The Number One Photography Mistake You Are Making

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Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend and are staying warm!  I know that when it gets down into the 30’s in Florida, I can only imagine what’s going on with my neighbors to the North.  With my end of the year review, I got a ton of feedback from you that some of your favorite posts to read were my photography tutorials.  I am so excited to hear that because they are some of my favorites to write!  It is probably the teacher in me.  Remember, I am completely self-taught.  If I can do this, so can you.  I have to say if there is one “mistake” that I find a lot of people are guilty of is something that is not always avoidable.  I use the term mistake loosely because I feel that everything is a learning opportunity.  If you are frustrated with how your pictures are turning out, I have a feeling this may be the reason why.


The Number One Photography Mistake You Are Making: Plus, How to Fix It!

photography tutorials. One photography mistake you are making and how to fix it. Blogging tutorials.


You are probably shooting in direct sunlight and in the middle of the day

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Here is why this is a problem.

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When you are shooting in the middle of the day, the sun is extremely harsh.  It is going to wash out your clothes and create tons of shadows.  Unfortunately, I had to shoot this past weekend in the middle of the day and it was extremely frustrating.  I tried to position myself up against the wall, sitting, standing, and Mark shooting me from all different angles.  It just didn’t work out.


I tried to increase my shutter speed up (1/640ms and 1/800ms) but still it was giving tons of weird shadows.

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Here is how to fix it

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Find the shade or use the back side of a building to cut off the rays of the direct sun.

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In this shot, it was still pretty sunny out but first thing in the morning.  I also had some building walls around to help.  Plus, we took advantage of a few puffy clouds and hurried to get this perfect capture.


If the sunlight is completely unavoidable, you can put your F-stop up to a higher number (for example F 11) which will let less light in, make sure your ISO is completely down to nothing and then play around with your shutter speed, increase it up to fire fast therefore, not letting as much light in.  Make sure your white balance is set to the “sunny” or outdoor symbol.  You can also set your own (tons of youtube tutorials on it).  Or shoot with the sun directly at your back.  That way you aren’t squinting into the sun and it’s not washing out the front of your outfit.

See no good.  The front part is washed out and the back part is dark.  I’m facing directly into the harsh sunlight.



Sometimes you just have to accept the circumstance you are in and be happy with a few usable pictures.  See how it’s still not really ideal though?  The sweater is half in the sun and the leggings are totally washed out.

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I recommend shooting first thing in the morning when the sun is not as harsh.  Remember how the sun behind you looks completely different….


Then, the sun directly at you.


I also love shooting when the sun is setting but just know it’s a ticking time bomb.  These pictures are so warm, glowing, and dreamy……but I only had about 10 minutes to get them before I lost all the light.


So the number one piece of advice I can give you is get up early and avoid that mid day direct sunlight.  Or be hopeful for those cloudy days without rain.   Those are perfection.

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I hope you liked this tutorial.  Do you find that you battle with the sun?  Did you know you were doing this and didn’t even realize it?  Do you wake up early to capture your shots?  If you liked this, I would appreciate if you would pin it and share!  Check out all my other photography tutorials here.

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24 responses to “The Number One Photography Mistake You Are Making”

  1. Sara says:

    I’ve just downloaded an all called Photo Pills to be able to identify the best times of day to shoot in certain locations. I love shooting in the early morning and at the end of the day!! It’s so counter intuitive to what people think.

  2. pia says:

    I always shoot in the shade, especially in the summer when the sun is so strong!
    Fash ‘n’ fudge
    Fash ‘n’ fudge

  3. Biana says:

    Oh the shadows, I’m sure there are quite a few in my post today LOL! Side note aren’t you happy you got that LV in charleston before it was sold out everywhere :) xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  4. I wish we would get some sun up here so we would have this problem ;) Stay warm!!

  5. Pamela says:

    Shooting in direct sunlight is the worst! I always try to find a shady spot or take pictures in the morning or at night to avoid that harsh sun. It’s so difficult in the summer when the sun is up at like 6:30 am haha! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  6. Karly says:

    Great tips, as always!!

  7. love these little tutorials. lighting is EVERYTHING!

  8. Rebecca Jo says:

    People get upset when their photo session days are not sunny… I try to tell them every time, be thankful – those are the best days. You can shoot anywhere & not limited to shaded areas.
    A tip for you – you can buy the reflectors that you can take off the cover & have them white – they have stands that you can hook them on & use as a shield overhead – or to put more at a 45 degree angle to cut the sun & get some pretty light flowing in – great for some close up looks in full sun ;)

  9. Kelsey says:

    This is so helpful!! I have so much to learn when it comes to photography so please keep sharing all your tips!

  10. Karly says:

    Hi! Real Karly here … (lol – NO idea what that’s about) These are fantastic tips as always! I’m definitely guilty of this at times because we don’t always have a choice with Ryan’s work schedule. But you’re right – cloudy days are ideal for photography.

  11. Kelsey says:

    Thanks for all this advice!! I love hearing your photography tips :) Does your hubby take most of your pictures?

  12. Lindsay says:

    Great tips, as always. I am all about those shadows, mostly because it is too much effort to get up so early and get ready for the good light (so lazy I know.) I also love shooting right before dusk because it can be so much amazing light!

  13. I have learned how much lighting makes a difference for sure! Light is good, but too much light is so bad. I don’t take too many pics like this outside for my blog, but so good to remember for photos when I get back to traveling. Thanks, as always, for sharing your knowledge!

  14. Stephanie says:

    Wow, thank you for this post!! I had no idea… I always shoot with the sunlight coming at me. DERP! Can’t wait to try it the other way, and that’s interesting about the clouds, I have noticed pictures turn out better with clouds sometimes. Just didn’t think it through that the clouds was the thing helping!! ;)

  15. nadine says:

    I have never really thought about the sun when taking pictures. Thanks for the tip! I will have to remember this for sure. I need all the help I can get with photography these days, I am going back to read your older posts on the subject as I dig out and blow the dust off our fancy camera and start playing with it. Do you know how much people want to take a few pictures of your kid?!?! Yeah, no. I am going to do it myself thanks!

  16. Tiffany says:

    Great tip! As much as we love the sun we don’t love it for photography.

  17. Emelia says:

    I just told my husband that my goal this year is to really up my photography and I have all your tutorials saved so I am going to be putting them to good use. I need to set aside the time weekly and really learn, and your pictures are an inspiration!

  18. Great tips gurlie! It’s amazing you and Mark are self-taught. I’m still struggling to shoot on manual and so confused with the ISO and other features to balance out the light. Thanks for the tips and hopefully I can one day step my game up. lol

  19. I too am self taught and this was something that I learned early on. Fortunately the sun rises on the opposite side of the house from our garage so we have some nice shade over the driveway in the morning… it’s perfect for taking OOTD pics. Now that I blog, I live for those perfect overcast days! I love the tips you provided for using the camera. I’m still learning how to shoot in manual so this is soooo helpful!

  20. Awesome tips! I’m a total dunce when it comes to photography and editing which is beyond apparent in my blog photos. But like you I love those magical minutes before sunset where everything glows <3

  21. Kathryn says:

    Such a great tip! I definitely am guilty of this and I agree I have to search for a couple of good shots. This was super helpful!!

  22. Kristina says:

    Great post, girl!! If Ryan takes my photos, we usually do it at golden hour-isa (because he does not want to get up early for that). But I remember when I was at Wynwood Walls- they didn’t open till 10 and then it was super bright, but we’d just wait for the cloud coverage. Gotta make it work!

    xo, Kristina
    Medicine & Manicures

  23. Truly love these posts! with my camera I do not know what I am doing so these tips are super helpful!

  24. Camille says:

    I love everything about this post. Those looks are gorgeous first of all, and I love your advice. Lighting is one of those things that I just still find so confusing! But once you understand it, you’ve got. Thank you for the tips!!

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