Learning Digital SLR Photography:
Idiotic Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to get Good Pictures
1. You take your memory card out of your camera, load your photos onto your laptop, and then stick the card in your camera bag thinking “I’ll just put it in the camera after I answer this phone call.” Then you forget all about it.
The next day you take out your camera to get the photo you’ve been waiting for all week, take several shots, and then see the horrendous message: “No CF Card.” Meanwhile, an enormous ugly cloud has moved in over the castle you are photographing and it stays there for the rest of the day.
What to do: Always, always, always put your CF card directly back into your camera after you have loaded your pictures!
2. Well this is obvious but not obvious enough for some people: You put your batteries in your camera bag instead of directly into the camera. You see the perfect shot, but by the time you’ve realized your battery isn’t in and you’ve finished fumbling around in your camera bag, it’s gone.
What to do: Always put your battery back into your camera immediately after it has finished charging!
3. Even more obvious but frequently done by some: you forget to recharge your batteries. You spend the day climbing the mountain before you realize you are almost out of power and the nearest electrical outlet is 10 miles away.
Or, you put off charging your batteries till the last minute. Then you are about to leave home when you realize you have to do it. While you are waiting for your batteries to charge, the sunset, which you have been planning to photograph, disappears completely.
What to do: always charge your batteries well ahead of time and always put them directly back into the camera when they are finished charging.
4. Okay, less obvious for beginners, but you still feel like it should have been obvious, when you realize you’ve done it: you leave your polarizing filter on at the wrong times. Example: a city scene lit by electrical lighting reflected off of water. It has a sparkle. Leave the polarizing filter on and instead of sparkle you have mud.
What to do: Use your polarizing filter only when necessary. When in doubt, try a photo with it and a photo without it. Check your camera’s image playback to see the best results.
5. Trying to photograph a popular tourist destination during the day. You will soon wish for a police barricade to keep all the bodies out of the picture.
What to do: Photograph very early in the morning, even if it is 3 a.m., and minimize the numbers of bodies your photograph has to compete with. Notice I say “minimize.” On the Charles Bridge in Prague, it is still hard to get a tourist-free shot at 3 a.m. But it is possible, if one really works at it.
That’s all for part one. When I remember the other idiotic mistakes which have been made by a friend of mine, I will write them up in Part II.