Shoot Better Photos by Avoiding These 7 Mistakes (VIDEO)

Among the most popular stories we post are those in which professional photographers recount mistakes they’ve made in the past, so you don’t make them in the future. And that’s exactly what you’ll find below, as Curtis Padley discusses seven shooting errors he wished he had avoided as his skills evolved.

Padley is both a photographer and filmmaker with an eclectic, cinematic approach to image making. If you follow his advice, you’re still bound to make mistakes, but at least they’ll be your own. And hopefully after you correct them you won’t make the same errors again.

When first starting out, most photographers’ images can be pretty bad. Padley admits, perhaps with a bit of false modesty, “mine were particularly horrific.” Of course all that changed dramatically once he learned the fundamentals of our craft and stopped making beginner mistakes.

Padley said one of his biggest mistakes in the early days was always shooting with his camera set to Auto or Program, and never experimenting with Manual mode. In his mind, that slowed his development because the camera did all the thinking for him. He then explains how taking control of the decision-making process can rapidly expand your vision—resulting in much better photographs.

In his formative years Padley always used the JPEG file format and regrets how long it took him to appreciate the benefits of shooting Raw. He says, “Now when I use a camera I want to be sure I’m getting everything I paid for,” and he describes how shooting Raw has improved both his shooting and editing abilities.

Other mistakes covered in the tutorial include an obsession with equipment, not learning how to edit images, avoiding experimentation with different lighting conditions, and an unpreparedness for spontaneity. So take a look and do things right.

You can find more helpful advice on Padley’s YouTube channel, and in another video we posted recently with common cropping mistakes that can spoil your photos.