We all feel the excitement when we begin what we believe will be a hobby but it quickly turns into a burning passion to do it all the time. Okay, that might have been a little dramatic but you know what I mean. You can’t read enough, learn enough, and shoot enough if your hobby happens to be photography.
The downside of the excitement is that early on our judgement or decision-making may not be the clearest or we may just have a bias about something because we just don’t know or we make a decision that we don’t want to learn something new.
Below is 5 mistakes that I made early on when the creative journey began.
1: Buying Gear On Impulse
Even with suggestions from friends who knew better, I still spent money on gear prematurely. Thinking I knew enough, there is gear that sits on the shelf today that was purchased years ago and might have been used once or twice. Not to mention the money spent and usually on the cheaper version of the item so I end up replacing it with what I should have bought in the first place.
If at all possible, be patience and spend your money well.
Suggestion:Give it enough time to find out what your niche might be and buy what you need, not what you think you want.
2: Not Learning to Use a Light Meter
I took an interest in using lighting both indoors and outdoors but I didn’t take the time to learn and use a light meter. This resulted in trying to nail exposure by adjusting the light multiple times instead of being very close from the first shot.
This might be an ok approach but when you have a client waiting on you, you don’t have time to play around adjusting lighting.
Suggestion: Learn how to set light power with a meter right out of the gate saving you tons of time.
3: Not Using Lightroom
I am probably a rarity here since I would imagine most people start out editing with Lr but I thought I would go cheap with an app called Pixelmator for the first few months when I started. Not knocking the app but this was not a good choice especially for basic edits which we all start with anyway.
After a good talking to by a close friend, I made the switch to Creative Cloud and launched into Lightroom and haven’t looked back.
Suggestion: Use Lightroom even if only for the power it offers of cataloging your images.
4: Trying to Be Too Creative
Once I started with Creative Cloud and began working with Lightroom & Photoshop, I was also introduced to the NIK Collection of filters which I still use today. However, it was cool to have all that at my fingertips and my images became more about what cool look I could give them than composition, exposure, etc.
Not that I didn’t consider the technical things, I just got too hung up on ‘cool’ and not focusing on what should have been more important.
Suggestion: Don’t get caught up in the cool, trendy look of creative editing and keep your eye on honing in on the technical aspects of taking a good picture.
5: Not Using Presets
Honestly, I just didn’t give presets a solid chance early on. I believe it was because I tried them thinking that one preset could work for all photos in a set and that is not always the case. So, this disappointed me. I also thought that since I had the NIK Collection that gave me so many options and why would I use Lr presets until I realized I was maybe overthinking them.
Instead of using a preset for a creative look why not use them or basic adjustments that you seem to make on all photos? Why not use a preset on import so the basic adjustments are applied to all photos when you bring them into your catalog? Once I discovered how they could be used in a simpler way, I began to give presets another chance and started looking at ways to apply them. They really do serve a purpose to reduce your time in your workflow and as I started using them more and more their value became so apparent.
Suggestion: Start using presets, or at least learn how they can be used, even if you just use them to apply basic adjustments such as contrast, clarity, and sharpness.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what mistakes you may have made early in your creative journey so please comment below.