None of us is perfect. So it is easy to fall into bad habits, As a new photographer, some of these tips will change your photographs from good to great. But for the professionals among us, we bet you were or may even still be guilty of making some of these mistakes.
1. Double Check your settings
Every photographer has probably done this at least once; forgotten the last shoot was dimly lit and used an unnecessarily high ISO outdoors. Make it a habit of checking your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, metering and focus mode and area before each shoot, remembering to make adjustments as the scenario changes.
2. Don’t split your landscape in half
The rule of thirds, a commonly referred to a commandment of photographic composition, is based on the theory that the human eye is most attracted to subjects that are not placed in the centre of an image. If you were to draw a tic-tac-toe grid evenly across your picture, breaking it into three rows and three columns, the places where the grid lines intersect are said to be good places to feature subjects. As far as landscapes go, this means moving the horizon from the middle of the frame to a third of the way from the top or bottom of the picture. But there’s no need to hold to this rule strictly. Plenty of gorgeous landscape images have horizons that are higher or lower than one third into the frame. Whatever you do, aim to keep your horizons from splitting the image exactly in half.
3. No Focal Point or Cluttered Backgrounds
Skies and mountains are lovely, but a picture can’t be all background. Your photo needs a focal point to hold the viewer’s interest. This can be anything – an interesting tree, a boat, a pier, a log – but no landscape photo is complete without the main subject.
The opposite also applies – be careful not to focus too much on the subject and forget about how the background comes together. Pay attention to what is behind your main subject. If the background elements don’t add to the composition remove them if possible. Be careful that you have a separation between each element, and don’t let them visually blend together (ie. two or more trees merging into a greenish blob). This is especially problematic when the objects are backlit or silhouetted.
4. Focus is not quite right
When you rely on autofocus, it's easy for the camera to get it wrong. Sometimes, your camera's AF system will want to focus on something behind or in front of your desired subject. To ensure the system chooses the right point of focus for static subjects, change the focus mode to single point AF. This will force your camera to use just one AF point of your choice, rather than relying on the entire cluster of AF points to find focus.
Choosing a single AF point will vary from camera to camera, so check your manual for details.
5. Overlooking the basics of photography
In my opinion, the problem with most budding photographers is that after learning all the relevant skills like focus, composition and exposure, they tend to lose grasp of the very basics of photography. Which includes things like charging your batteries, carrying spares, backing up memory cards and ensuring you have all your gear before heading out to an event. Simple things that can mean the difference between a successful photo shoot and a downright flop.
Lastly, always remember to remove the lens cap once you start taking photos. You will be surprised to know that such a seemingly minor slip plagues experienced photographers as well.