between the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to create a crisp and visually dynamic image. 

mistakes to avoid in photography

Experimenting with Confusing Composition 

Seasoned photographers have the confidence to break the rule of thirds and play around with overzealous compositions. This is because they understand the fundamentals well enough to find their style. 

As a beginner, it’s best to hone the basics of composition first before experimenting with different arrangements, angles, and framing. Or else it can turn into a mish-mash of elements that result in a confusing photo. To that end, following the rule of thirds is often the cornerstone for all budding photographers. 

photography mistakes to avoid

Failing to Consider the Different Effects of Light 

The secret to powerful images largely relies on good lighting. You don’t need to invest in expensive lighting equipment to get compelling shots. Understanding how lighting changes throughout the day and its effect on your photos can make a world of difference in shooting subjects when it isn’t the well-known ‘golden hour.’ 

light in photography

Conclusion: Avoiding Common Mistakes in Photography 

With plenty of visually interesting moments in the world, it’s easy to get caught up and snap away without giving much consideration to the lighting, composition, camera settings, and more. 

A lack of awareness in your surroundings and camera will only limit your ability. So understanding how to adjust your perspective according to the time, place, and set-up can help unlock your potential as a budding photographer.


Kav Dadfar is a travel photographer and author of over 400 articles on photography. He has years of experience shooting assignments and his images having been used by some of the biggest brands in the world.


This Rookie Mistakes to Avoid in Photography article and images are subject to copyright. Words and photos by Kav Dadfar (That Wild Idea). Copying or reposting of photos or article elsewhere is strictly forbidden. Please contact us if you would like to use this feature on your website.

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