Ten Common Mistakes That Ruin Photos

Those in the photo processing business see some common mistakes that ruin photos repeated time after time.

Everyone makes these mistakes from time to time. Some make them all the time and wonder why nothing seems to turn out. These mistakes are common not only to film but to digital photos also.

Here are ten top mistakes that ruin photos:

No film or memory in the camera.

This probably has ruined more photos (or would be photos) when using film than any other mistake. You also may want to check your digital camera. Some digital cameras will let you shoot photos without memory in them. Something you need to be aware of and careful for.

Too close for flash.

Most flash units have a minimum distance in order to properly expose a photo. If you are too close, you will get washed out, white, ghost like subjects.

Too close for the camera to focus.

Even when you do not use the flash you can still get to close for the camera to focus. If your photo is real close, the subject is blurry, but you see things in the background that look sharp, this may be your problem. Stepping back a bit should work better and help with being too close for the flash.

Out of focus.

Sometimes the camera just focuses on the wrong thing. Try to make sure your camera is focused on your subject. You can read more on focus and taking sharp photos here.

Too far for the flash.

Most camera flashes have a range less that 20 feet. Sometimes even less. You will get best results when using most flashes at distances of 5-12 feet.

Too far away from the subject.

This is really a composition mistake. We all do this. It’s that photo of an eagle in the tree. It is so far away that all you see in the photo is a small speck. If you have to tell someone what subject of the photo is, because the subject is too small in the photo, you are too far away.

Cut off heads.

Another composition mistake. Make sure you do not place anyone’s head too close to the edge of the photo. It will look much better if your leave some space for standard cropping near any edges.

A backlit subject.

This comes from shooting into the sun or source of light when the subject is between you and the light. Your camera will think there is too much light and will underexpose your subject and leave it dark or silhouetted. If you so not want the silhouette try using fill flash. This is using the flash even though your camera says there is plenty of light. You can also use the old western saying: “shoot with the sun to your back.”

Camera movement.

If everything in your photo is blurry, your shutter may be a little too slow for you to hold the camera. Try holding the camera more steady or using a tripod. You can read more about camera movement and taking sharp photos here.

Subject movement.

Everything but Junior is sharp because you used a tripod and made sure he was in focus? maybe Junior is just too fast for your camera. You can try using a flash or a faster ISO setting or film. You can read a bit more about subject movement and taking sharp photos here.

There you go. Probably the ten most common mistakes that ruin photos.

I suggest you keep them in mind next time you take out your camera. Avoid these ten mistakes and you will find more of your photos are worth keeping and sharing.

About James Thoenes

James has spent most of his life involved in photography. He is now dedicated to producing portraits that his clients will treasure for the rest of their lives.