Before you get halfway through a shoot and realize you left the ISO on 1200 or white balance on tungsten it is a good idea to make is a part of your photo shoot habit to check and reset all your camera’s settings. To help me get my best shots I have come up with a short pre-photo shoot camera check list.  These are all the things I need to quickly verify are as they should be for the shoot I am about to do and not as they were for the last time I was photographing.  Your camera or specific needs may be a little different but this should be a good starting point for you to make a check list of your own.

  1. Anti-Shake (Stabilizer) On/Off – When shooting on a tripod it is a good practice to turn this feature off.  So if the next shoot does not include a tripod make sure you turn it back on.  Or vice versa.
  2. ISO Setting – You may not adjust this setting much depending on what and how you photograph, but check it to make sure it is set for the lighting condition of your current shoot.
  3.  Manual / Auto Focus – You’ll notice if this is not set right pretty quickly, but helps to make it a habit to make sure it is where you need it to be.
  4. RAW/JPEG Setting – I rarely shoot anything other than RAW, but there is always that one time which could ruin the photo shoot the next day.  Better to just check each time.
  5. Drive – This may be called something else on your camera, but it is where I set my bracketing and continuous shot settings which I change often.
  6. White Balance – Maybe you leave it on auto all the time, but if you ever alter this setting for various lighting conditions  you’ll want it on your check list.
  7. Focus Area – This includes Wide, Spot or Local for the Sony Alpha 850 I shoot with, but whatever your camera calls it, it’s better to have it set where you need it before you start shooting.
  8. Clean the Lens – OK, so this is not a camera setting, but it is something you should definitely get in the habit of doing every time you go out to photograph.

There you have it, eight quick and easy things to check every time you pick up your camera for a photo shoot.  Making sure you have your settings right can save you a lot of time and trouble.  Did I miss any that you have on your list?  Let me know in the comments.

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