5 Mistakes I Made with Digital Photography

In 2004 I switched from film to digital I made many mistakes, that I am sure new photographers are also making. Here are my top 5 mistakes.

  1. Shot jpeg

    If I had been shooting raw I would have been able to open up the shadows adding some more detail and help improve the contrast.

    With my first DSLR in 2004 I had the option to shoot raw, but I didn’t. It actually took me a year before I switched the file type to raw. One of the reasons I didn’t shoot raw was that Photoshop 7 didn’t have an option for editing raw files and I had to use Canon’s raw converter which was and still isn’t that great.

  2. Directly edited my digital negatives


    So much fake blur and dark contrast all edited on the original capture image.

    While shooting Jpeg I would edit these files directly, in essence destroying my negative. Before shooting digital I would scan my film and not worry about editing the scanned file because I had the negative filed away. I have lost these original files forever and only have the edited files now.

  1. Edited Destructively


    There are ten versions of this image, edited just before I started editing non destructively.

    It took about two years from shooting digital to editing non-destructively. I used to make all the changes to an image on one layer, I then started making changes and saving the image as a new file to let me back track. I then learnt about layers, layer masks and non-destructive editing. I try not to think of how much wasted time I spent back tracking through files to make simple changes in the editing process.

  1. Didn’t read the camera instructions


    so much of this image I can now do in camera by playing with the camera profile. Would not have known this if I hadn’t looked at my camera manual.

    When we get a new gadget (or toy) we throw a side the instructions and jump into using it. That’s what I did with my camera. I thought it was the same as a film camera, only digital. A few years later I found the manual flicked through it and learnt so much more about what my camera could do. When I got my most recent camera the first thing I did was read the manual because you never know what hidden gems are in there.

  2. Didn’t start a blog


    I worked on many projects that have never seen the light of day. Maybe it is time to share them online.

    One of the biggest mistakes was not starting a blog. I had so many digital files that I half heartily put on Flickr and then took down and would sometimes put on social media (myspace, remember that place), although I never started a blog. If I had it would be ten years old now, imagine. There is no point in taking pictures if all you do is hide them on your hard drive.

Let me know your thoughts and mistakes you have made with digital photogrpahy in the comment box below.

Just a reminder that you have until the 6th of November to vote in the before and after forums poll, which will choose the image the participants will be editing for the half year post. Head here to vote.

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33 thoughts on “5 Mistakes I Made with Digital Photography

  1. You are so correct about the manual; you’ve made a crucial point. I find the same with my iPhone. With my DSLR I’ve only scanned the manual. I find that I am using my iPhone more and more, mainly as a personal challenge. I just got the iPhone 6, and for the first time am reading the manual, and searching for others suggestions about the built-in features. It’s amazing what even one new insight can reveal.

    • Reading the manual is a top mistake, have become obsessed in doings so with so many things. Even my fridge came with a manual that as taught me a thing or two. With my galaxy S3 I didn’t read the manual as I had had a tablet before and another android phone and most was second nature.
      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Ben, these are all wonderful errors to point out, and I have made each of them, though being primarily a Lightroom user, at least I have my original files (for the most part). Embarrassed to admit that I just began shooting in raw (even having taken a trip to Yellowstone this summer! What was I thinkng??)! Thanks for sharing your thoughts – right on point for so many of us.

    • Stacy, I would never have thought had just started to shoot raw, I know feel like we are in a RA group ( Raw anonymous) sharing our confession. As I said to Sue, once you have got Photoshop and Lightroom, raw is the obvious step and not a big leap.

    • I think starting in Jepg is fine when you are first learning, as composition and exposure are more important to get correct before moving into editing. I can understand looking back in hindsight, this whole post is just that.

  3. Haha..been there, done it, got the Tshirt! Your points 1, 2 and 3 were exactly what I did! But we have to learn the hard way sometimes…. I think it took me a good 6 months before I shot RAW.

  4. I’ve made all of these errors at one point, and still do some now. I was carrying my manual around the other day thinking I’d read it in some down time. It didn’t happen, but at least I’m one step closer!

  5. Yep, slowly working my way through all of them. At least, now, thanks to an earlier comment from you, I am shooting RAW. A lot less fuss now I also have (although still very limited knowledge) Lightroom.

  6. I think don’t start a blog actually is not a mistake, is a wise option indeed. Because when you publish is probably that at least you have a workflow that harmonize with your vision.
    The other mistakes are indeed mistakes but they helped you (as helped me) to understand the use of filters, cameras and software. A good rule in any craft is to make the most of mistakes to don’t repeat them in the future.

    • For me a blog is a place where you can share photos in your own controlled place, but also with a blog you can form a community where others can see and give advice and critique of your images, a useful place to learn. I recommend to my students to create a blog to share their progress and ideas so they don’t mature in a closed box.
      Thanks for commenting.

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