I saw a post similar to this one somewhere, and I thought it would be a fun exercise. Maybe you could learn from the mistakes I've made, and I can reflect on things I still need to improve.
10. (This is an old one) I cared too much about gear and specs. You've heard it said that it's the photographer that makes the camera, and I am a full believer in this. You don't need the nicest camera on the market if you're a beginner, get a cheaper one and get a new one when you feel like that one is limiting you. If there's anything that is good to spend money on, it's probably a lens, anyway. Cameras these days are all good, they're all comparable to each other.
9. Attaching my settings as a caption in each photograph. I'm not saying that you need to keep this a secret, but no one really cares what f-stop you used. Some people may ask you, but for the most part, I feel like it comes off as showy to offer it up every time. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with it, except that it's unnecessary, unless you're helping people learn how to do long exposures or get more bokeh.
8. Copying cool photos I found on the internet. This is fine, to a point, but I found myself not being able to come up with ideas unless I browsed flickr for a couple hours first. Somewhere, I think on Facebook, Jeremy Cowart (probably my favorite photographer/inspiration) said that photographs should be like songs; you need to write your own, instead of making a cover of someone else's. I don't have the exact quote, but that's basically it. Now, I try to avoid looking online for ideas with portrait shoots and keep a notebook of ideas that come to me as I go.
7. Thinking that limits were actually limiting. That sentence sounded a bit like self help mumbo jumbo, but I found it to be true. The times where I've been burnt out on photography were the times I said that I ran out of cool places to take photos. What I've discovered is that any place can be turned into something else with the right lighting and composition. Now, my eyes have been opened to all of the possibilities that are contained in my "mundane" surroundings.
6. (Also an older one, which you will probably figure out) Thinking film is an obsolete medium of photography. I have been working on another post the past couple days entitled "Blurred Lines" where I talk about how film and digital photography now go hand in hand. At first, I felt like I just needed to learn how to work in a darkroom to more appreciate photoshop and my DSLR. (If anything I began to have destain for my digital gear) Now, I use film and digital interchangeably. I'll talk more about this in my other post though.
5. Being afraid to call myself a photographer. There are about a thousand photographers per square mile, at least around these parts. It's tempting to want to avoid being compared with a mommy blogger who takes photos of her baby, or the guy who just picked up a camera and started charging for portrait shoots the next day. Being met with that eye-roll when you're just another photographer can be tough, but at this point who cares? It's what I do, and I think I do a good job.
4. Believing that being a professional photographer would be pretty easy. It's been a long time since I thought this, but when picking up photography in high school I didn't know anyone who was into it like I was. Then, I went to college, and I met a whole lot of people like me. I assumed I was a rare breed. (Keep in mind I lived on an island in the middle of the pacific) Now, competition is fierce and quite honestly, pretty scary. Fortunately, I'm not interested in being a wedding photographer, because there's plenty more competition there. Just for clarity, I really appreciate the love for weddings that wedding photographers have, and I'm constantly in awe of the patience some of them I know have.
3. Looking to photographers for inspiration. Not saying this is a bad thing, but it can be quite limiting. There are other people in this world having the same struggle as you, but maybe with a different artistic medium. One section of artists I have found very inspirational are writers. That's right, a photographer finds writers inspirational. If you think about it, they are undergoing the same struggle of an oversaturated market, but much worse. The world has been oversaturated with writers for years before photographers were common. The clutter of books a writer has to break through is completely insane. Despite the daunting task of getting your book read, authors keep at it, even if only 3 people will read their book. I guess you could say this about many artists, but that seems the most commercially applicable.
2. Buying the biggest, baddest camera I could find. This goes back to number 10. It's not that I regret having a really nice camera, but at the time, I could've stood to buy a little lower. Last year, I bought a Nikon D800, because I wanted to be able to make large prints. You know how many large prints I've made since getting that camera? 1, I think. Now, with my portrait endeavors, I'm glad I have this camera, because I really find it great for portrait shooting. A year ago, I feel like a D600 would have done the job just fine.
1. Being afraid that beginner photographers were de-valuing my work. Unlike any other medium or skill, for some reason people feel like they can pick up a camera and call themselves a photographer. I couldn't pick up a violin and suddenly be a violinist, but for some reason owning a camera gives you that title. Many professionals are bitter towards beginners and have "trade secrets" to alienate these people. Here's the thing: crappy photographers and beginners cannot de-value a great photographers work. That's like saying I de-valued Paul Mccartney's work when I used to play my guitar. (Which was quite badly) If you're a good photographer, you shouldn't worry about a new or bad photographer stealing your thunder. It just isn't logical. If you are afraid of this, it's time to take a good hard look at the work you produce. The fact of life is, for any skill you pick up, there are a million more people out there interested in that same skill. (I'm preaching to myself here.) If I let that stop me, I wasn't as passionate about photography as I thought I was. I love how much people love the art of photography, and it's why I like teaching photography classes. It's cool that it's so accessible and so interesting to people.
I could list probably about 60 more mistakes I've made, because I had no trouble at all coming up with a list of ten. Learn from my mistakes, because trust me, I'm still learning from them as well.