What Photographic Mistakes Do You Make?

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

We all make photographic mistakes.

We make them all the time even so some people don’t always like to think so.

During our recent Great White Sharks photo safari I was given a copy of Moose Peterson’s book – Captured (Coenrad you rock buddy!).  This weekend I finally found some time to start paging through this book and I am glad I did.

Captured by Moose Peterson

I have been following Moose’s work, on and off, for quite some time and I always knew he was the real deal but the first few chapters of this book has given me a lot of food for thought.  Moose has an amazing approach to wildlife photography – respect, appreciation, ethics – and apart from telling his story he shares a lot of information which shows why he has been at the top of his game for around 30 years.  Moose, keen to join us in Africa for a photo safari?

Being involved in photographic education and travel I get a huge amount of questions about wildlife photography, which equipment to use and how people can improve their own photography so two of the lists in the beginning of the book caught my attention.

Check this out (taken directly from Moose’s book).

What are the top five mistakes AMATEUR wildlife photographers make?

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  • Thinking ‘Ive got the shot’ and giving up om a subject too quickly.
  • Not going out with their longest lens.
  • Not knowing their subject.
  • Not paying attention to the background.  Background is everything!
  • Not giving themselves time to improve.
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I have, on various courses, workshops and safaris seen people make every single one of those mistakes.

These mistakes, however, are not only limited to amateur photographers.  All too often professional wildlife photographers, or wildlife photographers who think they are professional, make these very same mistakes.

And then some.

Here is Moose’s list of mistakes that professional wildlife photographers make.

What are the top five mistakes PRO wildlife photographers make?

[list type=”bullet”]
  • Not tapping into their passion for wildlife or incorporating in into their photography.
  • Not pushing themselves every time they go shooting.
  • Blowing off the common species.
  • Not going out shooting every waking moment.
  • Not showing whet they’ve learned to others.
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With the line between amateur and professional being blurred more and more – through perceptions created by social media or otherwise – both of the above list could be applied to pretty much any wildlife photographer.

So, for the purposes of this blog post let’s add to these lists.

Here are, in my opinion, a few more common mistakes that wildlife photographers make.

[list type=”bullet”]
  • Photographing for other people and not for yourself.
  • Always trying to copy other photographers.
  • Not trying new techniques.
  • Shooting with a competitive mindset.
  • Not understanding, and embracing, technology.
  • Never asking for feedback – and not only on social media.
  • Not being honest with yourself.
  • Not recognizing your own mistakes.
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My suggestion would be that regardless of your skill level you read through these lists and take note.

Think about your own wildlife photography – and be honest with yourself.

Where can you improve?

What can you do to become a better photographer?

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

PS:  Oh, and if you can – get a copy of Moose’s book.  It’s worth it!


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Comments 0

  1. Sylvie VdB

    Great blog with points to think about.
    I am def an amateur and one mistake I always make in about 70% of my pictures is that my horizon is always sloping to the right.. where my shutter botton is. I try to pay attention to this and even when I think I have it straight.. it’s not. I know a tripod will help but I don’t always have that with me.


    1. Post

      Hi Sylvie,

      I know exactly what you mean. Have had that in the past as well. 🙂 Luckily it’s not a major thing to sort out in post processing.

      Bye 4 now!

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