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Photography, like any art form, is one long experience of learning from your mistakes, stumbling upon new things, often by accident, studying and gradually becoming more and more proficient until you reach the pinnacle of your potential.
Some mistakes though are easier to cheerfully learn from than others though! Leaving your camera on the window sill and coming back later to discover that it’s been raining and your camera is wrecked is not a lesson that will be fun to learn from! Other lessons are easier to learn from though, like when you accidentally find the perfect settings on your camera and the photo comes out absolutely perfectly! Make a note of the settings and you can happily say to yourself, ‘I’ve learnt something new today!’
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5 Things not to do as a Photographer.
- Do not clean your camera lens with the wrong material. This may sound like an obvious thing but you’d be surprised at exactly how many photographers have ruined an extremely expensive lens by cleaning it with the wrong type of cloth. If you clean the lens with the wrong material you can scratch the front of it and even remove the fragile coating that is essential for the lens to work correctly! Cleaning the lens too hard can also damage it. A camera lens can be a very costly bit of kit and although it’s worth every penny of the investment you do have to take good care of them to get the most from your investment. If you look after the lens well it can last you a lifetime! The best way to clean your lens is to use a microfiber cloth which will remove the fingerprints, dirt and dust that can build up on the lens. You don’t need to use any solutions and the results will be good every time. You can also use the microfiber cloth to safely clean the LCD screen as well.
- Use the Camera’s Strap! If you drop your camera the results can be tragic! Always use the strap when you are taking photos or moving around with your camera. One simple slip can cost your thousands of dollars if your camera doesn’t survive the fall and so consider the camera strap as the cheapest insurance policy you’ll ever invest in! There are a wide range of camera straps that you can choose from which range from the basic round the neck or over the shoulder straps right up to holsters and body straps that can hold two cameras at once.
- Always replace the lens cap when you are not using the camera! This might sound like a small thing but if you scratch the lens it can be a very costly mistake. As with all things in photography and when you’re dealing with expensive equipment in general, getting into good habits will serve you well in life! If you do lose the lens cap then make sure you buy a replacement as soon as you can.
- Don’t expose the camera’s sensor to the light when you are changing the lens. If you expose the camera’s sensor to strong sources of light while you are changing the lens you can run the risk of damaging it. This should not be a problem if you are sitting in a room with normal lighting but as a general rule try to avoid exposing it to strong lights.
- Never publish your photography online without covering the legal bases of copyrighting your work. If your photography is not copyrighted in your name then you could find other people using it without your permission. You can pay agencies to copyright the images for you or else you can use an app that puts a watermark on the photos so that in order for someone to use it you first have to release them it to them directly giving you control over your operations.
Practical Tips and Things To Avoid Doing as a Photographer.
There’s a lot to learn about photography, particularly when you are starting out and although most of the major mistakes are the kind you will only make once in your life, such as a ruining an expensive lens by using the wrong material to clean it, other mistakes are more about your mindset and can be avoided all together with the right advice in advance!
- Don’t leave your camera at home! You never know when you’re going to run across the perfect photo opportunity and the truth is the only way you can avoid the massive feelings of frustration if you miss a once in a lifetime shot is to have your camera with you! Even if you just bring your camera phone with you at least you have that as a backup or Plan B option. However, as a photographer, you should really be taking your camera with you whenever you go out! I don’t go anywhere in Philadelphia without my camera!
- Don’t try to take photos of everything when you are out! If you’re in a spot of special natural beauty, at an event or out with friends, try to avoid the temptation of taking photos of absolutely everything! Pick your moments and wait for the best composition, lighting and scenery. One superb photo is worth more than a hundred mediocre pictures! Practicing restraint with your photography will also help to train you to spot those perfect opportunities when they do arise.
- Don’t share your problems with clients! Although it can be tempting to share any problems you are having with your clients it more often than not comes across as if you are making excuses. If you are filling in your clients about all the technical issues you might be having they are unlikely to understand the finer details of what you are saying but they might also think that you are unprofessional which could harm your long term reputation as a photographer.
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Learning the Dos and Don’ts of Photography will take time.
Of course nobody can be expected to know everything from day one! Be kind to yourself as you learn and try not to be disheartened if you do make mistakes but also make sure that you learn from them.
There are great resources to help you avoid major mistakes and plenty of articles, books and tuition videos you can engage with to fast track your personal growth in photography. Keep having fun with your photography though and accept that accidents, mistakes and problems will be part of your development process although if you stay positive you can take advantage of them to supercharge your learning curve.
Do you carry your camera everywhere with you like me?
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