10 Things I Learnt from Daily Shooting

A Guest Post by David Powell from Shoot Tokyo


Here are a few lessons I have learnt from daily shooting… I hope you enjoy.

1. “Do or Do Not…. There is no Try”

A lot of people shoot daily as they are lucky enough to have a career in photography. Others embark on a 365 project while others just take photos all the time. I decided after I started ShootTokyo that I wanted to shoot daily as a way to try and rapidly improve my photography.

Shooting daily isn’t hard. It does require dedication, creatively and planning. It actually gets significantly easier with time as well. When I first started I would rack my brain for something interesting to photography but now you can put me just about anywhere for 10 minutes and I can find lots of ways to photograph it.

2. Bring your Camera Everywhere

To capture great images you need to have your camera with you. People always ask me where I find the time to shoot. Honestly I shoot whatever is in front of me where ever I am going. Most of the great shots you will take aren’t planned or set up. Events or situations unfold and you capture them.

Having my camera with me allowed me to capture the events of the March 11th Earthquake in Japan as I was experiencing it and share it with my family, friends and ultimately strangers worried about their loved ones in Tokyo.


Having a camera allowed me to capture this woman checking the news about the earthquakes while on a break.


3. Take Pictures of People

One of the most interesting pictures you can take is of people. I’ll let you in on a secret. Most people love having their photograph taken. Many photographers are very shy about asking people if they can take their photo so they end up trying to sneak a shot. This is just something you have to get over. While most people like having their photo taken, they also like to know it is happening. I have found that 9 out of 10 people will say sure and give you a big smile or pose of whatever you are looking for when asked. The approach I have taken that seems to work is being genuine and I simple ask ‘Do you mind if I take your photo?’. Often I will ask them to continue doing whatever they are doing and I take my shot. I also carry these business cards that I call ‘photography cards’ that I give people and let them know they can email me and I will happily send them a high resolution photo for their troubles. Probably 10% actually email me but giving them a card makes the interaction more ‘legitimate’ and puts people at ease.


I have learnt to not be shy about asking if I can take someone’s photo and I am so pleased with the results I can get now… Check out this hip chick at Shibuya’s Hachiko…


This beautiful girl passing through Shibuya Station…


and dogs…


4. The Less Gear you Carry the More Photos you take

This is a lesson I learnt the hard way after dragging excessive amounts of camera gear across Tokyo and when I was traveling. Typically I would leave the house with my Canon 5DMKII. I wanted to ensure I would catch any shot so I will make sure to bring a good assortment of lenses; 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 50mm, 135mm and maybe my 70-200mm. I would also have an assortment of filters, a flash or two and other odds and ends. At the end of the day, I spend all of my energy lugging gear around that I didn’t spend nearly as much time shooting. The reality is you can make great photographs with whatever gear you have granted you know how to use it.

Now more often than not, I leave the house with a single prime (fixed focal length) lens. This allows me to focus on taking pictures and bringing out my creativity to capture the shot I need with the only focal length I have. I carry the most minimal of accessories; extra card, extra battery, an ND filter and a cloth to wipe the lens. That’s it.

Do I miss some shots due to my limited gear? Sure, but what I missed is easily made up by all of the other shots I get.


5. Force Yourself to Shoot one Lens for a Week

A big part of making #4 work is knowing how to use your gear. I realized I would often carry multiple lenses as I didn’t know how to get a shot or the shot I wanted with the tools I had. I would feel like I was limited with a 50mm so I would want to make sure I had a 70-200mm if it was far away, and a 24-70mm in case I needed to zoom to capture what I needed, or maybe a 16-35mm in case I needed to capture it wide. I now shoot almost exclusively prime lenses. With my Leica M9 I shoot a 21mm f/1.4 Summilux, a 35mm f/1.4 Summilux and a 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux.


The reality is you can capture a great shot with probably any lens you have with you provided you understand how to use the gear you have. What I mean by this is what shots work for a given lens. What angle or distance do you need to be at for this particular focal length to give you the perspective you want. I was great at shooting my 50mm lens but I really struggle with my 35mm and had just purchased a 21mm and did not really understand how to get the most out of it. I forced myself into a lens rotation where I shot a single lens for a week. I’ll be honest, it was incredibly frustrating for me. At times I wanted to just switch to a different lens as it was impossible to get the shot I wanted or needed but after a few days it became much easier to get the shots I was looking for and soon I was able to pre-visualize the shots before I even lifted the camera to my eye. Now I can walk the streets at ease with any of my prime lens and come home with a card full of shots that I am happy with.




6. Develop a Personal Style

There is no right or wrong with photography. Some people love flashes. Others just shooting with their iPhones. Some love to photoshop their pictures for hours. Do what you love doing. One thing shooting daily has helped me to do is develop a personal style of shooting. When I first started I was always watching people and trying to see if I could shoot like ‘them’. This was helpful to get me to learn to use my gear but once you know how to use your camera, you need to develop a style that is yours. I don’t have a name for my style but I like a lot of selective focus and clean, natural pictures. I do next to no post processing on the photos. The most I will do is clean up any dust spots, crop a little, or adjust exposure but for me photoshop on my Mac is to correct little imperfections but not for making pictures.
I like to use very narrow depth of fields to tell my stories. There are no hard and fast rules to what you can and can’t do, should or shouldn’t do. Learn the basics and then decide how you choose to apply them.


I love to use a narrow depth of field and throw primary colors out of focus.


I’ve learnt to love photographing people once I got over the initial fear of asking people if I can take their photo.


I love combining shallow depth of field with lots of contrast like in this picture of ‘Dark Shibuya’…


7. Shoot out of Airplane Windows

I have never been one of those people who shoot out of airplane windows. I have flown probably close to 1,000,000 miles in my career and can’t believe all of the subjects I have missed; Alaska, Mt Fuji, the slums of Mumbai, Chicago skyline, arrivals in Boston. This is something that I started doing this year and I have been so pleased with the results.


8. Try new Things

Try different types of photography as you are trying to learn what it is you like. I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed photographing the moon, how easy it is and that I already had all of the things I needed. If you want to learn how to photograph the moon, read THIS. (link to: http://shoottokyo.com/photograph-moon/ )


I also developed a love for HDR. This is the only time I am using software to modify my images. HDR can easily be overdone so I need to be careful but I found I really enjoyed it. My inaugural post on Shoot Tokyo was on HDR. You can read it HERE.


Panning is a great way to bring motion and movement to your photos to make them come alive. If you don’t know how, read THIS.


9. Shoot at Night

I do the majority of my shooting at night. I am surprised how many people stop shooting when the sun goes down. What you need is a tripod, a low ISO and some practice. There is so much to photograph when the sun goes down.

Like light trails…


Evening construction sites…




10. Backup Everything

I can’t stress this point enough. I had a serious run of bad luck with Macs last winter and this spring. I actually had 5 complete hard drives failures on my Mac(s). Each time I was able to get Apple to do a complete replacement of my machine but it kept happening. They were never able to root cause the problem but I am running safe and sound on a Mac outfitted with Solid State Flash Drives. I am very paranoid by nature so I was fortunate enough not to lose a single photograph throughout these issues. This experience just reinforced what I already know; backup everything, often and to multiple locations. I have friends and know fellow photographers that have lost their hard drives without backup. I can’t imagine the feeling of losing all of my photos but I am do my best to ensure this never happens to me.


Currently I backup using Apple’s Time Machine to Western Digital drives connected with FireWire. I do this as I travel often and the backup drive comes with me. A lot of people stop backups while traveling is when you can run into an issue such as losing a drive, downloading a virus, or having a laptop stolen. When I pull the data off cards and onto my Mac it is backed up before I delete the data off of the cards. I also have several additional drives that I rotate copying my entire ‘pictures’ folder to once a month as an additional backup.

I hope you found this useful!

Dave Powell is a blogger and photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. He writes Shoot Tokyo photography blog. You can see more of his work at http://www.shoottokyo.com or follow him on Twitter and Google +.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

10 Things I Learnt from Daily Shooting

Taking Your Photography Outside of Your Comfort Zone

A contribution from Lori Peterson

New photographers sometimes jump in and photograph everything they can. They will photograph a wedding one-day and commercial real estate on another. It isn’t until later on that they realize the importance of finding their niche and concentrating on the things that fuel their art and their passion and still manage to pay their bills.

Life can bring you lessons you didn’t even know you needed to be taught. I have been present as a photographer in hospital situations and you have to expect the unexpected. Whether it’s shooting images at a birth or documenting a medical procedure for a family, you should always be prepared for things to change.

If you are planning on being a birth photographer, not only is it important for you to discuss expectations from your client, but you should also find out what the doctor and hospital will allow. Your client might want you to photograph parts of the delivery, but the hospital or doctor may have very strict rules about photography. Births aren’t always smooth, quick, and without drama. You might plan on being at a birth for a few hours, but if labor stalls, you might be there longer. Expect the unexpected.

If you are allowed to photograph the birth you should be mindful of the doctor, the nurses, and all the other hospital staff that need to be in the room to take care of your client and the baby. Your job is to document, not to be in the way.


If complications arise and there is a need to go to the OR for a cesarean, make sure that your client has discussed this possibility with the doctor. The doctor and the anesthesiologist have the final say so as to whether or not you can go back with your client. Be polite and respectful. If you can’t go back to the OR, make plans to photograph the baby as soon as possible so that your client can still have those early moments recorded.

If you are allowed back in the OR, ask the anesthesiologist about where you can shoot from. Don’t badger them with questions and chitchat. Don’t try shooting over the screen to get shots of the surgery itself.

Once the baby is born just remember to keep documenting those moments. Mom is missing out on some of those and Dad might need to be with her. Don’t forget to capture the interactions of the new baby when they bring him or her over to Mom for the first time.

Image 02

Learning to expect the unexpected has helped me when doing more photojournalism type shoots as well. Most recently I was hired to help a family document their six-year-old son’s Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery. Surgery time was pushed back a bit and then waiting time was also pushed back. There was a lot of waiting.

After his surgery he did a lot of sleeping. There was a lot of pacing and worrying from family members and from me as well. His parents just wanted to stick close by and be there in case he woke up. They talked to him, they held his hand and they waited.

Image 03

I shot images during his first time getting out of bed, his first time in physical therapy, and his first time crawling and standing after his surgery. Some of the moments when he was crying were so difficult for me, but I had to remind myself to keep documenting this for him and his parents to look back on. Lighting changed. People walked in. People walked out. He was awake. He slept. The situation changed routinely, but what was expected of me didn’t.


For some photographers shooting in a hospital setting might not be ideal, but I can tell you from personal experience that helping families to document their lives is one of the most rewarding types of photography you can do.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can bring you a new awareness of the world around you and remind you of how wonderful photography can be to document life events. It will physically and emotionally challenge you. You will have to learn to move fast. You will have to learn that sometimes the shot doesn’t have to be technically perfect to tell the story. It’s very different than portrait photography because you aren’t in control of everything. You have to learn to give up some of that control and trust your instincts. Capturing those moments are such a precious gift you are giving to your clients, and you will reap the rewards by adding to your skill-set for future endeavors.

Lori Peterson is an award winning photographer based out of the St. Louis Metro Area. Her dynamic work ranges from creative portraits to very unique fine art photography. Lori’s work can be seen at http://www.loripetersonphotography.com and also on her blog at http://www.loripetersonphotographyblog.com. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LoriPetersonPhotography.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Taking Your Photography Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Why Making Mistakes is Good for your Photography

A Guest Contribution by Draycat

It is said the longest journey starts with a single step. The unfortunate part of life is that sometimes that step will cause you to fall, or you may even find you are walking in the wrong direction. But such things are normal and natural in life, and these are often the experiences that we learn the most from. A baby will fall down many times as he/she learns to walk. The falling down is part of the process of learning to walk, and without it the baby will never learn.

It is the same for photography, from the first day you pick up a camera you will make mistakes.

  • You may spend a day shooting only to realise that your camera was on the wrong setting and instead of shooting full size RAW you’ve been shooting the smallest size jpg
  • you may leave the house with all your equipment prepared only to take the first shot and realise that you forgot to put a memory card in the camera (and find the nearest place to buy one is miles away)
  • you may take lots and lots of pictures which look good in the camera’s LCD, only to find they are all soft when you see them on your computer screen – you didn’t realise at the time because you didn’t zoom in and check on the camera’s LCD.

These are just a few of the mistakes that I have made since I’ve been shooting, and after each one I generally felt foolish and sometimes demoralised. I felt like my photographic journey had taken me no where while everyone else flew past me with their great camera skills.

But if you speak to any of the great photographers in world, present or past, they will smile and tell you that they made exactly the same mistakes, and many more besides.

They will tell you that they often learned more from their mistakes than from their successes. Often when we make mistakes we are too hard on ourselves, and beat ourselves up about how stupid we were, or how foolish we feel. This photographer or that photographer would never do such a thing, but the fact is that we all do.

The truth is that it isn’t about the mistakes you make, but rather about how you deal with those mistakes.

If you look at them and work out how they happened, what you did wrong, or what you forgot to do then it becomes a learning experience – something that will ultimately help you to be a better photographer. In a shoot I once wanted a little motion blur in a dance section.

I shot at 1/15 of a second, and on my small LCD camera screen the images looked ok. When I got home and put them on my main monitor, they were all a little too blurred. The next time I shot in a similar situation I set my camera to 1/25 of a second and made sure I got what I wanted by zooming in on the LCD on the camera, and I got exactly what I wanted. It was a learning curve and now in that situation I know exactly what to do or rather what not to do.

On the other hand, if you make a mistake and beat yourself up about it constantly it becomes something negative. It will create fear and actually stop you from moving forward. When you encounter a similar situation instead of going in there with a good idea of what not to do, you will instead do everything possible to avoid the situation altogether. Can you imagine a baby thinking ‘this walking stuff is just too difficult and falling down is painful. Who needs walking anyway, crawling is perfectly good enough. I’ll just stick to this crawling stuff in future.’

Being a good photographer is as much about learning what not to do as it is learning what to do.

Without making mistakes we could never become well rounded photographers, so the next time you make one when you shoot and you feel frustrated, walk around for a while and think about learning to walk. Then, get up, work out what you did wrong and then go and try it again.

Draycat is British photographer, teacher and writer currently based in Tokyo, Japan. See more from him at his Website on Twitter on Facebook and on Youtube.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Why Making Mistakes is Good for your Photography

Become a Better Photographer By Asking One Simple Question

A Guest Post By: John Davenport

Let’s be honest whether it is coming up with portrait posing ideas, photographing the stars, or avoiding danger in the field we all have a common goal here – gain more knowledge and put it to use in our photography – but there comes a time when we must be our own teachers.
We must venture out away from the tutorials, the guidebooks and those YouTube videos to simply do something for ourselves, without fear, and without guidance. Just with the knowledge that we already have in our heads. My friend, that is what this question is all about.

What Happens When I Do This?

Image One.jpg

If I had not tried something different, something out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have been able to capture this photograph. I was attempting to create an HDR composite, but I wanted to see if I could create one with me in the frame. I’d never done this, I hadn’t even attempted it, so I just set my camera up to capture the brackets, put it on a timer, and walked into where I thought would be a good place to stand. However, while the camera was still taking the shots, I left the scene before the shutter had closed for the final time, and thus – a ghostly figure.

Image Two.jpg

Another example is this photograph of the night sky. It actually consists of four separate landscape orientated images stitched together to create a vertical panorama with a fisheye like effect to boot. I talk in a bit more detail about how I created this vertical panoramic image on my own site, but if you’re listening to the message of this post, you probably shouldn’t have clicked on that link .

It Takes Courage

Tutorials and guides make life easy. Follow the steps and you’ve got a great photograph, but is it original?
It takes courage to be able to do this style of learning and even more so to share your photographs with the world. You have to accept the fact that you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to feel like you’ve wasted some time, and you’re going to have people tell you that you’ve done it all wrong, but to that I say all this is part of a good learning process.

Don’t Stop With Taking the Photo

Apply this no-holds-bars-experimentation-attitude to all aspects of photography and yes, maybe even to life as well.

Whether you’re using Instagram or Photoshop to edit your photographs asking, what happens if I do this?, is key to creating something different. Sure there’s a lot more to experiment with in the latter, but if you’re always using the same filter and the same blur effect in Instagram are you really learning anything?

What Do You Think?

Is it more important to get out in the field and forget the books once you’ve got the basic knowledge or should you stay up-to-date with all the knowledge that’s being shared on the web every-single-day and miss the possible shot of a lifetime?

John Davenport is an enthusiastic amateur photographer and blogger who shares daily photos on his site Phogropathy. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Become a Better Photographer By Asking One Simple Question

5 Quick Tips for Coastal Photography

There’s nothing like a great coastline to get me excited about photography. Whether it be unmarked sand dunes, sea grasses blowing in the sea breeze, rugged outcrops of rocks and cliff faces or a beach scene complete with all the color of families on their day at the beach – coasts can present photographers with some great opportunities.

Here’s 5 tips for your next coastal photography outing!

1. Look for Reflections

Image by midlander1231

Any time you’re shooting around bodies of water you should be aware of the potential for enhancing your image with reflections. This is particularly relevant when shooting at sunrise or sunset where your images can be brightened and have interest added to them by reflecting those pretty pinks and oranges in the water before you.

2. Focus in on Details

Image by Max xx

What often grabs your attention most on coastal shoots is the grandeur of the landscape – so it’s easy to overlook what might be at your feet as you’re lining up your shot. The coast is full of smaller opportunities for amazing shots – whether it be sea shells on the waters edge, the footprints of an animal in the sand, small wild flowers growing in the dunes or patterns in rock formations. Take the time to look around you at the detail of what surrounds you. Oh… and don’t forget your macro lens!

3. Add Foreground Interest

Image by Kyle Kruchok

When shooting seascape shots its very easy to end up with images that contain few focal points of interest (ie: shots that are half sky and half sand). One way to add interest to these shots is to look for opportunities in the foreground of your shots. If you’re able to place something interesting in the foreground (perhaps some interesting rock pools) you’ll lead the eye into the image. When doing this test shooting from different heights – sometimes getting down quite low and will add more interest to the shot while sometimes a higher vantaage point might work better. Also remember that if you want the foreground and background to be in focus that you’ll want to shoot with small aperture (high f numbers).

4. Slow things Down

Image by Matthew Stewart

Another way to add interest and atmosphere to seascape shots is to slow your shutter speed down so that blur any part of the image that is moving. In this way you might get a misty looking sea that captures the movement of waves or a furry carpet of swaying sea grasses. Of course to do this you’ll want to shoot with a tripod to make sure your camera is perfectly still.

5. Horizons

Image by Garry

Two last tips when it comes to horizons. Firstly – make sure they’re horizontal with the framing of your image. There’s nothing like a horizon that slopes unnaturally down at one edge of the frame to make those looking at your shot a little sea sick. If you’re going to break this ‘rule’ – break it well and make it an obviously intentional thing. Secondly – the convention is to avoid placing your horizon in the middle of your frame but rather to position it nearer one of the thirdway points (depending upon whether there’s more interest in the sky or foreground of the shot). Of course ‘rules’ are made to be broken but for balanced shots keep these in mind.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

5 Quick Tips for Coastal Photography

12 Photography Tutorials for Thanksgiving

Image by Darwin Bell

Happy Thanksgivig to the many thousands of our US readers celebrating that holiday today!

As today’s one of those days when cameras come out a lot to photograph gatherings, the food being eaten and to capture the memories of the day – I thought I’d put together a few tutorials that might be helpful. Enjoy!

  • 8 Tips on Taking Party Photographs
  • Holiday Food Images and Thought to go With ‘em
  • 11 Great Camera Angles for Food Photography
  • 10 Tips for Mouth Watering Food Photography
  • 10 More Food Photography Tips
  • Food Photography – an Introduction
  • 16 Digital Photography Tips for Christmas (while it’s not Christmas yes – much of it applies to both holidays)
  • 10 Tips to Improve Your Food Photography Styling
  • How to Take Great Group Photos
  • 6 Keys to Shooting Great Group Photos
  • 8 Family Portrait Tips
  • 10 Tips to Take Great Family Portraits

Lastly – thanks to all of you as readers of dPS. We value your participation, support and encouragement – Happy Thanksgiving!

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

12 Photography Tutorials for Thanksgiving

Are You Making these 5 Common Mistakes with Your Photography

A clever person learns from their mistakes. A wiser person learns from the mistakes others make. This article will identify the most common photography mistakes for you. It’s based on hundreds of hours teaching beginners through to professionals; do you still do any of these? I’m assuming you understand the essentials of photography; grab your copy of Photography: The Few Things You Need To Know if anything’s unclear.

Photo1 0715

1. Giving Up Too Early

So many people do this. They’ve invested in an amazing camera, they’ve studied the essential techniques and then they’ve travelled to a great location; but as soon as they’re a little bit tired, hungry or bored – off they go. Even more common is not exploring the scene enough, perhaps assuming that the first photo will be the best. Experience says you’ll get better photos by taking the time to find all of the perspectives that the scene has to offer.

On my workshops, I’m always the last person out photographing before meeting up with the others in the bar. The best light isn’t necessarily before the sun goes down! When you consider that there are billions of photographs on Facebook alone, it’s wise to do a little bit more to ensure your photos stand out from the crowd. If taking a certain photograph is inconvenient and a little stressful, you can be sure a lot of photographers would give up. Keep going a little bit longer than them and you’ll be rewarded with better photographs.

2. Using a Wide-Angle Lens for Portraits

When you turn on a compact camera, the lens will be at its widest setting. A dSLR lens is generally at its widest when it’s contracted to fit in your bag. A wide-angle is therefore normally a default setting for most photographers. But for portraits, its distorting effect can be incredibly unflattering, especially if you’re very close. To avoid creating a caricature of your subject (and ensure they enjoy being photographed!) zoom in to the telephoto end of your lens. This will flatten the perspective, making for much more attractive portraits. If your compact camera has a digital zoom (a little line when you’re zooming in), turn it off as it only reduces image quality.


3. Getting Shaky, Motion-Blurred Photos

This is one we’re probably all guilty of at times; I certainly am! At slow shutter speeds such as 1/8th and even 1/80th second, the camera will show any camera movement in the photos. Beginners don’t realise, and professionals often assume they’ll be okay and don’t want to raise the ISO. Unless it’s deliberate, camera shake can be distracting, and many competitions and magazines won’t use motion blurred pictures.

The main way to get sharp photos is to keep the camera still, and one of the best methods is to use a tripod. But you don’t want to carry one of these, nor maybe even invest the money necessary to get a decent one. That’s fine. Modern lenses often have technology to reduce camera shake and modern cameras are very good at high ISO sensitivities (so you can use faster shutter speeds). To avoid this common mistake, ensure you’re as still as possible for the split second when you take the picture. Don’t be afraid to use a higher ISO sensitivity if your shutter speed is too slow. And try and find some sort of support to help keep the camera still.


4. Photographing Buildings From Too Close

To get it in, you point the camera up. This causes the vertical lines of the buildings to converge; to appear to slope inwards in the photo. This is made more obvious when you use a wide-angle lens; which will probably be necessary if the building is big and you’re right next to it. Ideally, you want the parallel lines in architecture to be parallel in your photographs. How can you achieve this? In theory, you need to be in line with the centre of the building. This is fully explained by the Pyramid Technique I teach on my courses.

This normally puts the ideal camera position way above our heads. And unless there’s a convenient window opposite our building at the right height for us to use, we’ll have to compromise. Minimise the angle at which you photograph the building by getting back as far as possible. To minimise distortion, use a longer telephoto lens from further away instead of a wide-angle lens up close. Often trees and lampposts will get in the way, so use common sense and get back as far as possible without including too many distractions in the final photograph.


5. No Clear Subject in the Photo

Last but definitely not least, the majority of photographs will never be award-winning because it’s either not obvious what the photographer is showing us, or because there are too many distractions from the main subject. This common tendency is due to the difference between how we see the world and how the camera captures it. Specifically, we generalise what we see, highlight what’s important to us and ignore what’s not. I covered this in my article on DPS, Benefit From How You See The World. There are several fixes you can try to help overcome this. The main one, and probably the most famous, is just to get closer. Often, people want to capture the whole scene so use the widest possible lens from far away. But this makes the subject seem small, and because the images are probably only going to be seen a few inches high on a screen, a lot of impact is lost. Likewise, photographing people and animals often prompts a fear of getting too close. Do it anyway; get closer. Also, experiment with ways to make your subject stand out using colour and lighting ratios. Check for distractions in your background. And make sure you know what you’re photographing!


That’s it! These are the five most common mistakes that photographers make. Check to see which ones you’ve been doing without knowing it. Ask a friend if you want a second opinion. Hopefully my ‘hard and fast rules’ will prove useful. As always, take them as guidelines only; ultimately only you can know if you’re happy with the photograph or not. And in case you haven’t already done so, remember to get your copy of my book Photography: The Few Things You Need To Know, priced for less than an espresso HERE NOW to ensure you get the most value from these articles. If you’re already enjoying your copy, tell your friends where to get it – http://www.GreatBigBear.com

Ben Evans is an English Photographer in Barcelona who works internationally. Ben teaches photography classes in Barcelona and keeps a photoblog of ‘fine art street’ photos of Barcelona at http://www.i-Barcelona.com.
Ben is the author of best-selling book, Photography: The Few Things You Need To Know, available now at http://www.GreatBigBear.com. He is working on two photography teaching projects, Better Than 90 Percent and Holistic Photography.

He shoots Nikon, Hasselblad, Apple (iPad 3) and those little throwaway waterproof film cameras with the plastic lenses.

Post originally from: Digital Photography Tips.

Check out our more Photography Tips at Photography Tips for Beginners, Portrait Photography Tips and Wedding Photography Tips.

Are You Making these 5 Common Mistakes with Your Photography