I asked some folks on Facebook to share their biggest photography mistakes.

There were heaps of replies, some sad, some funny, and some frightening!

So I have collected all that data and turned it into something positive that we can all learn from.

Here’s the list:

Lesson 1

Always be ready to shoot. Have your camera at the ready, turned on, lens cap off, correct settings set. When the shot of a lifetime presents itself, you don’t want to miss it because you weren’t ready.

Lesson 2

Always review your first couple of shots on the back of your camera. Is the histogram good, are you using settings left over from some other shoot, is your image sharp and in focus, is your composition good? Or is there anything else unexpected in the shot, like reflections or strange effects from a filter etc?

Lesson 3

Kinda similar to #1 but: don’t leave your camera at home!

Lesson 4

Always check your battery level and memory cards before heading off for a shoot (and have spares).

Lesson 5

Always check the weather forecast so you don’t get caught out by a sudden change.

Lesson 6

If theres just a 1% chance you might need your tripod… Bring it!

Lesson 7

Back your photos/memory card up as soon as humanly possible.

Lesson 8

Always shoot RAW.

Lesson 9

Use HDR plugins very sparingly.

Lesson 10

Listen to that voice in your head which is telling you “there’s a better way to get this shot” even if it’s inconvenient. For example, going back to grab your tripod or a different lens. When you catch yourself thinking “ah it’ll be alright” – then it probably means there’s a better way to get the shot.

Lesson 11

Maintain a non-destructive editing workflow – and NEVER delete or save over your original image files.

Lesson 12

Know where your gear is at all times.

Lesson 13

If you see a shot you want to take… Take it NOW. Don’t wait.

Lesson 14

Have a backup camera, especially if you’re going on a long or expensive photography trip.

Lesson 15

Familiarise yourself with your surroundings when out shooting. The landscape, the tides, weather, wildlife… You never know when one of those might catch you out!

Lesson 16

Go easy with the polarising filter! Especially on a wide angle lens. It’s a great tool but can ruin your shots if you’re not careful.

Lesson 17

Make sure your tripod legs are tightened firmly. You don’t want to see one collapse and your camera go with it!

Over to you…

Have you learned any of these lessons the hard way? Or have one that’s not on the list?

Let’s hear your mistakes in the comments! 🙂