5 Stupid Mistakes One Professional Photographer Made and Discusses

It doesn't matter if you're a brand new hobbyist of the craft or a multi-decade veteran, we all make mistakes. In this video, Nigel Danson discusses five mistakes he made while on a shoot in Iceland.

Mistakes are rarely something to be embarrassed by; we all make them and they are far more useful to us than success in terms of growth. That is, you learn significantly more from your shortfalls than you do your wins. It's difficult to get excited about making mistakes and I would be suspicious of anybody who claims to be pleased to learn from them, but learn from them you must.

To this day, I still make a number of mistakes and I have a few serial offenders. The one I most commonly wrestle with is a sort of tunnel vision. This only ever happens when I am shooting for myself rather than a client and I am just enjoying the craft as opposed to working. The resulting looseness of direction leaves me too open and rather than trying everything, I end up attempting one concept. It comes off the back of a philosophy I have written about before: push past the ordinary and attempt the great, even if you risk coming away with nothing. The issue is, it's all too easy to come away with nothing if you're ambitious.

This is a stupid mistake of mine and I make it rather often when I'm shooting for myself. It's not difficult to take the more obvious shots first and then try for something outlandish, but I quickly become obsessed with creating something singular or different.

What stupid mistakes do you still make?

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2 Comments
Marc F's picture

“What stupid mistakes do you still make?”

- Forgetting to advance the 120 film to frame #1 after loading the film
- Forgetting to close the LF lens shutter before removing the film holder flap

Deleted Account's picture

Enjoyed watching it. I think it goes all down to one single mistake: Too much in too little time, Photography takes time. I read about photographers who visited the same locations many times, prepared for one single shot and waited and waited until the light was as they wanted it to be.

That said: Any of his mistakes he so honestly talks about could have been avoided if more time were available. Of course you could learn: next time, do not forget:, do not shoot wide only or do move the camera's position. But then you forget other things, because you already think about using the drone for video or the next location. I'd skip all the drone stuff: Either do photography or do video. Take two days: Shoot video, watch them and then do the photography.

Thanks for the video.