5 Common Mistakes To Avoid For Professional Looking Shots

In the age of the smartphone, every 16 year old with an Instagram account considers themselves an amateur photographer, but there are some of us who want to take this fun, creative and often painstaking artform to a new level, possibly even translating it into a viable profession.

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Photography is like any other form of art, it takes not only raw talent, but a keen eye for detail and an almost obsessive desire for quality to create a really professional looking product. Some new photographers have all the gear and no idea, and show up to photography classes expecting to be able to shoot at a professional standard quickly.

Unfortunately, photographers are artists, and just like painters, sculptors, actors, dancers and musicians they are on a never ending journey to perfect their craft. Even professional photographers are prone to mistakes. If, however you want your images to have that compositional je ne sais quoi that marks a pro out from the amateurs it’s important to steer clear of these 5 unfortunate tropes that just scream amateur.

Too Much HDR

HDR or High Dynamic Range is an attempt to give images the same degree of luminescence that they have through the human eye, but through the lens of a camera. It’s a technology designed to overcome the inherent limitations of digital photography. While it can enhance the realism of an image it can also be woefully overdone. Finding the balance between realism and making an image work is a hallmark of a pro!

Lack of subject

Many photographers want to capture a moment in time with their images; a panoramic tableau of an interesting or precious but fleeting moment. While a noble intention this can also make for bland or confusing images. It’s important that even tableau shots have a clear subject that frames and contextualizes the rest of the image.

Confusing composition

While the lack of a subject is a common cause of confusing composition, it’s perfectly possible to create a poorly composed image even with a subject. Try your images out on a fresh pair of eyes. If your respondent asks what they’re supposed to be looking at then you need to go back to basics with your composition. Remember the “rule of thirds”.

Hanging back too far

It can be tempting to capture your images from a “safe” vantage point, but hanging back too far can rob your images of their mood and drama. A wedding specialist like Vittore Buzzi Photographer will tell you that there’s a fine line to be walked here. A great photographer doesn’t intrude on the moment but still gets close enough to capture the magic of an image.

Overzealous processing

If there’s one bad habit that Instagram has engendered among new photographers it’s the practice of capturing a mediocre image and processing the living daylights out of it in an attempt to make it exceptional. While HDR is a common offender, over saturated colors and excessive sharpening of images can make images look over produced, fake and generally unappealing.

The Shutterbug’s Guide To Phoenix (Plus The Chance To Tick Off A Bucket List Item)

A place that I have often wanted to visit is Phoenix Arizona, so much so that it’s even on my travel wish list. The reason for this is the combination of fantastic weather and the awesome sites to be seen there make it just perfect for taking pictures, something I love to do. With that in mind, I have come up with a selection of the best places and activities that provide an opportunity to take photos in Phoenix Just read on to find out what they are.

Ro Ho En

When visiting Phoenix, Ro Ho En seems like a great place to start your tour. This is the Japanese friendship garden that was built in the year 2000 and makes a super place to take some amazing photography shots.

Ro Ho En
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In particular, you will find things like rock waterfalls and Japanese Maples there, and they also run regular events such as theatre and moon glazing ceremonies. There is even a health and wellness suit that offer meditations if you are feeling a little stressed out after your flight.

However, do bear in mind that if you want to use the gardens as a photographic backdrop, you will need to book a formal session. Something you can find out more about here.

Hot air balloon ride

Next, shutterbugs like me will want to book themselves a place on one of the hot air balloon tours in Phoenix that are on offer. You can choose from sunset or sunrise options, and some provider even run special photography trips with a professional photographer present to tutor you on how to get the best shots from the air.

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Shutterbugs can get some of the best images from the air. 

Something that for me would combine a passion of mine, with a bucket list item, in a place that I’ve always wanted to visit!

Heritage Square

Another place that you are guaranteed to get some amazing shots is the charming Heritage Square on Sixth Street. This is a collection of brick Victorian style houses that are kept in wonderful condition and make stunning subjects for a photography study.

There is also a museum there that you can visit to find out all about what life was like back in the 19th century, and there are some great craft activities that you can get involved with too.


Lastly, any budding photographers will want to take some time to pay a visit to the Hole-in-the-Rock. Nope, it’s not a bar, although it kind of sound like it could be, but a geological formation in the rock in the Papago Park.

There are plenty of trails to hike in the area too, making it a great location to get some landscape, and flora and fauna shots. Just remember to do two things before you set out.

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First, check the difficulty of the hike you are picking and make sure its suited to your level of fitness. Secondly, ensure that you charge your camera because you aren’t going to want to run out of battery in the middle of the trial and so not be able to take all pictures that you want.

Blogosphere, meet Lexington

My Olympus E-M10 arrived in the mail yesterday! Breaking from my traditional Harry Potter names for my previous DSLRs, I’m naming this little baby, Lexington, Lexi for short. I’m choosing to break the Harry Potter naming tradition because I feel like it’s a new chapter of photography for me and it’s a mirrorless camera rather than a DSLR aaaand yes, I’m no longer a Canon user 🙁

For those who don’t know, I used to be very into photography. As stated, I had a Canon Rebel DSLR until it got stolen one night. Between working part time and paying bills, it took me almost a year to save up for a new camera but unfortunately by then, I lost all interest in photography.

Since a few months ago, I’ve been looking into starting a new hobby. Nothing interested me aside from photography and it kept nagging me in the back of my mind.

Also recently, I caught the travel bug. All I want to do is just travel.

So, I chose to invest in another camera again, this time the mirrorless Olympus camera. I hope to redevelop and improve my photography skills. In addition, I want to take photography much more serious that before because when I’m traveling, I hope photography can lead me to some little side income.

All in all, I’m getting back into photography but much more dedicated to it ever before! I don’t want to be a professional photographer – but just a hobbyist that can earn a few bucks here and there. I’m super excited to share what I’ll be shooting soon! In aligning with 2016 goals for my blog, I think I might even start vlogging 😉 but that’s a whole different thing.

Until then, welcome Lexington and drop by my Flickr page (which is filled with old photographs a few years back). Looks like I won’t be shopping for anything else for a while….

DSLR quality for half the size!

I did some serious comparison and read a lot of reviews before settling on this model. If you have any questions, let me know!