1. Mishandling Your Photography Gear
This is the sin number one. Nothing could possibly go worse than having a malfunctioning gear, when you need it. Photography is a one time opportunity business. Whatever the excuse may be, if you missed it, the possibility of recreating the same scenario is almost next to impossible in most cases (You know what I’m taking about if you are into landscape photography) . So what could possibly go wrong? Well I have laid down a few reasons for you to better avoid if you really want that beloved photography gear of your’s to last for a while
- Drop your camera or lens or both! – Most of the stuff in photography is delicate. Specially in the case of Lenses, where lot of precision optical glass is involved and you know what ? “Glass and carelessness just don’t go together”. I remember one of my student purchased an entry level tripod (a cheap one I believe) and mounted his $1500+ gear on mercy of that poorly constructed tripod. Apparently the quality was not good enough, the mounting screw just broke in half and gave the gear a nice collision with the ground. Lucky for him that only the lens mount snapped off and the whole repair was under $100. Therefore I would advice you to take appropriate measures and proper care so that accidents like such never happen with you.
- The lens got Dirty? Lemme clean that with my shirt. – Yes, people do that and I have seen quite a lot. Even some of my professional photographer friends are guilty of this sin. As I already told you optics in a lens are very delicate. While manufacturing lenses are treated with a lot of coatings to preserve the quality of photographs and to save you from troubles like flares, vignetting and ghosting. Unfortunately the coating are prone to damage even from the slightest scratch from rough materials (Your shirt is not as soft as it seems). A microfiber cloth and a blower will do the job just fine. You can also get a lens pen (a dedicated tool for lens cleaning, not for writing on it). Most of these things I have mentioned here can be found at your nearest photography gear retailer or online and the good news is that they are cheap. You can buy them online here !
- Leaving your gear Unattended – Although not many of you would do that, but I take it as my moral responsibility to warn you of consequence. I have heard from a lot of photographers, how they left their cameras mounted on the lightweight carbon-fiber tripods and suffered the falls because of the strong blow from winds. Also getting your gear stolen when left unattended at unsafe places is not uncommon. So all of this is self explanatory and you know what you should do.
2. Treating Your Camera Like a Baby
You might think how could this one be a mistake when I just suggested you not to treat your photography gear harshly. Well this one is for the people who worry way too much. The people who need operation theater like clean environment just to change the lenses. The people who would care more about few specks of dust on their front element over the possibility of a getting a great shot at that moment. These so called perfectionist get so much tangled into these small and insignificant worries that they miss the whole point of photography and the utility of their gear.
3. Worrying Too Much for the Little Things
The perfect auto focus, the perfect sharpness, the most accurate colour reproduction or the most balanced exposure. Photography my dear folks is not about these things. It is about capturing the moment before it slips out of your hand and your excuse over such petty issues won’t bring it back. So stop whining and start shooting.
4. Complaining for Not Having the Right Gear
Photographs taken 50-60 years ago still hold their interest and appeal. Do you think they had better cameras than you have in your cellphones now back then. The answer is No. This is for the cry babies who are ready to sacrifice a shot worth capturing because they are busy complaining how their lens suck and how their Dslr is not of the highest standard. These are the people who are ready to ditch a hike over the gorgeous mountains to capture the naked beauty of nature just because they don’t have the most appropriate and suitable camera bag for hiking. What could be more worse.
A Photograph holds much more than the sharpness and perfect colour reproduction. It is like a poem which is still beautiful even if it is written in the worst hand writing.
5. Not Using a Tripod
Tripods are not just for low light shooting or for the people suffering from Parkinson disease. Most of the lenses tends to perform best when stopped down to f8 or more and even with the most ideal light conditions one might fail to get a respectable shutter speed. But lets say you managed to get 1/250th of a second, still your hands are not the most stable thing in this world and even the slightest movement has its toll on the quality on your photographs. A sturdy tripod will make you capable enough to get over such issues with much ease. You don’t have to buy the most expensive one. Just pick a decent one after reading my experience with some of them here and get what suits your requirement best.
6. Avoiding the Lens Hood
Most of us have a liking towards natural light, and why not. The almighty sun is bright as hell and free for all. However no matter what lens you are using. There will certainly be a loss of contrast when you have sun or any other bright source of light in your frame.
So you might not be willing to carry the extra bulk of a lens hood with you most of the time like me but trust me its worth it. Also most of the lens hoods can be reverse mounted to get aligned with your lens barrel and can fit in your bag without taking any extra space. As an added bonus, lens hood will protect your most vulnerable front element from all kind of threats and you won’t have to use those shitty UV filters as an excuse to save your lens from scratches and all.
7. Back Up! What’s That?
So you had this amazing vacation abroad and you clicked these awesome pictures to brag about to your friends. But Voila! your memory card says it’s corrupted and all your fun memories are just in your brain and there also they might get faded over time or get sacrificed to Alzheimer. Although some miraculous thing known as “Backup” can save your ass. Make it a habit to copy those shots of your’s in a separate hard drive or cloud storage and make sure you get at least two copies (just in case). Also going for a camera that supports dual memory cards is a brilliant idea at the time of making a purchase because not only you will get the extended memory option but you will also get a default feature to use that second memory card for backup purpose.
8. Doing the Same Stuff Over and Over Again
Practice will make you perfect. No doubt about that. But photography is about experimenting as well. Not only it is necessary to practice and preserve what you have learned but it is also essential to learn something new every day to save your art from getting saturated over time. Even if you are one of the most established photographer in your genre, it wont hurt you to learn a couple of new tricks every now and then to keep your skills fresh and contemporary. Go out experiment, learn from other masters, watch videos, read tutorials, do whatever but make sure you are learning.
9. Oh! I Took a Million Shots, At-least One is Going to be Awesome!
This is for the kind of people who take more than a thousand shots in a single day and expect at least one of them will be splendid. These kind of people are the one to overkill that shutter button. If you are one of them, stop right there. Don’t abuse that poor shutter switch. Just because your camera’s shutter has a life span of 150,000 clicks doesn’t matter you have to use them all in a single year. Unless your style or profession(such as sports photography) demands the same, you must take your time and work around before you actually shoot. Click a mental picture before you record it on your sensor. Photography is an art of unifying your vision with the camera. If you are not sure how to make it happen, this amazing book ‘The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression by Bruce Barnbaum‘ will prove a treasure to you.
10. It’s my Brother’s Marriage. Where the HELL is my Camera?
The biggest photography sin you can ever commit is this one. Buying an expensive Dslr, playing with it for a few months and then forgetting about it all together. If you have even the slightest spark inside you for photography, don’t let it extinguish with little bumps you face in your early experience with cameras. Remember it takes a lot of time to become a good photographer even if you have affinity for photography built in you by birth. Make sure you invest not only money but enough time as well to let your talent mature. Also the more familiar you get with your gear the more you see it responding to your instincts. Make your soul one with your camera, grab it, go around, shoot and keep shooting.