Photography mistakes beginners make

Beginner Photography MISTAKES – To Avoid To Take Better Photos

Not using the histogram

Lightroom screenshot showing a histogram with a balanced photo

Are your photos overexposed or underexposed? The histogram chart on your camera will help you understand if your photo is properly exposed. The image above is what the chart should look like for a well-balanced photo.

When taking photos your eyes can be deceiving, it’s really easy to think you’re taking a good photo until you pull it up on your computer and realize the highlights are blown out or the shadows are too dark and lose detail.

Lightroom screenshot showing a histogram with an overexposed photo

If the lines are more to the right side your image will be overexposed. When editing an image that was overexposed, the highlights in the photo will be far too bright. This is really common to do when you have a sunny sky in the background and a darker subject. The sky will typically be washed out losing a ton of detail that isn’t recoverable with editing.

Lightroom screenshot showing a histogram with an underexposed photo

If the lines are more to the left side your image will be underexposed. An underexposed image will be dark and lose a lot of detail in the shadows. When you go to brighten the image with a photo editor the shadows will be very grainy and possibly missing important details.

Not moving enough

When taking photos it can become super easy to forget to move around and take different angles. I personally make it a goal to try and find new ways to frame my shot. I’m always looking for the unique angle no one else thought about.

This mistake also includes forgetting to move things out of your picture that distracts and takes away from the image. Taking that extra minute to remove a water bottle or chair from your scene can drastically improve your photography.

H Douglas Singer Mental Health Rockford Illinois abandoned
Abandoned Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford, IL

In this photo, I wasn’t happy with the angle, so I got lower and removed a cup to make the scene less distracting.

H Douglas Singer Mental Health Rockford Illinois abandoned
Abandoned Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford, IL

Moving around your subject to capture different lighting or angles will also help you learn the best way to capture the image you want. If you’re not satisfied with your photo consider trying a few different locations to find the one that fits the best.

Not bringing a tripod

Tripods are great for two main reasons, the first one being tripods stabilize the shot. What good are your photos if they’re all blurry? I’ve forgotten to bring my tripod with me a few times and thought I was taking good photos. After I got home to edit I realized half my images were out of focus and blurry.

The second important reason to have a tripod is for long exposure photography. You cannot take photos of the night sky, dark rooms, or light painting without a tripod to hold your camera as still as possible.

tips for buying a good tripod

Ball head tripod

Joby tripod for a dslr camera

A ball head tripod will give you much more flexibility to angle the camera in almost any direction you need to. I started out with a cheap lever tripod from Walmart in the beginning, since I switched I’ve never used a lever tripod since.

Buy a tall tripod

When I first started photography I had a 5ft tripod and used it a lot. However, there were many times I needed a taller tripod to capture a shot from a higher angle. That’s why I recommend buying one that’s over 6ft tall.

Here’s the one I personally use and recommend.

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Not taking photos for social media

camera on side showing how to take photos for social media

If you want your work to be seen as a photographer you need to be taking vertical photos. Social media posts that tend to perform the best take up as much space on the phone screen as possible. Most phones are in a 9:16 ratio. To capture a “Social Media Photo” simply turn your camera on its side when taking a photo, then reframe your shot to fit appropriately.

I personally make it a goal to shoot an image that I like vertically and then try to capture another image horizontally. Then I can have photos for a blog/video or a social media post.


To sum everything up, make sure you use the histogram for better exposure, move around more to take more interesting photos, don’t forget your tripod so you capture stable images, challenge yourself to take more vertical pictures for social media.

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