Mistakes Photographers Make


Why many photographers get it all wrong when they start taking pictures.

If I could rewind all the years I spent worrying about what others thought about my work, I honestly would. I spent the first half of my career trying to win the approval of the 'untrained' eyes of individuals with their uneducated opinions and with this, I feel that I held my own self back.

Opinions of why they may or may not like an image but with no basis or training and knowledge compared to my own. I feel it truly did hold my own personal vision back for many years as my photography was about marketing to the 'general' public.

Lets face it, the 'general' public likes what the majority like.. and that is what has come to be mainstream photography. Pretty, overly processed naturally posed and colorful images with tall grass and sun flares. Everything looks the same! Don't get me wrong, my style has always seemed to be underlying and I have been blessed to shoot some images I can be proud of over the many years, but I didn't always market my style this way!

So, when I listened to my photography guru's video this morning about COMMON MISTAKES PHOTOGRAPHERS MAKE.. It did perk my ears up.

Shooting for others is the number one mistake. So I could check that one off my list. Another point was shooting for social media and basing the quality of an image on the number of likes it receives from strangers. This particular point is crazy but valid to think how we, as creatives, can base our self worth on a complete strangers opinion when we know nothing about their own preferences.

Which leads me to another common mistake and that is listening to people's opinions that do NOT matter. They critique your work but cannot offer constructive advice. They like studio portraits and you don't take studio portraits. They like color but your work is black and white.. They like posed but your work is candid. All these are not valid complaints. It's a difference of styles and opinions. This does not make your work bad! The only opinions I have learned to listen to are the opinions of skilled and trained professional documentary photographers. Their work is similar to the genre I focus on. So this has helped me learn what to take to heart and what opinions to ignore and dismiss.

Another mistake that I have found myself in the middle of is finding balance to stay true to my style while also pleasing my client's own needs. This is why I felt it crucial to compromise in this department. A few years back, I stripped my website of all things that I feel do not represent my style, so the client can have full knowledge and understanding with what I do photograph.

Another valid point he made was photography is a journey.. there is no end to our growth and change. We continuously evolve as our life experiences change. If we put ourselves in a box we will limit growth with our own work and style. My style today may be different in the next five years but this is where I am right now in my journey.

Last but not least.. NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY!! Yes.. as much as it pains me to think this, people may like some of my images and they may appreciate a moment I capture but in the end of the day, my work is not their world.. My work is my world!!

So in saying all this, too many photographers work is starting to look the same because I guarantee you, They are doing as I once did and that was shooting for others, worrying about the opinion and approval from others, limiting their growth with their journey and marketing to a general audience of mainstream work.

This is the common pattern and I discovered I wanted to break away from all of it as I try to focus on my own authentic style and vision.