Common mistakes even experienced photographers may make in the field and how you can avoid them


posted Monday, July 22, 2019 at 12:30 PM EDT


Even a photographer as accomplished as Nigel Danson still makes mistakes when out in the field. Oftentimes, his mistakes are ones he has made many times over the years. In his newest video, seen below, Danson shares 13 common photography mistakes he continues to make and provides tips to help prevent photographers of all skill levels from committing the same errors.

Danson divides up the mistakes he makes into three categories, with the first being dedicated to his camera and camera settings. A mistake Danson has made countless times is that he forgets to double check his ISO. Suppose you've been shooting in low light or needed a faster shutter speed, leading you to increase your camera's ISO. Later, when you have plenty of light or are using a tripod, you have forgotten to put the ISO back at your camera's base ISO, which will provide you with the best image quality. When you are concentrating on composition, light and focus, it's easy to forget to check all your settings. The best way to avoid this type of mistake is to make a checklist of settings to verify before you start shooting. Danson suggests checking the ISO, aperture, focus mode, JPEG/RAW file quality and white balance settings.

When you go to capture an image, there are plenty of opportunities for additional mistakes. A particularly common one, especially in landscape photography, is shooting a crooked horizon. Most cameras come with a built-in electronic level. If you are unsure if your camera includes this feature, refer to your manual. If your camera does not include a level, that's okay, because you can purchase plastic levels to attach to your camera's hotshoe. While you can straighten your image on your computer, this will result in losing parts of your image due to cropping, which is obviously not ideal.

After checking that your shot is level, the next thing to do is to verify that the edges of your image are free from distracting elements. It's very easy, especially if your camera's viewfinder does not offer 100 percent frame coverage, to accidentally capture an unsightly element along the edge of your frame. Danson likes to go around all four edges of his image when shooting to check for distractions. A third compositional element that Danson finds himself frequently forgetting to check for is shadows. It may be your own shadow, or perhaps the shadow of your tripod, but they have a nasty way of sneaking into an image unnoticed. Similarly, if you are shooting with a wide-angle lens, you want to check the bottom of your frame to make sure that a tripod leg hasn't snuck into the shot. To see additional mistakes and ways to avoid them, watch Danson's full video below. 

To see more of Nigel Danson's work, be sure to visit his website, YouTube channel and Instagram.

(Via Nigel Danson