5 Common Camera Setting Mistakes Made By Beginners

Camera Setting Mistakes

One of the hardest parts of being a photographer is mastering the camera settings. If it is easy, everyone would be a photographer. There is no single camera setting for every situation, you have to adjust your settings with each new scene and you have to ensure it is perfect.

As a newbie photographer, poor camera settings or mistakes may be just what are ruining your chances of getting beautiful shots. If you can make out time to learn these mistakes and how to correct them, you will notice an improvement in your photography. In some cases, you find that even advanced photographers are still making some of the camera settings mistakes listed in this article.

This article will be very beneficial to anyone that wants much sharper and better quality shots by improving his camera settings. If you have been doing guess-work when you are using your camera settings, this article will help you to learn the best way to avoid mistakes and take your photography to the next level;

Top 5 Camera Setting Mistakes to Avoid

1. Using a Slow Shutter Speed

I'm not surprised that most newbies are making this mistake when using the camera. It is one of the most common camera settings mistakes. You need to offset your camera shake by ensuring that your camera shutter speed is faster than the focal length of your lens. For instance, you need to have a 1/50th shutter speed or faster when you are shooting with a 50mm lens. This is to ensure that your image is sharp.

When you have a zoom lens, you will need to take the shutter speed higher. For example, a 300mm zoom lens requires a 1/300th of a second shutter speed to avoid getting blurry photos. This is to avoid making even slight vibrations more noticeable. Note that you will also need to use a faster shutter speed such as 1/2500th of a second to freeze and capture an object in motion such as bikes and cars.

2. Using a Very Low ISO

Most photographers were taught that they need to use very low ISO when making use of digital cameras. Unfortunately, they didn't know that the reason for this is because most of early digital cameras had bad noise at higher ISOs. Most sophisticated cameras coming out these days have corrected this error and now it is possible to shoot with incredible quality at ISO 800, 1600, 3200, and even go as high as 6400 using your digital camera.

Using a high enough ISO will make your shot much more pleasant-looking. However, the rule of the thumb is to lower your ISO as much as possible when it is stable on a tripod and increase it when you are shooting handheld.

3. Using the Wrong Focus Point

Three out of every six newbie photographers will make this mistake when they are just starting out. You will see most newbie photographers leaving their focusing completely up to the camera. Doing this will result on the camera focusing on the wrong point - which will ruin your images. Don't be afraid to take control and put the focus on the subject that you have in mind.

Another situation similar to this one is that most newbie photographer thinks that they can easily shoot everything at f/1.4 when they have a new 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens. You may be lucky enough to get pretty good images at f/1.4. But in most cases, your depth-of-field will be shallow at that aperture.

4. Not Making Use of Exposure Compensation (+/-)

By now, you should have learnt that the exposure condensation is your best friend when you are making use of Aperture or Shutter Priority mode. The fact is that your camera's light meter is not creative and would want to make everything in the scene look neutral gray when you are shooting in a scene with tricky lighting. The only way you can achieve a desirable result in this situation is to make use of Exposure Condensation (+/-).

A good example will be when you are shooting in a scene that contains a bright sky; your camera will calculate that it will need to overly darken the image in order to make bright areas look gray. This will lead to the images becoming overly bright. This could also happen when you are shooting in an area with bright highlights and dark shadows or in a situation where your subject is backlit.

The trick here is to master how to use all the three metering modes which include - Evaluative, Center-weighted, and Spot metering mode. In most cases, you will find Evaluative to be too broad and Spot to be too focused leaving you with the Center-Weighted metering mode to make good of the situation.

5. Making Use of Image Stabilization when you are Already Using a Tripod

This is what I called "overdoing things" and most newbie photographers trying to be cautious make this mistake a lot. When you are using your camera handheld, the image stabilization is designed to make your shot sharper. It will in some cases, create small vibration while at the same time, keeping your camera steadier. However, you may get an opposite result when you have already stabilized your camera on a tripod and still leave image stabilization mode on. Have it in mind that your image stabilization should be off when you are using a tripod.


Indeed, most people make mistakes when they are starting out. Without a doubt, camera settings for every situation are one of the most difficult parts of being a photographer. However, with determination and desire to learn, you will soon master these settings and begin to get best image quality.

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