Getting the Perfect Shot. Nine Common Photo Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” — Ernst Haas

Taking stunning photographs isn’t just for professional photographers with fancy cameras. Knowing the basics of taking a good photograph, such as the rule of thirds, can make massive improvements in your photos. By incorporating the following tips into your travel photos you can wow your friends with your creativity and newfound photographic superpowers.

Not Knowing Your Setting

I recently made this mistake in New York City. A friend and I wanted to see the charging bull statue with the little girl stopping it, however, we really had no idea where it was or how crowded it would be. Research your destination ahead of time and find out the least crowded times and the best times of day where lighting is concerned. If you want to take a unique shot of the Eiffel Tower and point your camera at the sky, midday might not be your best choice. In a nutshell, know where you’re going to take your “must have” pictures and know the best times and locations to do that.

Only Shooting From Eye Level

Most tourists only snap a photo of something interesting from a regular standing position. This will result in the standard tourist photo you’ve seen a million times. Challenge yourself with a new perspective of that iconic shot to spice up your creative photo.

Missing Sunrise and Sunset

I know. I know. It’s a vacation you don’t want to get up early. It’s worth it. Many places are at their most beautiful early in the morning and at dusk and those times are often the most colorful. Don’t miss out on these unique times of day that most new photographers miss.

Packing Too Much Gear

Always ask yourself this: “Do I want to haul all of this around for several hours a day in the *insert weather here*”. Most likely the answer is no. Again, do your research. Do you need that fancy zoom lens or will you be doing more portraits and macro shoots? Pick the equipment you are most comfortable with and know you will need. Everything else can be left at home, which makes you more creative in how you line up a shot.

Being Too Shy

Let’s say you’re at a festival and you see dancers in incredible costumes, but you are only getting mediocre action shots from a distance away. Most people are flattered that they are interesting enough for someone to warrant being asked for their photograph. The worst that can happen is they say no and you have to ask another person. Be brave!

Not Knowing Your Camera Well

If you’re going on a trip to see the Northern Lights make sure you know how to best set your camera and what gear you need before you need to make the shot. Nothing ruins the moment like Googling “how to set up my camera for…”

You’re Impatient

In SCUBA or underwater photography this is so pertinent. Many animals aren’t comfortable with a gigantic, awkward, loud blog floating around them at first. Who would be? Oftentimes, shots can take hours to line up and perfect. Not everyone has that time, but being patient enough to wait long enough to get something truly spectacular is always worth the wait.

Taking the Same Photos Everyone Else Already Has

Take a photo from a new angle, at a different time of day, or with an interesting subject added. Adding some pizzazz to your photos will have your friends and family thanking you and asking for your advice when it comes time for them to go on a trip

Not Telling A Story

I’m not saying that each and every photo should have an elaborate story behind it that inspires the world to solve world hunger, but that would be an added bonus. Look through the lease and ask yourself if you would find this interesting if you were a stranger. If the answer is no then switch something up like the angle or exposure to create a different ambiance.

Did you find these helpful? Which one are you going to try on your next trip? Feel free to send me any pictures and I would love to help with suggestions!



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