Hey, how’s it going? I’m Andy Jones and this is episode 119 of the Photography Side Hustle podcast.

I had a proud moment last week when Robin Green in the Facebook group posted some of her first magazine covers after taking my Photoshop course. Good job Robin.

Okay, the sequel continues because this week’s episode is Common Mistakes 6.

Let’s get started with …

Not Organizing Your Photos

I have been guilty of this one in the past, and it makes finding past photos a massive pain in the you-know-what.

You need a system that you use for all your photos, that makes finding images painless.

I use Lightroom and it’s set up so every session I upload, a new folder for that day is created called whatever the date is. I then add a description to the end of the folder name. So a folder will be named August 18 – macro or August 18 – Jenny Smith portraits.

All of the folders are in a yearly folder, so if you shot a wedding two years ago on the 20th of June, you just need to look in the 2021 folder for the 20th of June photos. 

You need to get organized as soon as possible, not five years from now.

Okay, next is …


Ignoring the Histogram

Not using the histogram to check the exposure while shooting. This is something you need to check after taking the first few photos during a session.

The histogram is the graph on the rear LCD screen. It shows you the type of light your image is made up of. On the far left is black, and on the right is white. 

Just looking at your LCD might not be an accurate way to go. If you have the LCD brightness turned up high, your photo won’t look the same as the image on the back of your camera.

If the histogram is mostly on the left that means there is a lot of black in the image. This might be intentional or the photo could be under-exposed.

So, if you are taking a photo that is well-lit and the histogram is mainly on the left you need to get more light in. If the histogram is mainly to the right you have too much light and need to reduce it.

Balancing the light meter should give you a properly exposed photo, but sometimes it pays to check the histogram.


Underestimating the Power of Editing

A lot of photographers claim they like their photos to be perfect straight out of the camera and because of this, they don’t need to edit them.

To do this they have to shoot JPEGs. Cameras produce a RAW file and then do a mini edit and save it as a JPEG. 

So the photographers that say they don’t need to edit their photos, actually get the camera to edit them.

The only way to go is to shoot RAW files and edit them yourself. When you are happy with the edit you export them as JPEG files.

Editing is half of a photographer’s creative process. So it’s important to learn how to do a basic edit and improve the quality of your photos.


Next is …

Ignoring the “Golden Hour”

A few weeks ago I passed a local park and saw a photographer with a young couple. It was a little after noon on a bright sunny day. 

I just drove on shaking my head, because if they had done the photo shoot at 6.30 pm until sunset the photos would have been way better.

If you don’t know, there are two golden hours. The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The light has a beautiful warm glow and if you add a little flash the results can be amazing.

So don’t book a session at midday, if you can do it just before sunset. If it’s a family shoot with young kids it might be too late for them so try to do the shoot in the early morning as the sun rises.

Next …


Lack of Experimentation

Not trying different techniques or shooting different subjects is a missed opportunity. 

If you shoot family portraits, try taking some landscapes. It’s a totally different way of capturing a photo. You might think it doesn’t help you in any way but it will. If you can take a photo of a beautiful landscape, why can’t you take a family to the same spot and take their portraits with the landscape as the backdrop?

Try shooting a sporting event, again a totally different way to shoot.

If you can figure out how to shoot portraits, landscapes, and sports then you are capable of doing weddings. Wedding photographers need to know all of these skills.

If you can’t be bothered learning different techniques you won’t be ready when that life-changing offer to shoot something outside of your comfort zone comes along.

Next …

Not Paying Attention to Details

Overlooking small distractions or imperfections that could be easily fixed before taking the photo. 

Start looking at everything in the frame before taking the photo. Always check the background. 

Ask yourself, what would this shot look like if I took a step to the right or left? Would it be better if I got down low? 

Shoot the details and control what is included in the image.


Next …


Overthinking Equipment

This is something that most photographers have suffered from at some time in their careers.

If you are just starting out and have an entry-level camera and kit lens, don’t stress over your camera body. If you are ready to upgrade, get a professional quality lens. You don’t need to change the body, lenses are where you should spend your money. If money is tight, buy used lenses and save money.

If you want to shoot Flash don’t go out and buy a complete studio setup. Buy one Speedlight, a light stand, a softbox or umbrella, and a trigger.

Learn how to use it first, then you’ll know what you need.

The most expensive equipment won’t guarantee your photos will improve. A good photographer can still capture amazing photos with a 10-year-old body and a 50mm 1.8 lens. Knowing what settings to use is more important than having the latest camera body.

Next …


Being Afraid of Critique

If you are afraid of showing people your work and what they think about your photos, then starting a photography side hustle isn’t for you.

When an experienced photographer looks at your work and says that something in the background is distracting, listen to them. That one comment can change the way you compose your photos going forward. 

There are lots of lessons to learn and mistakes to correct, so, if you can get some help from fellow photographers go for it.

Yes, there are some people who seem to get pleasure from ripping someone’s photos apart, the technical term for these people is “Dick”. So don’t worry about the dicks out there, most people genuinely want to help you and give their two cents.

So post your photos in groups and forums and ask for constructive criticism. If you can get one piece of feedback that helps you improve, then it is worthwhile.

Before you give someone feedback, remember, be helpful, don’t be a dick.


Next …


Not Capturing Candid Moments

That is relying solely on posed shots and missing out on capturing genuine emotions and interactions at family shoots and weddings.

Some photographers only shoot posed photos, which is fine if you are in a studio, but not getting candid shots at a family session is a missed opportunity. 

If you have kids, you know when a photo captures your child’s character. In most posed photos the subjects are trying to smile, or do what the photographer is asking them to do.

So capturing some candid photos is really important and your customers will appreciate it.

I would always keep shooting after a posed shot so I could capture the interaction between the subjects. Getting the reactions to someone telling a joke or someone falling off a chair is priceless as long as no one pops a hip.

So take photos of everything, not just the posed shots.

Okay, that is the Common Mistakes 6 episode.

If you need help with anything, you can find me in the Facebook group, and if you want to learn how to use Photoshop, you can find the course at

Right, I’ll be back next week, talk to you soon, bye.