What’s wrong with this picture?

Problem pictures that could have been fixed

This section of PhotographyTips.com contains pictures that have identifiable errors, illustrating mistakes commonly made by beginning and, sometimes, even by experienced photographers.

As you go through the images, you may see a picture that looks similar to one you may have taken yourself. If you don’t know what you did wrong, the text should help you to understand the cause of the problem and how to avoid similar problem pictures in future. The idea is that we can all learn from the mistakes of others, and it is this section that provides the explanations to help you understand and correct your photography mistakes.

For example, can you tell what is wrong with the picture of the chocolate lab puppy above? Look at the blurriness, particularly near the pup’s tail, his left paws and in the grass. The problem is that there was insufficient light when the picture was taken, so even at the obviously wide aperture (we know the aperture was wide because the depth of field is so shallow), the shutter speed was too slow.

The solution? There are several to choose from: use a faster film or a higher sensitivity setting in your digital camera that will allow a faster shutter speed, say ISO 400 or even ISO 800; or, employ a tripod, but only if the pup will stay perfectly still, which is highly unlikely unless it is sleeping; or, use your flash.

Check out our Pet photography section for more helpful tips and pointers on shooting the animals in your life.


If you have a problem picture of your own, and you don’t know what went wrong when you took it, email it to us and we will either reply personally by email or post it here (with your permission) so that everyone can benefit from the explanation. Use the “Submit your tip” link at the left (or click here) and type in “Problem picture” in the box marked “Title of Work”. Depending on the number of problem pictures we receive, it may take a while to get around to dealing with every one. We appreciate your patience if you don’t hear from us right away.

Check out our examples of common problem pictures

To view more common problems that many photographers encounter, and to learn how they could have been avoided, begin by clicking a “Problem picture” link below, at the bottom of the page. Or, you can start here, with Problem picture #1.

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