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1. Thinking that more expensive photography gear will make you a better photographer

This is a beginner mistake that not only doesn’t help your photography skills develop, it also hurts your wallet! It’s pretty natural for new photographers to want the fanciest cameras money can buy, but if you’re searching for a new camera…do your best to exercise restraint.

Do more expensive cameras with more robust features have tangible benefits? Absolutely, and this is why many professionals use cameras like the Canon 1DX Mark II, Sony a7R II, Nikon D810, etc. But, these benefits require advanced knowledge and skill to fully utilize, making less advanced and more affordable cameras a better fit for new photographers to learn the ropes on. Just like airline pilots don’t start out in the cockpit of a 747, it doesn’t make sense for beginning photographers to start out with the most complex cameras, even if they’re within your budget.

Entry level DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras like the Nikon D3300, Canon T5i, Canon EOS M10, Sony a6000, and many others are priced to be more affordable options, while still offering large sensors and great image quality.

Most entry level DSLR and mirrorless cameras come optionally bundled with a “kit lens” – a general purpose zoom lens like the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens that is great for learning with. Although most new photographers typically decide to invest in additional lenses at some point, it’s a good idea to learn the basics with the more affordable kit lens while you figure out what you really enjoy photographing. Some beginner photographers spend big money buying specialized lenses right away, only to find out that they prefer a genre of photography that doesn’t really call for those type of lenses at all.

Learning to explore the limitations of your current gear is one of the best ways to increase your photography skill. If you’re find that your photos are blurry, dark, or overexposed, you don’t typically need a new camera to solve these issues — you just need to learn more about exposure. A good rule of thumb for beginners to stick with to avoid accumulating photography accessories that seem like a good idea on paper but might never actually get used, is to only buy things when you actually need them.

Proper photographic exposure vs overexposure

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