BPP 145: The 5 Mistakes New Photographers Make

Over the past 3 years of hosting the beginner photography podcast I have not only had the chance to talk to some of the worlds best photographers but also talk to countless listeners. Almost immediately I started get emails, questions. Then I started the Beginner Photography Podcast Facebook group 2 years ago and the number of questions of new photographers has exploded.

In that time I have come to see the 5 Mistakes New Photographers Make.

Today I share them with you and share how to avoid them.

1: New photographers think gear will make their photos better

2: New photographers do a lot of heavy editing

3: New photographers try to grow too quick without knowing the fundamentals

4: New photographers want to start to business before they are ready

5: New photographers do not give photography enough time

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Full Episode Transcript

Disclaimer: The transcript was transcribed electronically and may contain errors that do not reflect accurately what the speaker said. Because of this, please do not quote this automated transcript.

Raymond: 00:00 Hey Raymond here from the beginning of photography podcast. And today I'm breaking down the five mistakes that all new photographers make. So let's get into it.

intro: 00:10 Welcome to the beginner photography podcast with Raymond Hatfield, the podcast dedicated to helping you grow your photography skills. Raymond interviews the world's top photographers in their field to ask questions that will get you taking better photos today. Now with you as always, husband, father, Ho brewer, La Dodger Fan, an Indianapolis wedding photographer, Raymond Hatfield.

Raymond: 00:41 Hey, welcome back to this weekend. This episode of the beginner photography podcast. I'm excited to have you here today. This is going to be a great, a great episode. A, I don't know if a, if, if you've been following me along for a while. A few years ago I made a video of the five mistakes that all new wedding photographers make. And I put that on Youtube and it was a big hit. Big. It still continues to get a lot of views, but I realized that that video that I made was kind of a skewed for one re like one of the reasons is because I'm a wedding photographer and there was just the mistakes that I was seeing other photographers making, but I really didn't have a good sample size. Right. It has now been a close to three years. It's been more than three years. Wow. Since since doing this podcast.

Raymond: 01:31 And in that time I've learned a lot more from a lot of different types of photographers and I now have a new list of the five mistakes that new photographers make and I can't wait to share it with you. I really think that this is going to be an actionable episode that is going to help you learn what these mistakes are and then how to not do them. But first I want to give a shout out with an iTunes review. So we got an iTunes review that I want to share. It is from envy photo girl in d photograph. There's no name here. I don't know if you are, please tell me who you are. I want to thank you personally. She says as one who partakes in many forms of learning opportunities, social media, Facebook, iTunes, websites, et cetera.

Raymond: 02:15 I Find Raymond's beginner photography podcast to be the most well-rounded, informative and easy to understand. Presentation of everything. Photographic. His program subject ranges from technical to philosophical, but she can't be talking about me and he is always able to mediate the presented information into understandable, relevant terms that I can easily take an immediately apply to my photographic journey, consistently enthusiastic. This is fun, knowledgeable and supportive and truly cares about his listeners in the Facebook group. I've listened to many photography podcast and I find this one the best five stars. Jeez. Jeez. But still they going to go to my head. My wife's not going to be happy

today because that does a, I'm going to be, I'm going to be throwing that out there. So it'd be photo girl, man. Thank you so much for that review. That was a incredible review. If you could leave the review there, if you could leave their review.

Raymond: 03:15 If you haven't left a review for the podcast, I can't tell you how grateful I would be just to hear your stories of how the podcast has helped in any sort of way for you in learning photography. That just, that makes my day. It totally does. It totally makes my day. So you can do that in iTunes or wherever you listen to the podcast. So again, in the photo girl, thank you. Let me know who you are so I can, so I can personally thank you. You're in the Facebook group, so that's awesome. Okay, so let's get to these five mistakes that new photographers make. So like I said earlier, I let me turn off. I'm getting all these notifications on my computer. Okay. There we go. As I said earlier, I've been hosting the podcast now for three years.

Raymond: 04:03 The podcast has been in existence for three years, which still totally blows my mind. When I, when I think back to all of the incredible photographers who are so much better than me and being able to ask them these questions one-on-one the podcast has definitely been something that I have become very proud of and it's something that I truly enjoy. But I have found something interesting that even more than talking to these other photographers, it's interacting with you, the listeners, which is, is, is more fulfilling, more enjoy, not, it's, I mean, I guess it is more enjoyable, but it's, it's fulfilling to see firsthand what it is that you struggle with, right? The things that you want to know as a beginner because as a professional photographer, sometimes I forget the things that I didn't know early on. And being able to hear your side of the story is, is really cool.

Raymond: 04:58 So the podcast group has been around for almost two years and in that time I've gotten to know a lot of you meet some of you in person, which has been a joy. And I have received hundreds of emails from beginners asking questions. So I can tell you firsthand the biggest mistakes that I see new photographers making from, from the emails, from the a podcast group just from listening to your feedback or your questions. I have compiled this list. Okay. And this list is based off the things that I have either gone through or or experienced or what I've seen, right? And even information from podcast guests. So we are going to get into this, right? You know what? First I'm going to break down exactly what all five of those things are and then we'll, we'll go deeper.

Raymond: 05:53 So the first mistake that new photographers make is that they think that the gear will make their photos better. And if you've been listening to this podcast for any length of time, you'll know my views on that. It's completely false. But we'll get into that. Number two is the amount of heavy editing that is done. Number three, new photographers try to grow way too quick. Number four, new photographers want to start a business before they are ready. And number five, they don't give photography enough time. Okay? So let's break this down. Number one mistake that I see new photographers making is that they think that the gear will make their photos better. And I see this from comments like, you know, I only have whatever camera so, you know, don't be too harsh on these photos or I'm going on a trip soon.

Raymond: 06:55 So I really want to upgrade my camera so that I could take better photos. And when I think back to my journey when I first started, I felt the same way. So I completely understand where that mindset is coming from. Because when you see a professional, especially on youtube, you see professionals shoot with like a specific camera, a five d, a, a Nikon d eight 50, or something like that. It's easy to think that everything else must be inferior, right? All of these pros are shooting with this camera, these lenses, everything else just must be trash because their images are great. And my images, well, they're not. And the only difference between us, we're both people is the camera. So that is where that mindset

comes from. And while you are technically, you know, true that these other cameras are inferior, like they're better cameras, they're better cameras in less.

Raymond: 07:54 You have been shooting for decades, you really will not be able to tell the difference in your shooting. But your wallet will, I promise you that when it comes to gear, gear should be making your life easier and it will not make your photos better. That's it gear's job is to make your life easier. It's to make your job easier. There are better things but or low light, you know, great. Now it's easier. When it comes editing, I don't have to edit it so much because you know, I don't have to brighten up the the darks cause now I can shoot it right in camera. Right. I'm shooting at, you know, a wide aperture. Oh Great. Now I can, I can bring in more light. I can control the light better. I can have a better depth of field. I don't need, you know, the ND filter.

Raymond: 08:44 So these things make your life easier. They don't make your photos better. What makes the photos better is the photographer. So I am saying I'm going to make a bold statement right now. If you have been shooting for less than two years, like you got that camera two Christmases ago, you know if you have been shooting for less than two years, all that you need is an entry level camera which you can pick up at any big box store, right? The Lens that came with that camera and both Canon, Nikon, Fuji and Sony makes some version of this. A 50 millimeter, 1.8 lens or I think Sony uses an f two no, maybe that's Fujis listen, all you need is those three things. The camera, body, entry-level camera body, the Lens that came with your kit camera and a 50 millimeter 1.8 some sort of prime lens, the 50 millimeter 1.8 that is all that you need.

Raymond: 09:50 That is all that you need right now because your job right now is not to take this wide variety of photos. It is to learn what it is like, learn how to use this camera and learn what it is that you want to shoot. Because like I said, the gear will not make your photos better, but after those two years, so why only two years? After those two years you will know what it is that you want to shoot. You will know how you shoot and that will dictate what direction you need to go in terms of gear. If you are out shooting wildlife, you are going to want a camera that is weather sealed, but you don't know that in the beginning. Maybe you bought your camera to just photograph your kids and then you fell into newborns or a wildlife not newborns.

Raymond: 10:36 Nobody wants to fall on a newborn. That would be horrific. So my point is is that in the beginning you don't know what it is that you want to shoot. So you don't know what you need to prioritize in terms of gear. So in the beginning, start with the basics, entry level camera, the lens that came with the camera and a Prime Lens, a 50 millimeter, 1.8 that is it. That is all that you need. And then like a battery and a memory card of course. But every and maybe a bag. But that is it. Okay. Okay. Number two, heavy editing. New Photographers love to do some heavy editing. And when I, when I, when I see photographers like who are posting in the group who love they're heavy editing, what it seems like to me is that, is that the editing is trying to mask the lack of technical knowledge when it comes to the photo itself.

Raymond: 11:36 We have all seen incredible examples of photos that were made in Photoshop through editing, right? But I want to share this quote that has been with me for a long time and I think that it fits incredibly well in this situation. And it is when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you know that an editing, you can boost your reds, suddenly all of your reds and your photos are going to look Pale and you're going to want to boost those up. You're going to want to use the tools that you have. It is so common to go overboard with editing just to try it out. And I get that right. You have so many new tools and you know, buttons that you want to play with. Do that. Like if you do that to figure out the editing tool itself of let's just say light room.

Raymond: 12:29 Okay. That's pretty much the industry standard. We'll, we'll continue with light room. So in light room, there's so many different options, so many different possibilities that you can do in your editing. You, you like your looking at these great photos that came out of light room or Photoshop and you think, I have this photo, I want to make it great. It goes through light broom. This has got to be it. So you keep playing with all the buttons and the dials and, and at some point you get somewhere where it looks nothing like the original photo, but you're so like deep into it, you're so focused that now it looks like a good photo to you. So this is not like meant to be mean by any means. Right? but when it comes to editing, I think that first you need to know the purpose of editing.

Raymond: 13:24 The purpose of editing is simply to put your signature on your photos, on your photos. You have to have a photo that you bring into editing and then you apply a signature to it. What is the first thing that we do in light room? We import the photos. What do we do before that? We take the photos. You need to understand how to take a photo properly, get it right in camera before bringing it into light room and trying to make it some masterpiece. Because if you bring a photo that is not properly exposed has some composition issues, you bring that in Lightroom, Lightroom can't fix the focus. It can't fix composition. It can definitely fix exposure and colors, but it can't fix other major parts of photography. So editing is just, it's incredibly important. It's incredibly important and it takes time to learn the tools that you've never had access to before.

Raymond: 14:25 But the photo is done when you're editing. When you say that it is, there's no right or wrong. When it comes to an edit, it is purely subjective. So when you are editing a photo, right, again, you need to bring in a photo into light room. That is a solid photo. You bring that into light room to put your on it. You don't bring a photo into light room to see how far you can take it, so the photo is done. When you say that it is, there's no finish line. It is just when you say that it's done, it's done purely subjective. Enjoy it. Okay. The number three thing, I guess number three on the list of mistakes that big that new photographers make is that they try to grow too quick. What do I mean by that? Well, this kind of ties into the editing.

Raymond: 15:26 When you focus on editing without knowing the fundamentals of photography, that is the best way that I can put it is like a chef focused on making the prettiest plate possible when they don't know how to boil water. I would think that boiling water is, is like cooking one-on-one without a solid foundation. Everything else is for nothing. You are leaving photography up to chance. If you don't know the fundamentals, would you want a doctor to leave an operation up to chance? You wouldn't. A professional doesn't leave anything up to chance. Sure. Things can happen. There can be happy accidents but they don't rely on that to to be able to do their job no matter the type of photography that you want to shoot. We all need the same foundation. Building a strong foundation in photography is essential and it applies to everyone with a camera, no matter if you want to shoot, you know, newborns or wildlife or weddings.

Raymond: 16:33 The foundation of all of, of every type of photography is exactly the same. And like I said with the gear earlier, if you like, start off for those first two years with the bare minimum kit, because when those two years are over, you now know what direction you want to go, what camera you want to get. It is the same with the fundamentals. Once you have the fundamentals, you will now know where you are lacking, where you need more practice, what you want to shoot and therefore what that specific type of photography needs in terms of requirements, right? For wedding photography, I think that knowing flash is essential. In fact, I know that knowing, I think that knowing flash is essential for so many different types of photography, but maybe not so much in the first two years. Adding off camera flash is, is a lot to do.

Raymond: 17:26 Okay. But once you know, oh, I want to get into, you know weddings, I know that I want to, I'm going to have to shoot off camera flash. So now it's more than just the flash, but your camera also has to make changes to be able to shoot with flash and you need to know how to make those changes. But it all starts with a solid foundation. And that is why I've spent the last several months putting the only course the beginner photographers will need. And it's coming out at the end of May. It's going to be called auto two amazing. And audit two amazing is going to walk you through step by step how to shoot manual, how to find great light wherever you are. And I'm going to do that by taking you on location with me where I show you real world shooting situations. And not only that, I will use the same entry-level gear that you have to achieve those incredible results.

Raymond: 18:16 I'm going to shoot with an entry level camera, the the lens that came with it and the 50 millimeter 1.8 that is it. So I will have more information on the auto two amazing course over the next few weeks. But if you're interested in the course and want to know more about it, go ahead and shoot me an email@beginnerphotographypodcastatgmail.com with the subject audit too. Amazing and let me know what it is that you struggle with and I will tell you that if the course is going to be a good fit for you or if something else, well, so I'm really excited for that. Okay, number four on the list. New Photographers want to start a business before they are ready. I often ask new photographers, what do you want your camera to do for you? And I get responses like I want to start a business. I want to stay at home.

Raymond: 19:10 I want to provide extra money for my household. Or even I've gotten this before. I want to be able to pay for my child's college. That is so much pressure. That is a ton of pressure. Especially because just recently the bureau of labor statistics just ranked photographer as one of the 25 worst jobs in America. Yeah. They projected the bureau of labor statistics projected that there will be overall every, you know, overall job economy, job growth will grow by 7% by the year 2026 but photographers will actually see a 5.6% decline in jobs. Now, this is not to discourage you. This is simply to educate you because this is important stuff to know if you want to go into this business, that right now it looks as though photography jobs are in decline for years. You've heard people saying, you know, my in my market is so saturated,uyou know, people are willing to do it for less than me.

Raymond: 20:29 How can they make any money? How can I make any money? And I get that. I get that. So again, this is not to discourage you, this is just to educate you because there are still photographers out there charging $20,000 to shoot a wedding, you know, or even more for bigger events. So there are still jobs out there, not discourage you just to educate you. And when you first start taking photos, you are going to be approached by friends and family, you know, because now you're, you're taking photos, you're posting them on online and now they want you to photograph them, right? Friends and family will come to you for a photo shoot and now you think, you know, you get four or five of those under your belt. You're like, wow, I've made, you know, it's not enough to quit my job, but I've made you know, a good amount of money.

Raymond: 21:17 Like it's some good extra side cash. Maybe I could make a go of this and that is awesome. And if you have that feeling, I think that what you need is to ask yourself if that is truly what you want to start a business, not, don't ask yourself, do you want to stay home all day? Do you want time freedom to hang out with the kids? Or you know, ask yourself, do you want to start a business? Because businesses need sales and sales come from relationships. And at some point family and friends are going to dry up. They've all got, you know, they've all got their photos and by the time that they're ready for new photo, you will have had to have raised your price because you realize, oh I can't, I can't make a living on doing a hundred dollar portrait sessions. I just can't do it. You know, you'd have to shoot if the average median income is $36,000 a year, you know, you've got to factor in 40% for tax. The

cost of doing business, the prints, the camera, the gear, you know you have to be making $70,000 just to make or more just to make that $36,000 and then you know, you can't do that by just shooting a hundred dollar portraits. You are going to be so like so overwhelmed. So like I said, businesses need sales and sales come from relationships, relationships with other businesses, relationships with your community.

Raymond: 22:57 All of these things are important because when you have a friend in need, you want to help them out. If there is just somebody random in need, the chances of you helping them out are dramatically less. You need to build these relationships, but the thing about it is that you still need a, a level of skill required to produce. Would you accept that just because somebody's unclogged their toilet with a plunger that they can now start a full like a plumbing business? You wouldn't because they are going to be wildly unprepared for so many situations that they will run into as a plumber. Not all plumbing needs are just use a plunger on the toilet. Then it's done right? There's so much more than that. And it is the same with photography. Just because you have taken great photos does not mean that you are prepared to take a great photos in various lighting situations.

Raymond: 23:59 And that is fine. That is fine. If you can't go out there and shoot a at night, if you can't go out and shoot at noon, right? Harsh light, if you can't do that, that is fine. That is fine because you're still new and you're still growing. But when you add money into the equation, that becomes a different story. If you can't go out at noon and take great photos and you're charging somebody, you can't just be like, hey guys you know what? I don't like what I see here. Plumber can't do that. Oh, you know what? Yeah, I thought this was just going to be a quick, a plunger job and then I'd be on my way home. Sorry, I can't do it, but I'm going to keep your money. But that's not how you build a business. So that is why knowing the fundamentals of photography once again is so, so, so incredibly important.

Raymond: 24:59 You need to build your skills now, have fun. Do as many free shoots as you can and use that time to network. You go to a local restaurant and say, Hey, guess what? You know what? I would love to photograph your food. I'd love to photograph your staff. I'd love to photograph your place, you know, totally free. We're just trying to build my skills while you're there. That is when you can network. You know, if they say yes, network with them. Now this isn't gonna work at like a chain, restaurant, national chain or anything. But if there's a local restaurant in your town, go to them and ask to do this for them and network with them. Build a genuine relationship. Don't just, you know, don't, don't, don't just let them know that you know, you're just trying to build your portfolio and that you're not very good and then you know, you're going to do your best, but you know, oh, here you go.

Raymond: 25:50 Find out who they are. Find out what it is that they struggle with. Build those genuine relationships. Because when the time comes and you are having a some sort of like mini session, you know, sale you, not only are you going to have somebody that you can pull from and be like, Hey, are you interested? You know, I'm doing this new type of photography. I've already worked with you before. You liked it. Would you like to come do a mini session? You know? But now if they do, now they're going to potentially tell their friends and they're going to come to you. This is why building relationships is so important and that is why building relationships for free, by shooting for free, I think is gold, is gold. I really do think that.

Raymond: 26:32 And then when you are ready to make the jump, you will be so much more better prepared. Okay, so the last, we've made it to the end of the list, made it to the end of the list. Number five. One of the fifth biggest mistake that I see new photographers making is that they simply don't give photography enough time. It takes years to become proficient. The other day in the Facebook group, if somebody posted that they wished that they were naturally good at photography and that they wish that they had the eye, you might be

feeling in the same way. It's understandable. We see so many great photos on social media every single day, you know, from these people who maybe they started after you did, I dunno the, when you go out and you shoot and you see these photos that come back and they're just not the same caliber.

Raymond: 27:34 It's so easy to get discouraged and just give up, but let me tell you something. The people who are quote unquote, naturally good at photography didn't pick up a camera one day and just know how to use that camera. Maybe it took years of, of, of doing something else. Maybe they did animation, maybe they did, you know, they knew composition. Maybe they just knew editing. Maybe they just knew settings on their camera and then point as the people who are naturally good at photography had some sort of help to get them to that point to where it looks like they're naturally good at photography. It is so, so, so incredibly rare that anybody just shows up with a camera says, let me see what this thing does. And then just like blows, like hits it out of the park.

Raymond: 28:22 And again, when you see these photos on social media, it's easy to assume that everyone is good, but the truth is it takes time. Not only does it take time, it takes forever. You will be shooting your entire life and still still 30 40 50 years from now. Learn things about photography that you didn't know the day before because photography is a journey. And the thing about this journey is that it's not a race. When you know here in Indianapolis that any 500 is a big rate. It's a big deal. When the Indy 500 starts. Everybody is in one spot. They go for 500 miles and then there is a clear finish line to the yard of bricks that does not exist in photography. It does not exist in art. It does not exist in music. It does not exist in anything that we create.

Raymond: 29:24 You will be learning photography forever because you can start off in one place and end up somewhere completely different and the road that you take to get there is going to be different than somebody else who started in the same place as you and ended up in the same place as you. And that makes photography incredibly to judge of like where you are. I honestly think that depending on how often you are legitimately able to get out there and shoot and learn like more than just like, oh, like here's a good opportunity to let me take a photo real quick, but like really go out and practice and learn. Take that time to learn, soak it in. I legitimately think that how often you realistically can do that. It is unrealistic to think that you can be taking consistently good photos in less than two years of experience.

Raymond: 30:25 I wholeheartedly believe that. Now some of you may, you know, may be in college, maybe single, may not have the a lot of responsibilities and you will have more time to go out and shoot and focus and come back and edit and it will look like your path to growth will be faster than somebody else who is like me in their thirties has kids at home, you know, doesn't have a lot of time freedom. But I think overall if you have been shooting for less than two years, it is unrealistic to, to, to think that you can go out and consistently take good photos because it takes time to get out there and gain experience and that is okay. And the reason why it is okay is because you love to shoot. You are not, you didn't get into photography only to take good photos. Right.

Raymond: 31:25 That's unrealistic to think. You wouldn't just hand a 16 year old the keys to a race car and expect them to be the world's best race car driver. It takes time. It takes time. People listen to me. It takes time. And that is okay. Me. I like singing. I love singing. I'm not good at it in any sort of professional capacity, but that is not going to stop me from singing in the shower because I enjoy it. Does that mean then I'm going to go off and that I just, because I enjoy singing in the shower, I'm going to go and be the next, whoever's popular now. It's been so long since I've listened to music or like it, you know it doesn't, that's not what that means. When you are photographer, it is going to take time to build up the skills, build that knowledge and regardless of if you watch every youtube video, read every blog, listen to every

podcast. If you don't go out and shoot, you will not grow. The only way to grow. If you want to grow shoe more, that is it. That is it. Shoot more.

Raymond: 32:41 That's it. Let's go over these five mistakes. Once again, let's, let's, let's sum this whole thing up. Number One, new photographers think that the gear will make their photos. Number two, new photographers love to go heavy on the editing. Number three, new photographers tried to grow way too quick without knowing the fundamentals. Number four, new photographers want to start a business before they are ready, and number five, they don't give it enough time. That's it. Like I said, photography takes time. Photography takes time, but guess what? It is enjoyable. You're going to go out there, enjoy the ride. Don't look for the, don't look for the finish line right now. If you've been shooting for less than two years, do not look for the finish line just to have fun, okay? Until next week. Get out there, keeps shooting. Stay safe and focus on yourself. That's it. I love you all.

outro: 33:46 If you enjoy today's podcast, please leave us a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast player and continue the conversation with Raymond and other listeners of the podcast by joining the beginner photography podcast Facebook group today. Thank you. We'll see you again next week.

BPP 145: The 5 Mistakes New Photographers Make

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