Beginner Photography MISTAKES – What to avoid to take better photos

Look at this, I feel like I grew this. I’ve been taking care of this at the office. I’ve been given it water, that you know, plants need and sun, and it’s just growing. It’s so happy, makes me so happy. Everyday that I come in it’s longer, it’s called a pothos. You like that? And it just hangs so happily. Ah, what a great day. (laughs) (upbeat music) What’s up everybody, Peter McKinnon here and welcome back to another video, today we’re talkin’ photography. If you like taking pictures, if you own a camera, you wander about, snappin’ picks, this video’s for you. Specifically targeted more towards beginners or people that aren’t necessarily professional.

I wanted to go through a few things that beginners make mistakes on quite frequently when they’re starting out in this craft. I’ve looked inside myself and I’ve found some things that I wish I had done better when I was starting photography out. A few little things, if I had just paid more attention to, I would of been taking better photos faster, which means potentially more business if that’s something you’re looking to take photography towards or just you’re being a better artist, you’re being a better photographer with some of these things, if you keep them in mind. Tip number one, one of the things I wish I’d paid more attention to is the histogram. That’s this little funky chart right here that looks like a heart rate monitor.

The far left of that chart represents the blacks and the shadows, far right of that graph chart represents the highlights, the whites, anything that’s overexposed. In the middle is your midtones. You never wanna see that graph, if you will, the histogram, spiked in one direction. If it’s way up here that means it’s blown out, you’re image is damaged, there’s just no detail, there’s too much white, there’s too much brightness, there’s too much light. Whereas, on the opposite spectrum of that, if it’s spiking on this side, there’s no detail because you crushed those blacks too much, it’s too dark, there’s too much shadow. It’s not evenly balanced. When you look at a histogram, it tells you right away without even having to look at the photo, because don’t trust your eyes and don’t trust the back of an LCD screen. Too many times I would just look at the photo on my camera and be like, that looks dope. Then I would get back to start editing it, you see it on a huge monitor, looks totally different.

I would see the histogram within Lightroom or Photoshop, wherever I was editing, and then realized, oh wow that’s actually wildly overexposed. Had I just taken five seconds to look at the histogram, I would have known that scientifically and then I could of just taken another photo and fixed that. ‘Cause what you’re looking for is an even plain. You want that histogram to have a nice even flow, no crazy spikes, like when you’re trackin’ your sleep with a sleep tracker app and you wake up, and it looks like Everest, ooh. And you’re like, wow that was a rough night. But then, you wake up one morning and you see it’s like calm waters. You’re just chillin’ in the Maldives. It’s just smooth, you’re coastin’, you’re like, wow, I feel great. That’s the same kinda thing you want when you’re lookin’ at a histogram. I have weird analogies, but I think you guys dig ’em because they help me. Tip number one, to help you being a better photographer, look at that histogram, don’t trust your eyes on the back of the LCD. Point number two, is settling for a photo when you could of made it so much better by either moving yourself to a better vantage point, or moving something in that frame out of the way. So, as an example, you’re taken a photo shoot, someone’s standin’ there, you snap a photo. You coulda just moved that chair, like two inches to the left. It would no longer be in frame and it’d make that photo way better ’cause the focus is now on the subject. Or, maybe it’s just moving your subject a little bit to the left so that garbage can isn’t in frame anymore. You don’t have to worry about Photoshopping it. Or, maybe it’s walking up the hill or down the hill to get a better vantage point. Or, trying a few extra locations instead of just being, okay with the one that you have. So, sometimes it’s these little tweaks, by just moving something out of the way or moving yourself that’s gonna make a massive difference with how good your photos look. And, you’d be surprised. Go take some shots, don’t think anything of it. Then look at them, look inside the frame and think to yourself, what could I have moved out of the way to make this picture more clear, more concise, more focused, more polished, more professional? I guarantee you’ll almost always find something. Maybe it’s even just your sunglasses that you left on the couch and you’re takin’ a picture of this nice clean room but you forgot when you walked in, you dropped your keys on the counter. It would look better if those keys were gone. So it’s those little things that you need to look for that you can easily remove, that are gonna make your photos look better. Or, move yourself to get a better vantage point. That’s number two. Ooh, I’m feelin’ this. (laughs) Alright man, I’m gonna come close for this one. I’ve even gonna drop down my voice so that you even feel like, oh something’s about to happen. He’s about to drop some knowledge. I hate, hate, tripods. Ugh, oh, actually the worst. Tripods, no thanks. Even buying a tripod is like just the worst thing to have to buy. You walk in, you’re not even excited, you’re like, ah I guess I should go get one. Monopods, I like them a little bit more because they have a better function for video for me. But tripods, I just, ack, I can’t get on board but I wish that I got on board with tripods earlier because the amount of shots that I could of got with a tripod, just bringing it with me. For long exposures, or to just have more clear, in focus images, would of made all the difference. ‘Cause, sometimes even if you think your shutter speed’s fast enough, you will get a better quality photo if you lock it off on a tripod. Not to mention, all the advantages you get being able to shoot a wide range of different photos because you have a tripod, long exposures, making those waterfalls look better with that milky smooth water, all of those things, the star trails in the skies, cars driving by. That stuff all looks better and works when you have a tripod with you. So, invest in a tripod early, use it often, bring it everywhere you go because it always comes down to the tripod, it always comes down. And that’s why I hate it. That’s why I’m like, ugh, you got me again tripod. Why don’t I just bring you with me everywhere? I’ve been doin’ this for 15 plus years now and I’m still tryin’ to learn that one so my tip to you, bring a tripod with you. Use it often, get to know it, get to love it. Tripods, (sighs) I feel like we just had a therapy session, I just feel lighter now, feels great. Okay, the last tip, the last mistake that a lot of beginners make and that I made all the time, being thorough. So many times, I would just rip through, grab my camera, shoot what I thought I needed and be done. I didn’t take the time to check all my settings enough, because I just thought I knew it. I was arrogant. I just thought I know this, I obviously, I nailed it, I got it in camera. I do the same thing I do all the time, I’m good. But, I’ve made this mistake so many times. Maybe you shot JPEG instead of RAW, maybe you shot small JPEG instead of RAW. And a little fun fact, I’m gonna come clean about something, last year, I went to the ice caves. (camera clicking) Took these amazing star trail photos. Something happened to midday, I actually shot all of those photos on small JPEG, not even RAW. I was still able to blow them up for my gallery but inside knowing that the highest res I have of those photos is like 1200 pixels wide, that hurts. Especially being that there are some of my favorite photographs, that I’ve ever taken, ’cause I was rushing through it. I just assumed I’m not gonna make those mistakes, but I’m still making them. So, being thorough to check your settings, to make sure the smallest thing isn’t gonna ruin something incredible, is very important. Maybe it’s making sure your ISO is not too high. You’re shutter speed is right on. Checking that EV meter to make sure it’s not all the way to the left, you’re not overexposed, or underexposed, it’s in the middle. So being thorough and checking all those things, makes all the difference. Beginner or pro, we still make those mistakes but getting it early on is going to help you out. That’s my advice, you wanna take better photos? I think those things will help you. I don’t think those things are the sole ingredient to, you watch this video, you’re a better photographer instantly, it’s all with time. It all takes time, over time, building up different things. But, I do think this will help you think about some things differently that might save one or two small, oh instances, as you’re shooting, that’s generally gonna make you better at this art form. That’s all I have for you today. Hit that like button if you like this video. Smash it. Puh, puh, puh. Got a little carried away on that one. If that’s somethin’ that you’re into, 2018 style, subscribe if you aren’t already and I will see you guys in the next video. (sighs) I’m gonna go take photos. I haven’t done that in awhile. Bye. (light music)

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