Common Photo Mistakes You Don’t Realize You’re Making (and How to Fix Them) || The Authentic Portrait

So, you’ve done a little research and bought a nice camera. Go you! And yet, for some reason, your photos aren’t coming out at all like you’d hoped.

Here are 10 common mistakes you probably don’t release you’re making:

 

1. You’re using the wrong ISO. Keep it as low as possible, that way you’ll avoid noise (which that does NOT look pretty!). - don't know what ISO is? Head over to my post on this HERE.

 1/640 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/640 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

2. Your photographs are not sharp enough, despite the autofocus. It's possible that your shutter speed isn’t fast enough. From 1/100 +  should give you a sharp result. If you’re photographing a portrait, focus on the eyes. - Don't know what shutter speed is? Head to my post on this HERE.

3. Your framing is bad. It’s important to create something interesting for the eye, to have the urge to keep looking at the picture. If you want to avoid the boring straight-on picture, look at it from different angles! (for more about framing click HERE)

 TRY INTERESTING ANGLES - 1/1000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

TRY INTERESTING ANGLES - 1/1000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

4. You crop, a lot. Instead of cropping after taking your photos, use your body to move in closer to your subject, it'll create a better shot in-camera without you having to do any work afterwards.

5. Underexposing or overexposing (your photos are too light or dark). Even if you think you’ll be able to fix your photos in Photoshop it’s still not entirely fixable. Try your best to get your ideal photos in camera rather than correcting them after. Watch out for your shutter speed (read more on that HERE), make sure it’s not tooooooo fast, even if it’s a very sunny day.

 UNDEREXPOSED

UNDEREXPOSED

 CORRECTLY EXPOSED - 1/320 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

CORRECTLY EXPOSED - 1/320 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

 OVEREXPOSED

OVEREXPOSED

6. The subject is too small or too big. Don't be lazy! Get up and go a few steps closer/further to take that picture!

7. Your shot is boring. Try using depth of field (by playing with the aperture), and looking for possible dynamic compositions. Lacking inspiration? An incredible photographer for composition is David Alan Harvey

8. Avoid photographing portraits when your subject has their eyes to the bright sun. Place your subject with their back towards the sun or in the shadow that way you won't have anyone squinting and making uncomfortable faces in your photos! A great alternative if you're shooting in direct sunlight is to have your subjects looking at each other.

 LOOKING AT EACH OTHER - 1/4000 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

LOOKING AT EACH OTHER - 1/4000 sec at f / 1.4, ISO 100

 BACKLIT - 1/500 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

BACKLIT - 1/500 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

9. If you want to have that extra pretty soft lightning, wait until sundown. The golden hour (hour after sunrise and before sunset) is always beautiful to photograph with and will mostly give you a nice result.

10. Do not forget to check if your horizon is straight. This is a SUPER simple way to get better photos!

 CROOKED HORIZON

CROOKED HORIZON

 STRAIGHT HORIZON - 1/1600 sec at f / 3.5, ISO 100

STRAIGHT HORIZON - 1/1600 sec at f / 3.5, ISO 100

This is just one of the solid, easy to implement tips and tricks for photography that I talk about in The Authentic Portrait: A Parent’s guide to Documenting Childhood, an ebook perfect for anyone who want to learn the basics of photography and improve their photos without spending hours and hours taking classes. Find out more here!

Are you making some of these mistakes? Do you have any more to add? By using these quick fixes your photos will be SO much better without really trying =]  Share your new photos with me over on Instagram in #TheAuthenticPortrait series, a series for learning and growing in photography.  Don’t forget to tag your photos with #TheAuthenticPortrait!