6 Photography Mistakes to Avoid

What Are Big Photography Mistakes?

I had a feeling that this video/blog post may help some people in our community by helping them not destroy their photo careers with photography mistakes. We’re in the midst of cancel culture and it’s easy to have all of your hard work gone in an instant if you don’t focus on correcting easy mistakes.


List Your Photography Crew: The model needs to know who exactly will attend their photoshoot, who will work with them (and on them), and they need advanced notice to vet everyone. This is a matter of personal safety and comfort levels. Do not make this photography mistake! It’s a crazy world, give them the opportunity to feel welcome and safe. The call sheet should come with everyone’s email and/or phone number, but the phone is the most ideal. The call sheet should come with exact address locations that you plan on using, including where to park and things to look out for.


24 Hour Warning: Call sheets (see above) should come 24 hours before the photo shoot. You’re dealing with all sorts of people from a variety of backgrounds. People need time to process and gather their thoughts. IF for any reason the talent needs an extra moment to say “I am not comfortable with this” – then let’s do it. Not because it’s professional to do that. It’s a big distraction actually! However, I think being a good human that takes care of others trumps anything professional. This is a simple photography mistake we can all avoid.


Models Do Not Like Surprises: Surprises are great, like surprising everyone on set with cupcakes! Surprising talent with an entirely new concept is not professional and can really set someone back. Major creative changes should be specified with a general shot-list.For example, a photographer asking the model to pose in their undergarments without them knowing ahead of time is terrible! That’s a major change that should be presented in advance and it allows the model to reject or approve this. On the other hand, a simple change is OK. Here is an example of a simple creative change for your photoshoot.You’ve told the model that they’ll be sitting on a tree branch in their green sweatshirt. Then you have a spontaneous idea to have her lay on the green grass because it’ll match her outfit. That’s a small change that still stays within in the creative realm. That’s not a major shift in their comfort levels or the creative.


Questionable Photographs: If you have a photograph that you love but the pose is questionable, perhaps a bit on the sexier side. Before you post and grab all of the Instagram LIKES…ask the model for their consent. Simply said, here is why:It’s their body and you’re putting it center stage for all to enjoy. Ask for permission please. The other part is that we generally value youthful looks, especially in America. We’re in a very ageist part of the world and that means many of the models you photograph are younger. That’s someone’s little kid, please keep that in mind when you post.


Chaperones On The Photoshoot Set: Allow the model or talent to bring a chaperone with them. After all, they don’t know you and things happen. I’ll put the initials here but a lot of S** TRAF**** happens, so please let them feel safe. Just because you allow chaperones on set, does not mean you cannot have a set of guidelines for them to follow. Ask the model to not bring their boyfriend/girlfriend or their over-protective father/brothers. That does have an immediate effect on their performance. Ask them to bring a friend(s), a cousin, or someone else they feel safe around.Also, do not let the chaperone stand behind you and snap BTS photographs, that’s also a photography mistake to avoid. They should sit on the side, out of the model’s eye-line. They are there for safety, not for anything else. Act the role and let the photographer do their job!


Are You Honest With Your Creative Direction: Be honest because the success of the photoshoot depends on it. Tell the talent where they are doing well and what isn’t working. Hiding the truth to spare feelings is a disservice to the job. Here’s how to say it the right way and the wrong way:


Do Not Say: “Oh, you don’t have the best smile so let’s just not do that as much cause it’s messing up the photos. 


Instead Say This: “I really love these photos of you, when you look at the camera with a serious pose. It works with what we’re doing. We can do some smiles but because it’s a more series mood…maybe a slight smile”
See! You can get the point across without destroying them and avoid that horrible smile. 


Knowing when to ask for help is a powerful position to be in. The way I see it you can either spend years figuring it out alone. Or you can spend a few weeks learning from someone who has already had success and start making money sooner, much sooner!


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Thank you for reading,

Walid Azami