We’ve all got them, and we don’t know where they come from. Nor do we know how they started and even how to get rid of them. Bad photography habits can make a beginner photographer lazy, misinformed and even damaging their own photos.
This could be a tough pill for photographers to swallow. But all photographers will pick up bad habits at some point in their time. Without knowing what a bad routine looks like you may never be able to shake it off.
You could be holding your camera incorrectly, using the wrong filters for certain types of photos or forgetting to use a particular camera setting.
There are so many bad photography habits that we acquire which is why I am going to expose 5 of the worst photography habits and replace them with some new ones.
No one really knows how photographers pick up bad habits. It could be several ways, but most of them are picked up through copycatting other photographers.
By watching another photographer in action and assuming that’s the way to do things could be misleading if that photographer is lazy. You’re just inheriting their issue.
There are 5 bad habits that I see repeatedly with beginner photographers. I just want to reach through the computer and shake some sense into people! Therefore, I’ve got a list and I’m going to bust these habits wide open.
You’ll never think of it until now but how you stand when you’re taking a photo can have a painful influence your body. Stopping this bad photography habit go unchecked means you could be damaging your joints and back over a long photography career.
I am forever seeing photographers leaning over their centre of gravity, twisting their hips for shots, arching their head and neck upwards – it makes me ache just looking at these photographers.
1. Don’t lean back on your standing leg. If you have your legs slightly apart like you are taking a step forward, lean forwards and put your weight on to the front leg, it is a lot more comfortable as it puts no stress on the spine.
2. Keep your centre of gravity between your feet whenever possible. Leaning on one leg and shifting your weight to one side will unbalance you and your camera will not be steady in your hands. Move positions to make sure you have a sure footing and both feet flat on the floor.
3. Don’t squat down! Try to avoid placing all of your weight on your back as it will pull your centre of gravity backwards making it easier to fall over. Instead, kneel down with one knee on the floor and lean your weight forwards distributing it more evenly.
4. Never lean your head down towards your toes. It may be great in yoga lessons, but this is a bad photography habit where you are totally out of control when your weight is shifted over your centre of gravity.
5. Keep two hands on the camera. This will help to reduce motion blur if you are using a slower shutter speed (though you should be using a tripod at this point). It also looks a little more professional in front of a client.
6. Investing in a back support brace is a good idea if you are moving around, doing the heavy lifting of lights and weights when working out on location.
7. Knee supports are brilliant investments to wear under your trousers if you take a lot of low angles and spend most of your shoots on your knees. Wedding and portrait photographers use knee supports a lot because of their need to move around and get into odd positions to get the shot.
Spray and Pray, Hail Mary’s, Blind shooting – whatever you call it, it all means one thing in photography – you’re out of control and this bad photography habit needs to stop!
By just holding your finger down on the shutter button and taking a whole raft of pictures isn’t going to improve your photography. Hoping there’s one good one in there will never teach you about timing and precision.
This is a bad habit that’s mostly found in beginner photographers. But it’s an easy one to grow out of early on. This bad habit comes from a combination of 2 things; fear of missing the moment and the advent of digital cameras.
Firstly, not being comfortable and confident enough with your camera will cause you to rely on the camera doing the work in auto mode.
Secondly, the allowance of digital cameras to shoot 10-15 images per second means we can go crazy. But we shouldn’t.
Spraying and praying results in you having a packed phot library of repetitive images. When what photographers are looking for is a selection of special and unique shots.
This is why learning about your camera and composition means that you may only need to take 1-3 shots before knowing you’ve definitely captured the moment.
This is a real problem that has caused so much heartbreak for photographers and even their clients. Large capacity memory cards sound fantastic, but in reality, they may not be the best choice.
Think about a smartphone salesperson saying they’ve got 2 phones on sale for the same price, one has 32GB of storage the other has 128GB – which one would you buy? The larger one, of course!
Yet the same logic shouldn’t apply to photography, and here’s why.
Imagine shooting a wedding using four 32GB memory cards. Then when you come to uploading them at home, one of them is corrupt and you’ve lost 25% of your shots – disaster!
But imagine shooting that wedding again using one 256GB card and then when you come to edit that one gets corrupted, you’ve now lost 100% of your shots. That’s armageddon (especially for a wedding).
Large capacity memory cards aren’t always the better option. The reliability of memory cards is getting better but all it takes is one little glitch or accident for you to lose all those precious memories. Be wise and divide you shoots over different cards.
Swap out your cards every couple of weeks and don’t be afraid to throw cards away if they are acting faulty. Memory cards are inexpensive so it’s not a big expense to replace.
Make sure you back up your shots too using online storage platforms as hard drives can fail just as much as memory cards.
This bad photography habit is seen mostly in beginner photographers, but even I am guilty of falling into this at times. Granted it’s not always easy to get into the exact position you want to take your shot but relying on a zoom lens to just get closer for you is a little bit lazy.
If you can’t move closer to your subject, then of course zoom in by all means. But don’t take up any old position and just push the zoom button to get a closer shot.
Instead, move your feet and get into the position for the best version of your shot. You don’t want to come away with a half-baked picture, do you?
You may not mind a half-baked version of a picture of the Empire State building for example and that’s fine. If you’re OK with it, then so are we. But if you really want to be a good photographer and have shots you want to be proud of then move your feet!
How many people got successful from being lazy?
This last bad habit transcends through life so we’re sure it applies to photography too. Ignoring photography advice could be like losing the winning lottery ticket – you just don’t know when a good opportunity has passed by.
If someone is trying to give you some constructive criticism about your photography or editing listen for a moment. Don’t be defensive and think you know better (unless you’re a world-famous photographer – but even they listen to sensible advice).
Review any advice you’re given even if feedback comes from non-photographers. After all you were a non-photographer once but still critiqued other people’s photos in your head, didn’t you?
If you are wanting to ever branch out and earn money from your photography, then non-photographers are your potential clients. If you look at it like that, then you’ll want to listen to any advice your clients are giving you as that’s how make money.
I know it may have sounded like a little bit of tough love there, but I promise you it will help your photography in the long run.
I can speak from experience; these tips have helped me become a better photographer over the years. That’s why I included tonnes of tips like this and more in modules 15 and 16 of our portrait photography course.
Those were just 5 of the biggest bad photography habits, but I bet there are more. So, let’s hear them – let us know which bad photography habits grind your gears?