If you're on this site, you're likely a photographer or interested in becoming a photographer. In either case, if you're new to this wonderful craft, there are some bad habits that can really hold you back, and they're worth noting. Here are five I think you ought to be wary of, but make sure to add your own in the comment section.
There are a lot of bad habits in any craft, and photography is no different. That said, not all bad habits are created equally and you can find yourself with some negligible ones, but some can be rather pernicious and affect you long-term. The earlier you realize you're settling into ways that aren't in your best interest, the sooner you can correct them. So, here are five common bad habits. This is, of course, far from an exhaustive list, so make sure you leave in the comments some you have either found in your own work or seen in others.
Shooting on Auto
I have nothing against shooting in auto per se, particularly given how intelligent cameras have become. It isn't always a bad habit, and it isn't always bad, but it depends on the shooter's aspirations with their camera and what they're trying to achieve in their current photography.
One of the greatest areas of photography to master is the trinity: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. There are, of course, myriad other influential factors, but understanding and utilizing these three settings is crucial if you want to improve as a photographer and be able to shoot in challenging conditions. Auto mode is powerful — very powerful, perhaps — but it can't do everything you're going to want to do, so ensure you use it as little as possible.
No File Management System
I won't name names, of course, but I had a photography student a few years ago who more or less prompted this section alone. He was particularly interested in wildlife photography, loved shooting birds, and was dedicated to getting better. He was the exact sort of person you want to tutor as, although he had only just bought his first camera, he was desperate for knowledge and experience. In fact, he was shooting far more than most people do, spending many days at the local nature reserves practicing.
There came a point where I wanted to discuss the other side of photography: the post-processing, the online portfolios, the file management systems, and so on. Well, as I'm sure you can infer from the heading, when I looked at his PC, I saw a modern-day horror story. All of his photos were in random, poorly named folders, sitting on his desktop, burned to discs (yes, those shiny circles we used to use), without a modicum of order. This is untenable! Create an image library and tend to it; you'll reap the benefits.
It won't come as much of a surprise that this section follows on from the last. While that photographer did indeed need to resolve both bad habits, this one was more preventative. However, far too many photographers don't have cloud and hard storage-based backups of their images, and it invites disaster. If this is you and you feel you just can't be bothered to go to all the effort of backing everything up constantly, I won't try to scare you straight. I'll just explain one element.
Some years back, I signed up for Backblaze and installed it on my PC. I set up all the drives I want to be backed up, and I leave the software running 24/7, 365. I will never think about any of my files unless I need to recover some. I just know that I can. It's a monthly subscription that is a waste of money until it isn't, then it's the best money I've ever spent.
Fixing in Post
There is nothing wrong with fixing parts of an image in post-production, but I believe there comes a point in every photographer's life where fixing in post feels easier than fixing it on location. This is a terrible habit to get into for so many reasons. Firstly, it's almost always the case that if you can fix it in camera, it's better than fixing it in post in terms of the final result quality. Secondly, not learning how to fix what you need to when shooting means you won't learn and grow as a photographer at the rate you ought to be. Thirdly, the budgeting of time becomes far more difficult when your post-production to-do list is growing exponentially.
Zooming Rather Than Moving
This is a common issue with beginners and one I believe to be particularly damaging. A zoom lens is often on the menu for newer photographers, either through a kit lens or through the purchase of one seen as a necessity. While they are useful, they can lure photographers into the habit of always adjusting the framing by zooming. I prefer shooting with prime lenses partially because I can't do this. Grab a cheap prime (the nifty-fifty always does well) and practice moving to get a better angle (where possible) rather than simply zooming. It's hard to unpack the value of this until the photographer has tried it and seen the benefits, but it's worthwhile.
What Are the Worst Bad Habits You Have Seen in Beginners?
I'm not sure what the worst bad habit is, and I'm not sure it's on my list, but the above five are certainly common and can be heavily detrimental. What bad habits have you suffered from that you had to correct? What is a common bad habit you have seen with photographers, particularly newer ones? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.