What are some bad photographic habits that took you a long time to break? Or, asked differently, what are some mistakes that you just keep making, even though you know better?

In my case:

  • I used to habitually choose the widest aperture available, because the blurrier the background, the better, right? Well, not really, for a few reasons. 1) If you're alwaying blurring the background to the max, you're not truly making a creative decision about depth of field; 2) You're taking a big risk because slight focussing errors have a greater chance of ruining your shot.

  • I still forget to check my ISO when moving from one lighting condition to another. Leaving my camera on 1600 or higher ISO really makes for annoyingly noisy images. (I don't like auto ISO.)

  • I still tend to fill the entire viewfinder with my subject. This was fine until I started printing my photos more often, and I quickly realized that the 3:2 aspect ratio of my images is awkward when the composition is super tight and you want to make 5x7 prints. It turns out that "uncropping" is not available in Photoshop =)

The reason I ask is because I want to make sure there are not other bad habits that I don't even know I have.

  • Community wiki?
    – ab.aditya
    Dec 23 '11 at 9:48
  • Yes, it definitely should be.
    – user2719
    Dec 23 '11 at 10:31
  • 1
    this needs to be far more specific than "let's all list our bad habits" Dec 23 '11 at 11:45
  • 2
    This might, however, make a fine site blog entry.
    – mattdm
    Dec 23 '11 at 12:26
  • A related question, for whatever it's worth: What are common beginner mistakes in photography?. I tried to answer that categorically and all-inclusively, but maybe that too should be closed.
    – mattdm
    Dec 23 '11 at 12:29
  • Perfectionism.
    Being a perfectionist is also a bad habit especially when it prevents you from getting started. Also, perfectionists are procrastinators. :)
    Perfect situations with perfect timings are a rare case. And many times we either need to create the favorable situation or simply adjust . I think it is important to keep on taking and comparing photographs, giving yourself stars for improvements, and keep going on.

  • Remembering to switch the mode from JPEG to raw AFTER the photo session is over.

  • One of the best rules of thumb I've ever heard is that if you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough. There is nothing more boring than a portfolio full of technically perfect shots done to a formula. That's what the people who shoot school yearbook photos do. There is always risk in art, and knowing the rules inside out just means you know what to change when you've gone too far. Like the man said, "free your mind and [the rest] will follow."
    – user2719
    Dec 23 '11 at 10:30
  • Concentrating on the subject and not paying enough attention to the background.

  • Trying to cram more stuff into the frame, rather than simplifying the composition.

  • Not taking the time to really learn how to use all the features of the camera, and as a result, always fiddling with it and using all my mental energy to work out technical issues and not have enough time to the creative side of taking pictures

  • Being to fast and moving forward without question the frame I took (right angle, right aperture, right light, too much into the frame, too less into the frame, etc...)

  • Not paying attention to the Histogram

  • Bring Tripod when I don't need it, and leave it at home when I need it ;-)


Accidentally moving the under/exposure dial on the camera when shooting in aperture or time priority mode and coming back with under/over exposed photos.

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