3 Mistakes New Photographers Make With Their Cameras. Are You Guilty?

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There are three common mistakes that I see new photographers make all the time.

 Even though they seem like small things, the results could be devastating.  Are you guilty of any of these mistakes?

The other day I sent the kids off to school, blew off work and headed to Disneyland with my husband. We live so close we can hear the fireworks every night, but we almost never make the time to get there.

The rides and attractions are awesome, but my favorite part is the people-watching. People from all over the world gather and I find it all fascinating.  

And even though the crowd is literally from everywhere, I noticed one common theme among the camera carrying folks.

3 seemingly small mistakes that could absolutely destroy their cameras.

And these are all things that could be fixed. 

MISTAKE #1

Leaving your lens exposed when you’re not shooting.

Lenses are an investment. And good glass costs big money. Even if you use the kit lens that came with your camera ~ it arrived in your hands pristine from the manufacturer. No scratches, dust or fingerprints. And the good folks at Canon & Nikon and all the other companies know that in order to get the best images from their cameras, that glass needs to stay clean. So they give you a cap to keep it covered up when you’re not shooting with it.

About 80% of the people I saw walking around the park today did not have their lens caps on. The cameras bounced along at their side with no protection on that glass. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me!

The solution is obvious. Use your lens cap when you're not shooting.

But, if that just isn’t going to happen, use a filter.

If dirt or smudges happen, at least they will be on the filter and not on your actual lens.  And, if you bang the glass into anything, a filter is super cheap to replace compared to a lens.  

Two common filters used to protect glass are the haze filter and sky (or skylight) filter.  A haze filter is intended to cut down haze, and a sky filter is intended to reduce the blue in daytime images.  But they both do great at protecting your glass while having little effect on your shot.

Many photographers will say that you shouldn’t add any filters at all, because you’re degrading the quality of the glass overall when you add to it.  Why pay for a quality lens when you’re going to slap a $12 filter on the end?  But if it protects a lens that was otherwise unprotected – use the filter.  

What you need to know to order a filter or lens cap.

The focal length of your lens doesn’t tell you what size filter or lens cap you need to order.  You need the diameter. Look at your lens, and either towards the front or right on the front you will see something like Ø67mm.  That’s your diameter, and the size you need to order for lens caps and filters.  

On the left is a 24-70mm lens and on the right is a 70-200mm lens.  The numbers circled in green show the diameter.

camera lens filter size

If I wanted filters for these lenses, I’d order these:

MISTAKE #2

Not using your lens hood.

The lens hood comes with the lens, and it’ specific to the lens it fits. Wide angle lenses have small lens hoods. Zoom/Telephoto lenses have longer lens hoods.  Occasionally you’ll get a lens with no lens hood.
The lens hood serves to main purposes.

The first is to shade the lens from stray light.

When light hits your lens, it can cause flares or just reduce the overall contrast of your shot. So the lens hood can help by blocking out some of that light. Unless you’re purposely going for a sun-flare look, you’ll want to block your lens from direct light.  

The second thing the lens hood does is protect the front of your lens.

If you’re walking around anywhere with your camera hanging on you, it’s very possible it will be bumping into things as you move around. I would much rather have to replace a cracked lens hood than a banged up lens – either the housing or the actual glass.

And if you double-whammy the carelessness with no lens hood or lens cap, you can really do some damage quickly.

MISTAKE #3

Being careless with your camera strap.

I can’t tell you how often in one day I saw cameras dangling on a single shoulder of a parent with small kids in tow. One wrong bending over and that camera is going down – to the ground. Add to this the lack of a lens cap and lens hood and you’re likely to see some serious damage. If you don’t like the strap that came with your camera, there are lots of different options.

Put the strap either around your neck or wear it sling style across your body. Whatever you do, don’t let it hang on a single shoulder where it could slide off and crash to the ground.  

Aren’t these pretty?  And very affordable!  

FYI all the Amazon links on this page are affiliate links.  

If you click through and purchase any items on Amazon,  I receive a small commission, but you still pay the regular prices that Amazon sells items for.

Are you guilty? Have you been living on the edge?
Or worse, have you seen the results of doing any of these three things?
Drop me a note in the comments below!
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Three mistakes new photographers make with their cameras. Are you guilty?
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