A Common Mistake New Photographers Make: A Lack of Focus

In this blog article I will share a very useful tip which Brendan Van Son explained to me when I was on the second day of his photography workshop in Hucachina, Peru.  He saw what I was doing when trying to photograph the above scene and saw that I was making the same mistake that lots of photographers make when photographing landscapes and showed me where I was going wrong.  His advice helped me out a lot and enabled me to get a much better photograph.

Hucachina itself was so much fun.  It was really nice walking around the Oasis and taking in the Sun even though it was actually winter in Peru.  The fun really started though when we got some dune buggies and raced up and down the sand dunes!  It was a bumpy ride but incredible fun.  You can see all the fun that we had and hear me talk about my photos in the below video.

We finished having fun on the sand dunes just in time to photograph the town of Hucachina and its oasis as the sun was setting. Looking down from the sand dunes it was a beautiful view. Originally I was photographing as wide as I could which on the lens I had was 12mm.  Although, because I have a micro 4/3 camera, taking into account the crop factor, this was the equivalent of 24mm.

I was trying to photograph the entire scene below me however as my camera and lens could not go wide enough it was impossible to get everything in and so I ended up with an awkward crop either side of my frame.  Brendan noticed this and pointed it out to me and said that many photographers feel that they need to photograph everything and get everything in the frame and when you can’t, which is often the case, you end up with these bad crops.

He told me rather than trying to get everything in, I should change my perspective and only concentrate on part of the scene, making sure I then got a nicely framed and composed image.  The resulting photo I then got at the top of this page was so much better than the ones I had been taking earlier.  You can see my original photos before Brendan pointed this out to me in the video above.

It’s a simple piece of advice but one that is very effective.  Simply don’t try to photograph the entire scene if it is impossible to do so.  You do not need to photograph everything and you can very often get a much nicer photo if you only focus on part of the scene.

I’ll be writing blog posts from each of the different locations we visited on the ‘Your Photo Adventures’ travel photography workshop in Peru with Brendan Van Son and Jeff Bartlett so sign up to my newsletter to stay up to date and be informed of new posts.

This is a syndicated blog post from photographer Chris Gouge. It and the images here are being used with permission.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.