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5 mistakes people make with their digital slr cameras

I see people everywhere with digital SLR cameras.  Today, I wanted to share with you 5 mistakes I see most people make:

5 mistakes people make with their digital slr cameras

Mistake #1:  Using the kit lens.

Kit lenses produces blurry and drab photos.  Two reasons I don’t recommend them is #1 they don’t stop down to a low enough aperture.  Which means if you are wanting to take photos in low light without flash or if you are wanting that beautiful blurry background we all know and love (bokeh) then you want a lens that offers a lower aperture.  And #2 it has a variable aperture which means when you zoom your aperture changes.  This makes it SO difficult to learn how to shoot in manual mode.  For more information and examples about why NOT to use a kit lens click here.

So what do you buy instead?  It depends on if you have a Nikon or Canon camera.  For Canon users I suggest the 50mm 1.8 lens and a Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 lens.  For Nikon users I suggest the Nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens and the Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 lens for Nikon.  The Canon 50mm 1.8 and the Nikkor 35mm 1.8 are the least expensive fixed lenses.  They will drastically change the quality of your images.  And the Tamron is what I suggest for people looking for a zoom lens.  I personally don’t buy lenses that don’t stop down to at least a 2.8 aperture so that I can shoot in low light and achieve that blurry background.  And notice that it’s a fixed aperture zoom lens which means the aperture won’t change on you as you zoom into and away from your subject like the kit lens.

Mistake #2:  Not insuring your equipment.

Insuring your equipment as personal property is so important.  For less than $75 a year you are protected against theft, dropping it, etc.  I insure mine through State Farm (who I have policies with for our home & automobiles as well).  Be sure to list the body and all lenses.  So worth it!

Mistake #3:  Keeping your camera in a bag in the closet.

If you don’t keep your camera out you are far less likely to use it.  I use to be that person — running to get it out when my kids were doing something cute.  And by the time I was back and ready the moment was over.  Now, I keep it in a drawer in the most used room in the house.  Ready to go.

Mistake #4:  Only having one memory card.

Memory cards will fail at some point…it’s just a matter of time.  Purchase a few of them and try not to shoot more than one event on each before backing them up to two places.

Mistake #5:  Keeping your camera in auto.

If you don’t learn how to use your camera in manual mode you essentially are not using it to it’s potential.  In auto it’s a glorified point & shoot.  And what’s the point of buying a $700 point and shoot anyway?  Take the time to learn how to use it in manual mode.  In manual, you get to choose all of your settings in nail your exposure each and every time.  I definitely suggest taking a class or workshop like ours.  They are the quickest way to learn the ins and outs of your camera and most importantly learn how to shoot in manual mode to start capturing amazing images!



  • melissa - Thanks for sharing these great tips. I have the 50mm/1.8 lens you recommend (and love it!) but I was hoping to find a multi-purpose zoom lens at a more affordable price. Does one exist or do you think the one you recommend is worth it to an amateur with a pretty basic camera body who is just taking pictures of her little one? Thanks for your advice!

  • Mia @ MakeMeUpMia - I got a Canon Rebel for Christmas and have figured a little bit out but can’t wait to learn more for sure! I am planning on taking your next 2014 class after the Jan one :)

  • Erin Vancura - amen sister. i love this!

  • Sara - All true… do you have an addendum through State Farm for your equipment? I just assumed that our home policy would cover it!

  • Jessica - I was wondering if you have a recommendation for a non-kit zoom lense for sports, etc. My kiddos are older and in to baseball and football, and I need a longer range zoom, but I also am not sure I am ready to commit to lenses that are $2K+. Any ideas or recommendations?

    Thanks!