Photographers vigilantly and earnestly learn how to see, compose, shoot and edit yet we continue to make rookie mistakes.

We know better but we don’t always do better.

Sometimes we still mix colors and whites, lock ourselves out of the car, cut our own hair, share too much on Facebook or take a picture looking straight up someone’s nose. It happens to the best and worst of us. Rest assured, we all fall prey to these common mistakes despite knowing that we shouldn’t.

The following blunders are as easy to make as they are to fix. At least we’re in good company.

Mistake: We take pictures without a clear subject.

Fix: We identify the subject and compose the frame around it.

kid playing on the floor with a cup by Sarah Hodges

Sarah Hodges

Mistake: We take pictures with background distractions like lamps and trees growing out of people’s heads.

child playing on an iPad by Amy Brownridge

Amy Brownridge

outdoor portrait of woman by Amy Brownridge

Amy Brownridge

Fix: We move ourselves or the subject.

girl sitting on a couch playing on an iPad by Amy Brownridge

Amy Brownridge

Alternate Fix: We clone it out in Photoshop or Lightroom.

outdoor photo of a woman in the snow by Amy Brownridge

Amy Brownridge

Mistake: We take pictures of people doing the unflattering things that people do.

Fix: Be patient and wait for them to swallow or wipe their face.

boys eating lunch by Meredith Novario

Meredith Novario

Mistake: We don’t nail the best perspective right off the bat.

child cleaning the walls by Heather Whitten

Heather Whitten

kids eating on the couch by Ann Becker

Ann Becker

Fix: Keep shooting and moving until we find the sweet spot.

girl washing the wall by Heather Whitten

Heather Whitten

kids eating at the coffee table by Ann Becker

Ann Becker

Mistake: We take pictures with crooked horizons.

first day of school picture by Ann Becker

Ann Becker

Fix: Turn on the grid in your camera and/or embrace the straighten tool in Photoshop.

kids sitting on the steps holding their lunchboxes by Ann Becker

Ann Becker

Mistake: We hear that speedlights are better than our awful pop-up flash, so we buy one. Then we point it right at our subject, like a pop-up flash, and get awful deer-in-the-headlights images.

portrait of a man by Jennifer Bogle

Jennifer Bogle

photo of girl jumping on the bed by Jennifer Bogle

Jennifer Bogle

Fix: Point that thing away! Bouncing flash off of walls, doors, even windows can make interesting, directional light.

black and white photo of man by Jennifer Bogle

Jennifer Bogle

happy girl jumping on bed by Jennifer Bogle

Jennifer Bogle

Mistake: We convert to black and white to avoid a tricky color edit.

birthday cake by Meredith Novario

Meredith Novario

Fix: Embrace on or off camera lighting. Or reserve the right to keep converting!

black and white lifestyle photo by Meredith Novario

Meredith Novario

Mistake: We get caught up in the moment and forget to see the light.

kids walking by Ann Becker

Ann Becker

Fix: See the moment AND the light.

child sitting on a log in the woods by Ann Becker

Ann Becker

Mistake: We shove the camera in people’s faces before they’re good and ready.

girl in her room by Meredith Novario

Meredith Novario

Fix: Tell a poop joke.

girl laughing by Meredith Novario

Meredith Novario

We know we should floss daily, read nightly and exercise around the clock. Fortunately, we aren’t perfect. It’d be an awfully boring world if we were. Professional and amateur photographers alike are not immune to these common mistakes. No accolade or title can shield us from being imperfect. As long as we don’t allow these mistakes to define us, we’re good. Keep on taking the pictures no one should take so that you also take the phenomenal pictures that no one but you COULD take.

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