I’ve made a million mistakes while pursuing landscape photography and I still make them. I suppose it’s a never-ending learning process. Some of the mistakes could have easily been avoided especially when I first started out. Hopefully sharing these mistakes can help keep others from making the same silly errors. Unfortunately, some of them are also financial errors that have become rather costly.
Buying Cheap Photography Gear
I really regretted two of my gear purchases. One was cheap photography filters and the second was an F4 lens instead of the F2.8 version. For the photography filters, I went with a lower cost version to save money. They created an ugly green color cast in my images that was correctable in post processing, but annoying. I finally gave up and purchased really nice B&W photographic filters that are higher quality. I would advise not skimping on your filter purchases from the start.
Last year I bought a 24-70 F4 lens. I figured I could do without the 2.8 since I would be using this lens during the day for commercial work. Turns out, I actually use it a bunch for landscape too and could really use the lower aperture. It’s still a great lens, but I feel the F4 is a limitation for me now. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to cut financial corners!
Not Taking Care of Photography Equipment
I will admit that I take poor care of my photography equipment. I go through about a tripod a year from salt corrosion. Taking it apart once a quarter to clean my tripod would contribute to its longevity. Recently, I lost two of my Canon L camera lenses to a fungus contamination. Since I live in Hawaii, mold and fungus are huge issues. I had my lenses for six years in the humid environment and never had a problem until now. So, I had to replace my camera lenses with new ones AND I am now using a humidity-controlled cabinet for all my gear, keeping them at a happy 40% humidity.
Not learning how to shoot
When I first started learning photography, I took a bunch of classes through a local community college. The instructors insisted that we shoot in JPG format instead of RAW. They wanted us to make all the saturation, contrast, and white balance choices in-camera instead of using post-processing software. The good thing is that I learned to navigate my cameras menus quite well. The bad news was, I was shooting JPG and you can’t make any post-adjustments. So double check to make sure your camera is set to shoot in RAW. I have about a year’s worth of files that I can’t really do much with.
Another shooting error I made when I first started was not bracketing for dynamic range. I had no clue when I first started how to blend multiple images together. One of the greatest pieces of advice I received is to “always bracket. Even if you have no clue what to do with the files now, you may in the future.” So, if you are photographing a scene with extreme dynamic range from lights to darks, you should bracket, just in case. Then you can revisit these files when you gain the post-processing skills.
Hopefully we can all learn from our mistakes. What are some mistakes you have made? Share in the comments below.