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01-03-2012, 09:07 PM   #1
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The bad habits of new photographers

Ok, let's have some fun...

So I believe there are a number of bad habits an amateur (or maybe pro as well) go through -There a likely more than I have here but I am calling these the 7 bad habits of new photographers....1) lens buying addiction 2) Chimping 3) I'll fix it in post processing 4) forgetting to check proper ISO 5) putting money into bodies instead of lenses 6) Blaming the equipment and 7) Never getting a photo printed.

I am guilty of most all of the above but am particularly interested in number 7. Does anyone else find that they never get a photo printed? Or...on the flip side, keep hundreds of photos you'll never use. Would love to hear perspectives on the above. I know a photo in hand is much better than on screen, so why don't I get more printed out? Are we stuck so far in the digital age we don't need prints anymore? Thoughts?

Maybe there's other bad habits as well not listed here. Would love to hear about yours!

01-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #2
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Your list is kind of odd. LBA is bad, but buying bodies instead of lenses is also bad. Chimping is bad, but not checking to make sure your ISO is set right is also bad. Also, what's wrong with fixing stuff in post. Back in the darkroom days, I shot to push process when I got caught out with film not quite up to something I wanted to try, why is doing the same digitally a bad thing? Or leaving it up to post processing to deal with multiple color temperature lighting?

6 and 7 I'll give you though.
01-03-2012, 10:55 PM   #3
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I find none of your bad habits bad, other than not checking the ISO. Buying stuff is good. Blaming it is sometimes warranted. I scanned all my proof prints years ago so I would not have paper rotting away in albums. However, I have a whole drawerful of 4x6 to 4x8s at work (with no wall space for them).
01-04-2012, 12:48 AM   #4
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Agreed.

* Reviewing shots ('chimping') empowers digital toggers far beyond anything that was possible with film, except for (not-free) Polaroid test shots.
* Accumulating lenses, bodies, lights, etc gives the user great experience with a large tool kit.
* Sometimes gear *is* to blame, but how to tell without using it? But yeah, operator error prevails.
* PP is part of the picture-making process, has been since the dawn of positive-negative photography. Fixing in PP is a tradition.
* And much current photography is intended for online display, not archival paper. Back in the day, we didn't print all our negatives either. How many forests does your hobby consume?

Yup, it's a bogus list. I'd almost call TROLL.

We've previously had more serious discussions of newbs' faults, but it's been awhile, so why not have at it again? IMHO some pernicious faults are:

* Don't perform due-diligence research before spending a pile of money on gear.
* Don't RTFM; expect a dSLR to work like their old P&S; fume when it doesn't.
* Blame the kit.lens for lousy pictures when they haven't learned to use it.
-- And believe that the kit.lens must always be replaced|'upgraded' immediately.
* Didn't learn from P&S usage that onboard flash won't illuminate distant subjects.

* Believe marketing crap about 'equivalence' -- lens properties change with formats.
* Believe marketing crap about 'crap-factor' -- moving a lens doesn't lengthen it.
* Don't RTFM; don't read books on photography; don't have a basic understanding.
-- And believe that the optical laws and usage guidelines don't apply to them.
* Believe that different camera+lens brands are inherently better or worse than others.
* Expect new motorized AF lenses to always work better than old manual glass.

That's a start. Your turn!


Last edited by RioRico; 01-04-2012 at 10:15 AM.
01-04-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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Spend time on forums such as this and not going out to take pictures.
Looking at pictures online and thinking it says anything about the quality of the gear.
01-04-2012, 10:16 AM   #6
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Here are two bad habits that make me cringe when I see them...
  • Buy an expensive DSLR and lens kit, but never get past "green" mode
  • Taking handheld photos with LiveView on a DSLR
01-04-2012, 11:23 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Spend time on forums such as this and not going out to take pictures.
Looking at pictures online and thinking it says anything about the quality of the gear.
Yes, Practice, Practice, Practice...but we also live and learn.

To those that have been in the business awhile, some things come naturally and are second nature to you. As a beginner, I can tell you I have bought and read many books, taken 10K pictures and wished for fast lenses and nicer bodies. I don't know much about PP yet. I even email pro photographers from magazines to find out how shots were technically made.

But 2 years into this, I believe one major thing - some people have it, and some people don't. The minds eye either can compose a great photo or you have to work at it. It's just like music. I love a well written song but i can't write one. I also love a great photo but struggle to take one.

So a thread like this can have value and that's why I started it. For instance, I spent 2 days taking pictures of a huge flood in nashville in 2009 just a few months after getting started. When I finally sat down to view the photos, I found all of them had ISO set way to high and were washed out. I was mad at myself but what a great lesson.

I have also borrowed other people's cameras like a Canon 5d only to find my photo looks the same as my K-x. Oh, and I don't know how many times I have not set continuous auto focus when shooting a moving target.

But forums are a great place to share and learn and hopefully someone gets value in that.
01-04-2012, 07:03 PM   #8
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after teaching photography to adults for over 20 years (We originally did tintypes, lol) I can confidently say that with some instruction MOST everyone can take good images. There are a few that just "don't get it" though.

The biggest bad habits new photographers make, not taking the time to learn the basics (shutter speed, f-stop, iso, FOCUSSING), and not understanding composition. Get these things improved and images get much better every time!

regards,

01-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
Taking handheld photos with LiveView on a DSLR
Unless you're using autofocus with a Kr under tungsten light...
01-04-2012, 07:30 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Spend time on forums such as this and not going out to take pictures.
You can do both!

I know... I'm not helping...
Attached Images
 
01-04-2012, 08:09 PM   #11
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Photography is simply understanding the technical aspects of the camera, aperture , shutter speed, focus and ISO, understanding how each of those affects the image, and making use of that knowledge to express your artistic vision. Understanding the rules of composition etc. might also help. As for chimping... please, anytime you shoot in difficult lighting conditions chimp, if you'd been chimping you could never have shot even 2 photos over exposed, you would have known after the first one. Because my camera remembers the last lighting conditions I shot in, and I rarely remember to reset the defaults, I often waste my first two or 3 shots before I chimp and reset for current lighting conditions. If you aren't going to chimp then you're going to have to go to a 5 step bracket 3 under 3 over, because I've had brackets where the 3 under or 3 over shot was the one I wanted. Chimping I can cut that to 2 exposures instead of 5. And if you are shooting RAW, of course you are going to fix it in post processing. What come off the camera isn't supposed to be a finished image. You absolutely have to fix it in PP. You need to get the best image possible... but you also need to post process. Under-exposing sunsets gets you deeper richer colours, which you will further emphasize in PP, because RAW files aren't maximized to re-create what you saw... you have to figure out how to bring what you saw to life.

The biggest mistake rookies make, IMHO is assuming they know what they are talking about. How often have you heard a rookie go on and on about something , and someone says something really simple like, "under-expose half a stop" or "use TAV". Understand that most of the time the problem is you don't know what you're doing.. not that there is a problem with a lens, a camera body or a technique.

But again in my opinion, the two biggest flaws in rookies..would be not using a tripod.. and overestimating automatic exposure. A portrait should be focused on the eyes, not the cheeks, not the nose.. your camera probably doesn't know that. The two things you have to have the most control over are, camera shake.. and control of focus. Those are two things an awful lot of rookies ignore.
01-04-2012, 08:53 PM   #12
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The biggest mistake beginners do, and for most it will stay with the rest of their photographic life, is to concentrate on TAKING pictures. They learn the techniques (at least some), they acquire expensive fine equipment (that most will use in their basic modes) but they never learn how to MAKE photographs.

Making a photograph is a mental process, and to start with, it does not even require a camera. It begins with an idea; a desire to make something that captures the spirit of a place, makes a statement, communicates a message, shows some emotion, and opens a window to another world, among other things.

Cameras, lenses, tripods, flashes, Lightroom, Photoshop, are just tools that are used to capture, transform and present whatever the photographer was intended to capture/transform/present.
01-04-2012, 09:03 PM   #13
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As a newbie (in terms of number of serious attempts at a good photo), I get to comment.

I will plead guilty to all of the alleged sins in the original post except failure to check ISO if I'm not within the 100-800 range I have set.

OTOH, I haven't fallen prey to any of the vices described by RioRico.

I would offer one error that's easy to make as a neophyte - failure to take time to think about what I'm trying to accomplish before pushing that little button. The technology allows me to emerge from PP with a modestly well-exposed and exceedingly dull image: one that tells no story, triggers no emotion, raises no questions, demands no reflection. I have a lot of bad photos from that perspective and they're almost all caused by paying entirely too much attention to F stops, shutter speeds, ISO settings, focal lengths, diffuser arrangements, and how many shots I want to come away with in a limited time. With a bit of luck, they're "nice". One reason I have no galleries here.
01-04-2012, 09:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
The biggest mistake beginners do, and for most it will stay with the rest of their photographic life, is to concentrate on TAKING pictures. They learn the techniques (at least some), they acquire expensive fine equipment (that most will use in their basic modes) but they never learn how to MAKE photographs.

Making a photograph is a mental process, and to start with, it does not even require a camera. It begins with an idea; a desire to make something that captures the spirit of a place, makes a statement, communicates a message, shows some emotion, and opens a window to another world, among other things.

Cameras, lenses, tripods, flashes, Lightroom, Photoshop, are just tools that are used to capture, transform and present whatever the photographer was intended to capture/transform/present.
Like he said, lol. A mere decade into taking my photography seriously I do think there is a huge difference between taking a good snapshot and true photographic art. I know when I'm doing the former and I know when the latter finally sometimes happens. I don't really care if someone is using a 5K DSLR or a pinhole camera, it's true. The most technically perfect images can still leave me totally flat in terms of my reaction to and non-appreciation of them. Some of the least perfect photographs I have ever seen have actually made me gasp or even cry. It's not all about what lens, what camera, or even how perfect the technique is. Having all that stuff is nice, but it won't make you a real photographer IMHO. Takes a lot more than good gear or even knowing what settings to use when. Truly great photography has soul...
01-04-2012, 09:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
* Didn't learn from P&S usage that onboard flash won't illuminate distant subjects.
This is always my favorite. I often see flashes going off as tourists in Battery Park (southern tip of Manhattan) shoot the Statue of Liberty. The Statue is on an island a mile away.
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