Another random newbie question - mental checklists?
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum... there isn't really a subforum for "technique" that I can find.
In those dark and well-forgotten years when I attempted to play golf, I became familiar with the concept of "swing thoughts". Many golfers have a short mantra - 2 or 3 things they want to remember when lining up over the ball - to help them remember certain fundamentals or avoid bad habits.
Last weekend I was out taking a bunch of practice shots and about 5 shots into a particular setup I remembered that I had adjusted my ISO, and hadn't re-set it before starting the next series. If I'd been taking pictures I "cared about", that would have really ticked me off.
So I was wondering - do good photographers have a mental checklist in certain circumstances to help avoid dumb mistakes and/or remember important adjustments? Among the things I'm pondering are things like
-- turn off VR, cover the eyepiece and use remote when on a tripod
-- if I adjust ISO/WB/EC/picture control for a setup,
remember to RESET them before the next setup
-- consciously choose shooting mode, AF-mode, metering mode when
planning the shot
I guess the thing I'm doing, while climbing the learning curve of this amazing camera, is trying to be "deliberate" about my settings so that I build good processes/habits along the way.
Anyone else have a set of "reminders" they try to remember before pressing the button?
#1. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 0JosephK Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Tue 04-Feb-14 09:17 PM | edited Tue 04-Feb-14 09:20 PM by JosephK
>So I was wondering - do good photographers have a mental
>checklist in certain circumstances to help avoid dumb mistakes
>and/or remember important adjustments?
You have the right idea!
>turn off VR, cover the eyepiece and use remote when on a tripod
>consciously choose shooting mode, AF-mode, metering mode
>when planning the shot
>if I adjust ISO/WB/EC/picture control for a setup,
>remember to RESET them before the next setup
This is big one. For me, I manually reset my camera to my known "default" state at the end of every shoot (or end the day) before I put away the camera so that the camera is in a known (but not necessarily right) configuration the next time I pick it up for a new shoot.
Since all of my cameras have a mechanical "C-S-M" switch for auto-focus mode that can easily be changed by the bag, this is now the first thing I check every time I bring out any camera out the bag.
From the pinned "resources" thread at the top of this forum, get a copy of the settings spreadsheet. This will help you along with that mental checklist.
Seattle, WA, USA
D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, TC20e3,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX
#3. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 0DaveSoderlund Nikonian since 29th May 2010Wed 05-Feb-14 12:47 PM
For me the discipline of returning the camera to my "base" settings is the most important thing. I find it easier to do that at the end of a shooting episode than in the middle of things, where I might be trying different things.
I suppose you could designate U1 or U2 as your "base settings" -- then simply turning the camera off would get you most of the way home.
On my D90 I would chronically forget to turn off bracketing. Now that I have a D7100, I use U1 for my bracketing setting -- and I chronically forget to return the camera to A when done!
Seems like I need a firmware upgrade between the ears…
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#4. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 0Puddlepyrate2013 Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2013Thu 06-Feb-14 12:44 AM
It called "experience",the more you use your camera the more you will develope your own style and technique. We all have our own favorite subjects and shoot those subjects using a specific technique.
You will develope your own mental checklist overtime to work with your own personal shooting style.
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#5. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 0mdallie Nikonian since 02nd Jan 2011Thu 06-Feb-14 04:41 PM
I used to do wedding photography, and after getting burned a few times, I developed a laminated little card I carried and referred to often. It eventually became burned into my mind and, thus, it became my mental checklist.
There were two parts to it: (1) was the checklist any photographer would use; and, (2) special things about weddings to pay attention to.
On item (1), I kept it brief and simple to those things that were make or break:
* Check white balance
* Check ISO
* Check shutter speed
If I got those three right, I usually had an acceptable shot. You might ask why shutter speed instead of aperture. Actually, I usually shot aperture priority, but with weddings, you usually didn't have near as much light as you wanted so you were often shooting wide open (usually f2.8 for me). So the main thing was to make sure you had a shutter speed that wouldn't result in a blurry shot. Or, if you had to go with a slower shutter speed than you wanted, make sure you were using your flash to freeze the action.
As with others, I have U1 set up to give me my baseline settings so I can always get back to that pretty quick.
#6. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 0billD80 Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2007Fri 07-Feb-14 11:52 AM
There are some mistakes we make once... Like improperly loading film, so that instead of getting 36 glorious images of trees coated in ice, you get 36 images of nothing...
Double-checking ISO; Image quality (RAW for me); and the exposure compensation setting (0)...
I almost exclusively shoot Aperture priority, and the D7100 has a lock on that dial, so it's unlikely to get jostled out of position...
I use the self-timer instead of a remote, so there have been a few times next time out when I've wondered why the shutter wasn't releasing right away
I also reformat the SD cards on a new shoot once the images have been off-loaded onto my HD.
#7. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 6unclemikey Registered since 29th Apr 2013Fri 14-Feb-14 04:25 PM
I think most every situation was covered but I do think the resetting to a base line when the camera goes to sleep for the night is a good one. I shoot raw so that doesn't change but I will always open the shutter to its widest f:stop with WB on Auto, ISO at 100. I also set my dial to P in the event I wind up chasing a fire engine in the dead of night. At least I always know where I'm starting from until I can make necessary changes. One other item I always do is put a fresh SD card into the camera.
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#8. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 7km6xz Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sun 16-Feb-14 07:34 AM
In my other field, music recording, a missed or forgotten control on a mixing console with 2,000 controls was a constant concern so it became standard practice to "normalize" all the settings when finished with the task, meaning setting every one of them to the most neutural position. Same when putting my airplane in the hanger. With my cameras, every session finish is normalizing and cleaning the gear and repacking the bag. For me, normaled is setting all adjustmentS to off or center position. Since I primarily use manual mode the viewfinder will show, with a quick scan, all the relevent conditions. Rather than concentrating on the camera the more useful checklist would be visualizing the finished print and nature of the light. What real is the tone range, what minute shift of perspective would tell the story better or is mist flattering.
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#10. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 6
>I use the self-timer instead of a remote, so there have been a
>few times next time out when I've wondered why the shutter
>wasn't releasing right away
I've been burned a couple times on my D7000 because I'd used the remote the last time, and the "motor drive"/timer/remote/MUP dial was still set on "remote" so it didn't shoot when I pressed the shutter button. Ooops! This is opposite my D80 where the "remote" setting goes away when I turn the camera off.
#11. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 0
Absolutely a good idea!
I'm embarrassed to say I had such a lapse just yesterday. I was at a venue shooting some pics of miniature military models. I can't believe I never noticed I was shooting small jpegs instead of the RAW + jpeg I almost *always* shoot. Didn't notice it until almost done with the shoot. Luckily, the jpegs worked out okay for the casual purposes of these images, but it irks me I previously left the camera not in a settings mode I should have for my usual preferences.
#12. "RE: Another random newbie question - mental checklists?" | In response to Reply # 11Seragone Nikonian since 26th Jun 2012Wed 19-Feb-14 01:27 PM
Hello all, I am on vacation now and taking many many pictures and enjoying what members have suggested in recent threads about how to take better pictures. To this end my basic setting separates focus and exposure functions from the shutter. I also am keen on maintaining the right exposure comp,ISO and aperture settings as this makes a huge difference in the outcome when lighting is a bit dark or too bright. As this makes picture taking a little slower I find it useful to use a U to configure for a faster image capture set of settings. Thus, I use U1 to capture fast scenes, allowing the shutter to focus and expose, use AF-C, faster shutter speed, and auto ISO. I find this works great when riding on a bus and overlooking an amazing valley through the window. I discovered it is very important to check ISO and exposure comp every morning and after lunch regardless of which of my two basic settings are used.see ya, Stephen
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