Common mistakes photograpy newbies make.

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Garry Freemyer, Aug 20, 2005.

  1. Confession they say is good for the soul, but it's also good to talk about.
    I might save someone my rather silly boo boo, and I might learn some
    mistakes I might currently be making.

    I was having difficulty with subjects such as snakes. The middle would be in
    focus but not the head and tail. The depth of focus was far too shallow.

    This became quite a problem when trying to do macro photography with
    crystals. Only part of the crystal was in focus.

    Here is my boo boo. I read that a smaller aperture would increase the depth
    of focus, so I naturally assumed that a lower F number meant a smaller
    aperture when the opposite was true. The BIGGER the F value, the SMALLER the

    I know I'll get the luddites that will tell me to read the manual, but I
    did, over and over, this operation of error on my part became such a
    pernicious problem, that I kept reading it as I expected it to say instead
    of what it said, and as in many things similar, I find that trying to notice
    I'm goofing up, is kind of like trying to notice I'm unconscious.

    A few others ...

    2. Getting too small a bag. It seems a new one like me, has no idea how much
    accessories can build up.

    3. Keep it in one place, few things are as irritating as going on a long
    trip, paying for a camping spot only to have to leave to go buy a tripod.

    4. Shoulder mounted packs are nice, but they have a nasty habit of swinging
    around and getting in the way and when walking along a rocky riverbank, this
    swinging can cause a nasty fall. Smashing one's teeth against a boulder kind
    of spoils the mood. Same thing, if you fall and damage the camera. Pads
    designed to prevent this swinging, do not work at all. I wish I had gotten a

    3. Never lift a camera by the lens and make sure to hold onto the strap.
    That lens release button is easy to hit with clumsy fingers.

    4. Always bring lens cleaner. Finger tips are attracted to lenses and hurl
    themselves at the lens with incredible speed without conscious volition.

    5. Canned air is a necessity. Nothing collects more dust faster than a
    vacuum cleaner than the inside of a camera case. I think it's static
    electricity from the plastic.

    Well, how bout you folks? What common mistakes have you had to learn from
    when you first began?
    Garry Freemyer, Aug 20, 2005
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  2. Garry Freemyer


    Hey garry,

    Funny you broought this up as there was a bit of discussion on this very
    subject last week
    Here's one, I have a few Canon EOS bodies but I allways take my Vivitar
    3800N with a wide angle lens attached when I go on a Nature shoot. The
    vivitar is 100% manual. I allways forget to set the ISO when changing
    films. Then I'll figure it out half way through the roll. Then comes the
    decision to leave it and keep shooting and push or pull the film in
    proccessing or to restet the camera and make the best of what remains in the
    DBLEXPOSURE, Aug 21, 2005
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  3. Garry Freemyer

    Richard H. Guest


    I think photography is one of those subjects that one must learn
    incrementally, through trial and error (mostly error). There are just a
    lot of little details that don't "stick" without being burned by them.
    E.g., when the photo looks stellar, except for the telephone pole
    sticking out of the bride's head...

    Digital is great for trial & error (quick feedback). Maybe too easy; it
    lacks the trauma of a real screw-up.

    Lowepro (and probably others) make a nice belt-pack style.

    Why so? (As long as you don't grab the telecoping end, yanking the zoom
    out 'till it strikes the stop.)
    Around the neck or over the shoulder, but never loose in the hand.

    As Pat says, wrong ISO. Newer cameras read the code off the canister,
    which was a welcome change.

    Not noticing the EV got set to +3 stops.

    Noticing the camera was sluggish, trusting the battery gauge, and not
    having a spare. (I've since switched to an add-on grip that uses AA's,
    both to gain the larger grip and the cheaper, longer-lasting batteries.)

    Not bringing a 2nd lens. But of course, if you bring it, you won't need it.

    Not bringing a tripod. Sometimes even a 4" mini would save the shot.

    Taking the tripod, but overlooking the missing quick-release mount (that
    naturally was still screwed to a camera left at the house).

    Shooting up through an evergreen tree, with the sun in the frame. The
    sunlight was so intense that it bled into the two adjacent frames.

    Not properly archiving the 360-degree series I took atop the World Trade
    Center a decade ago. :-(

    Richard H., Aug 21, 2005
  4. Garry Freemyer

    Canongirly Guest

    man most people would use a needle
    Canongirly, Aug 21, 2005
  5. Garry Freemyer

    Richard H. Guest

    :) ROFL! Well, I usually go for the Industrial Strength versions...

    "Words, once spoken, have a life of their own." And often not the one
    you intended. :)
    Richard H., Aug 21, 2005
  6. Garry Freemyer

    PcB Guest

    LOL - funniest thing I have read in ages.

    And back on topic, one of the best things I think I learned (rather than
    mistakes I made, there are simply too many of them and they just go on and
    on) is to switch the camera off in Program or full auto mode. Makes those
    grab shots more achievable.

    Paul ============}
    o o

    // Live fast, die old //
    PaulsPages and galleries are at
    PcB, Aug 21, 2005
  7. Garry Freemyer

    Mike Kohary Guest

    Argh...who here has not done this one? Now I have two - the one I
    normally use, and a spare that always, always, always stays in my bag
    (except when I need to take it out because I forgot the original at
    Mike Kohary, Aug 22, 2005
  8. Garry Freemyer

    Beach Bum Guest

    4. Always bring lens cleaner. Finger tips are attracted to lenses and hurl
    Keep children away from your camera. Best accomplished by buying them their
    own very real, decent camera so that they learn to respect and use the
    equipment early. It is also very interesting to see the world through their
    eyes. :)
    Beach Bum, Aug 22, 2005
  9. Garry Freemyer

    Beach Bum Guest

    5. Canned air is a necessity. Nothing collects more dust faster than a
    It might be good to spray the insides with anti-static spray from time to
    time. Be sure to remove the equipment first. :)
    I never make mistakes. I thought I made one once, but I was mistaken. <g>

    A couple I've made along the way include:

    1. Taking a camera from AC to warm, moist Florida air. Wondered later why
    fungus was in the lens. Well I'm a certain kind of idiot for sure.

    2. Forgetting to scan the entire frame, especially edges, for distractions
    like power lines or other none pleasing elements.

    3. Put some photos I took for a client in a special place during my recent
    move so that these would not get lost. I still can't find them. Client
    wants to know when the prints will be ready. Ugh.. Of course I found and
    unpacked ALL my other photos and negatives within a week of moving. See, I
    really AM a certain kind of idiot.

    4. Shot an entire day without film in the camera. Couldn't figure out why
    the roll wouldn't end. Finally got the courage to open the thing up. I'm
    sure the best photos I ever took were on that ghost roll. <g>

    5. Left batteries in my flash for 2 months during a time when it wasn't used
    at all. Acid was fun to clean out. Fortunately the $300 flash still works.

    6. Shot several flash photos on manual at the wrong synch speed - rule 1:
    always check the camera settings before shooting.

    7. Entered a photography contest with a year of picking up photography
    again. Big mistake. I was so discouraged that I didn't shoot for 3 months
    afterwards. It's not that I expected to win - I didn't - but the judges
    were such elitist snobs. They bashed everything digital, everything in
    color, everything not hand printed, everything original... just really
    pissed me off. The overall winner was a 5x7 photo of a banyan tree.
    Frankly you couldn't get much more unoriginal than that in Florida without
    shooting a palm tree sunset. GRRR! :(

    Advice to Newbies:

    Don't listen to criticism - don't show your work to people who are likely to
    criticize it. Sure, you want to get better and you will - even without
    being bashed by assholes. Just shoot and shoot and read and read. You'll
    get it. Once you're confident in what you're doing - then seek criticism.
    Beach Bum, Aug 22, 2005
  10. Garry Freemyer


    When changing film, if you notice dust inside the camera do not blow it out
    with your mouth. But if you must, make sure a spit a few times first some
    you don't spit in your camera...
    DBLEXPOSURE, Aug 22, 2005
  11. Garry Freemyer

    Richard H. Guest

    So very true. Digital has been great for this - I don't care how many
    pictures they take. And by all means, teach them to download their own
    stuff into the PC. It keeps them shooting. :)

    Kids don't shoot for art or composition; they shoot to capture things
    they think are "neat". Their photos give a view into their world that
    you might not get otherwise. _Well_ worth archiving, regardless of quality.

    Richard H., Aug 23, 2005
  12. Per Garry Freemyer:
    Spend almost two years shooting/developing/mounting my own slides when stationed
    at Hickam AFB in Hawaii.

    Listened to the first shirt who demanded that we store all our stuff in a
    special "storage room".

    Get my discharge papers, went to the storage room to ret rive my hundreds upon
    hundreds of slides. Found out somebody else thought they needed them more than
    I did.
    (PeteCresswell), Aug 23, 2005
  13. Garry Freemyer

    Beach Bum Guest

    So very true. Digital has been great for this - I don't care how many
    My girlfriend's mom said they used to hide the film to try to get her to
    slow down. She still takes photos like mad. So I bought her a 2 gig CF
    card. I still have to keep her away from the film camera as she soots like
    film is free. :)

    Beach Bum, Aug 23, 2005
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