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5 Mind-Traps of Beginner Photographers

Xava Du

By Xava du

A Guest Post by Laura Radniecki.

Everyone starts their photography journey as a beginner.

Everyone, at some point in time, looks to those who have more experience and expertise than them and feels inadequate. It can be overwhelming to pick up this amazing machine [Point & Shoot OR DSLR camera] that is capable of so much, and not really know what to do with it. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling incapable.
If you have felt like this, you are not alone.

Here are 5 mind-traps common to beginning photographers, and why you shouldn’t let yourself buy into them.

1. My Photos Are Bad:

It’s easy to feel like your photos are junk. Everyone starts at the beginning; not knowing a thing. Learning about your camera can be a bumpy road, and there will be lots of bad photos for every good one you take. That’s the nature of learning. Each time you take a photo though, you’ll get a little bit better. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you should be taking perfect pictures right away.

2. My Gear Isn’t Good Enough:

Expensive gear doesn’t necessarily equal good photos. If you don’t know how to use a camera to its full potential, the most expensive gear in the world won’t give you great photos. That said, fantastic photos can come from all ranges of equipment.

I started my photography journey when I was in grade school, with several small film Point & Shoot cameras. I upgraded to the digital world with another round of Point & Shoots. I took some photos that I’m really proud of with those Point & Shoot cameras, set on Auto mode. Sure, I have taken better ones with my DSLR, mostly because my knowledge of photography grew and I learned what my camera is truly capable of. But that doesn’t change the fact that I love some of the photos that came from my Point & Shoot camera.

3. I’m Doing This All Wrong:

There is no “wrong” way to take a photo. Many beginners feel like they are inadequate because they don’t understand manual settings, and can’t effectively use them. Don’t fall into that mind-trap! Auto isn’t a bad setting. It is a great place to begin your photography journey. The Priority modes on DSLRs are designed to offer a transition from Auto to full Manual settings, when YOU are ready. Advance at your own speed. Remember, great photos are what count. The settings you used to capture the great photos aren’t important.

*Don’t let the fear of progressing past Auto hold you back, though. It’s a scary world at first, but there is no reason not to take the leap. In the digital world, there’s no consequence for taking hundreds of photos, even if most turn out horrible. Who cares? That’s what the DELETE button is for! Once you’ve mastered Auto mode, practice using the other settings. Research how they work and what they do. Play around with them. They are conquerable and you WILL succeed. It’s all about learning and practice.

4. I’ll Never Be Able to Take Photos Like the Pros

Remember – the pros were beginners once too!

Everyone has to start somewhere. Learn from the pros. Study their work. Use them as inspiration to practice and grow.

5. I Can’t Afford Any Editing Programs:

Photoshop might not be in your arsenal right now, and maybe it never will be. Have no fear! There are plenty of other choices out there, many of which are free. Creative control over your photos is at your fingertips!

Check out these free options:

  • Windows Photo Gallery
  • iPhoto
  • Picasa
  • Gimp
  • PicMonkey

If you’d like more editing capabilities but still don’t want to invest in the full Photoshop suite, Photoshop Elements is a great alternative. PSE has most of the best features of Photoshop, for a fraction of the cost, and in a slightly less intimidating form. Adobe also has the Lightroom software; an organisational and complete editing package, for less than the Photoshop bundle.

It’s easy to let these mind-traps seep into your consciousness and get you down. They might even make you second guess your photographic talent. Don’t let them! Don’t give up. Keep shooting and watch yourself and your photography grow.

See more of Laura Radniecki’s work here.

Note: this post has been updated since originally published.

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