Digital Camera Mistakes that Lead to Disappointing Pictures

You may have the best digital camera money can buy, but simple mistakes can often lead to disappointing results. Many people upgrading to a digital SLR camera (DSLR) for the first time find that their results don’t live up to expectations, and this is commonly due to basic errors.

Having the best digital camera doesn’t mean that your pictures will be up to the standards of a professional photographer. Understanding the common mistakes most photographers make is a great way of improving your pictures.

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mistake #1: Not Learning All the Functions of a Camera

It is essential that you take the time to read the instruction manual for your camera if you want to get the best results from it. If you take away nothing else from this article, please just understand this first point.

I completely understand that the temptation is to take it out of the box and start shooting right away; but you’ll miss out on important functions if you do this.

Some camera manufacturers offer member websites and forums to help you learn all about your camera, and it’s well worth looking for these. There may be a Facebook group you can also learn from for your specific camera. For example, there are several for Canon users:

Technology in cameras is improving all the time, and every new model offers additional tools and functions to help you take better pictures. (Which is not to say that you have to have the best technology to make a great picture… I’m simply stressing the point that you need to learn the functions of the camera in your hands).

MISTAKE #2: always shooting in automatic mode

The best digital cameras can produce fantastic results in automatic mode, but you lose creative control unless you understand what settings are being selected.

The best way to learn how functions (like aperture settings) influence the look of a picture is to switch to manual mode and experiment.

It can also teach you a lot about photography if you shoot some pictures using manual focus mode.

Taking control of your camera is a great way of giving your pictures a more unique look.

Your First Steps to Using Manual Mode on Your Camera

Read more about Manual Mode: Your First Steps To Using Manual on Your Camera

MISTAKE #3: Buying too much gear

Some people think that buying more cameras and equipment is the path to better pictures, but this often just leads to further frustration.

Having to make choices about the camera and lens to use for each shot can be a barrier to a photographer. As you dig around in your equipment bag and swap lenses there’s a risk of missing the moment.

Filters, additional lenses and other equipment give you greater flexibility, but concentrating on the basics of photography often leads to more satisfying results.

On days I want to feel more creatively charged or challenge myself, I specifically only bring one lens with me so I don’t have too many choices. This is of course moreso when I don’t have a complete vision of what I’m looking to capture, not when I’m shooting real estate photography and need a wide angle lens.

See my favorite lenses here: Camera Lenses that Won’t Disappoint

MISTAKE #4: shooting the same subject all the time

Each style of photography can teach you new techniques and approaches to the art.

For example, you must be able to anticipate the right moment to press the shutter for sports and action photography. Landscape photography can help a photographer improve their composition skills.

By experimenting with a range of subjects you will see constant improvements in your pictures.

Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone is often the path to the shots you really want to produce.

MISTAKE #5: Relying on a zoom lens for every shot

Zoom lenses offer great flexibility to the photographer, and they allow you to fill the frame and create impact in pictures.

However, the same results can be achieved by moving closer to your subject.

Prime lenses generally produce much sharper pictures than zooms, and they offer wider aperture settings. One of the major advantages of a digital SLR camera is the ability to change lenses, so don’t get into the habit of relying on a zoom lens all the time.

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