Checklist before you snap the shutter

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by RONDAL, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    I am trying to develop some kind of routine for taking photos....not to say I want it to be a science free of any creative influence, but more times than not I get home from taking some shots, upload my pics and go "dammit why didn't I adjust/do......"
    insert any of the following and othersl; change WB, ISO, shutter speed, F-stop, EV, use flash, frame better, etc.

    I am sure everyone has their own routine they mentally go through in their head when taking photos, whether they know it or not. I'm just wondering for those that realize they have a mini-list they go through, if they would share it for the benefit of those of us who forget things so that we can be sure to hit all the marks and not miss opportunities
     
  2. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    One technique, which was coined "Previsualization" by Ansel Adams, will help you.

    Before you even lift the camera to your eye you previsualize the final image. Then you adjust ISO, aperture, shutter speed, camera positioning and focal length to attain what you previsualize. As you consistantly get closer to creating photographs which emulates your previsualized images ... the better you are becoming.

    Gary
     
  3. DRoberts

    DRoberts TPF Noob!

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    Here is a short little "think through" that I do.

    Subject - Obviously the point of the photo, the rest of the shot is solely to enhance the subject. My main question to self..."Is this a picture?"

    Background - Does it add to the story or confuse? Some photos require its suroundings to explain itself. Does the background add to your goal? If not, and if possible, see if there is a better view or angle. Decide if you will blur or use the background.

    Foreground - In one sense same as background, in that it must add, or be a part of the main subject. Also be aware of tree limbs, wires, etc that will be dificult to remove in PP.

    Test Shots - Don't let anyone tell you they don't do test shots, that they just automatically know how to set their gear everytime. Take some test shots and play with your settings. This is assuming it is a still subject or controlable and recreatable.

    Meter - So many beginers forget to pay any attention to the light meter in the viewfinder. Pay attention to it.

    Consider Bracketing - Landscapes and stills I like to bracket. Just leaves more options in PP for me.
     
  4. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For those working in b&w film, a more than passing acquaintance with the Zone system is a good start.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When I started out with photography this sort of idea above was just not possible at all. Oh I might get an idea of a photo that I wanted to create but I would have no idea of the settings I was using would be the right ones - also sometimes I had a sight and didn't know how I wanted it to look but I knew the components that I wanted to be in the photo.
    That is the position we pretty much all start in and you can't avoid it - sure teaching and training can get you a bit further along and a natural eye for your subject can really help define the components, angle and arrangment for your photo - but you still have to go through the lost phase.
    Infact I would say that the lost phase comes with each different subject type (broadly speaking) that you work with - learning to shoot a persons portrate is very different to shooting a buildings portrate - though key skills between the two will be similar.

    My point is that the idea of previsualising is going to take time to come to you and that at first your going to make a lot of mistakes as you learn how the camera works, how the light works and how the subject works; and that this is a perfectly normal way of things. It can take time to get through this phase and one of the best ways is to always shoot and experiment - it was done in film days too just that it cost them for each and every shot - so people learnt from their mistakes. Today you can shoot in digital and its all free and you might just ignor the shots that don't work - - dont' look at them and learn why they "failed" (in your eyes) and build on that aspect.
    You can also limit yourself - give yourself only 20 shots for the day/event and only shoot those 20 shots - no more - it will force you to think more before you press the shutter.


    Getting a bit back to the main question I used to think that previsualizing was all well and fine for a landscape shot or a building or a portrate shot - the subject won't suddenly turn its back on you - run away or such - it will remain where it is - plus you have control over things - you can control the lighting (come back on a better day or use studio lighting) and also (for some) control the main subject as well.
    My areas of interest being wildilfe (insects, zoo, park, wild etc...) I always felt that there was no time to visualize the shot before I took it - I had to shoot when the opportunity was there - even in zoos the animal can move to an undesirable location or pose. There is a level of urgancy that you get the shot and get it quick before you miss it.
    However I would say now that this is not always the case - infact I would say that I am beginning to learn that one can have a lot more time than you think to visualize a shot and then take it. Part of this is learning the eye for your subject - learning what you want out of the shot for yourself and defining the style of your shooting and what you want out at the end of it --- yes many times you won't get that chance and you have to rely on other things such as some base rules -- rules of thirds - rules of getting the focus on the eyes (as in wildlife). These "rules" can be broken if you can visualize the shot where it will work - but they are good grounding all the same


    ok I think I have waffled enough now ;)
    to shorten things down my main thinking method (As far as there is one) in general is - nail the eyes! For me getting the eyes in focus is almost all important - if they are missing the focus then there is a very high chance that the shot is failed - after that it goes down to more personal prefernce, lighting and what I have to work with. My style is (at the moment) to very much try for a portrate shot of the animal - so getting in close - partly as I really like capturing fine details in my photography. However I am learning now the art of getting a shot with more of the animal (that is noting before pressing the shutter that all paws, tails, ears and nose are in the frame!) and trying for something where I might capture less fine details but get an overall better compostion over the whole image
     
  6. 16ale16

    16ale16 TPF Noob!

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    I tell you one thing: start making mistakes!! A thing that's very important that you can be the critic of yourself. Just start having pictures that satisfy your eyes, than think about other's impressions.

    I tell you that is very important to understand what you're going to capture, so before aiming with the eye into the camera, look at what you're seeing and analyze: which WB? Whic DOF is necessary? Which time do I need? Etc. etc.

    Than open your picture and analyze once more it, thinking about what you like and what you would like to change. Than go to the EXIF data and try and understand what went wrong.

    There are no written rules, but only words that MIGHT help you. You can read even for all your life, and I think that it's a good practice, but take pictures.

    It's not easy, but that's the way!!
     
  7. LarryD

    LarryD TPF Noob!

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    Get in the habit of "scanning" the controls of your camera.......

    When you pick the camera up and turn it on, you should be able to see the top like reading a book....Mode dial, (check) Display read-out: Battery-WB-IQ-f-stop- Metering mode-Pics left-Single shot-Exposure Comp (check); then camera to the eye....

    Rough frame, focus point and meter check......is it what you want.......?

    Compose and take the shot....take a deep breath and take a couple more.

    As for ISO.....Pick one - a low one...use it all the time..... always make sure your camera is on that ISO...unless you specifically change it for one particular shot or series...then change it back..

    well........that's my 2 cents..:D
     
  8. RONDAL

    RONDAL TPF Noob!

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    thats helpful thanks.
     
  9. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    I quoted the whole message because it's so good. I do have some different ways of looking at it.

    Rule #1, remove the lens cap. :mrgreen:

    OK back to guidelines and things that run through your mind, eventually they become unconscious.

    First thing, is never stop learning new things. Before you can be creative, you need to nail down the essentials and the basics. You crawl before you walk, walk before you run, and when you are running, you start going for more speed and distance. Same with photography.

    Build on a solid foundation. It can't help you to read and change things, if you don't have a solid understand of the basics. It's the boring part for some. The understand of ISO, aperture and shutter speed and how each one relates to the others, and how each variable effects the results is absolutely necessary knowledge.

    Does your camera have a letter "P" or "Auto"? Ignore them and start thinking. :thumbup: The three basic variables are your essential tools. You camera has only three modes, AV, TV and Manual.

    I translate make mistakes into = EXPERIMENT. Be free of limitations and following a precise set of unvarying rules. After you get the shot you think you want, change some settings, look again and re-take it. Don't be happy with getting the shot, try to see other variations.

    Look at the EXIF data on the shots you like, and look at the ones you don't like, so you can set in your mind, what caused things to happen the way they did. (or not work the way you wanted them) Here's where I go a little off the usual, but we can't remember everything. Get a pocket notebook... TAKE NOTES! You can go back to your notes, and if you are taking some notes while you are shooting, you can go back to the EXIF data and compare to your notes. This will reinforce what you see and do and enhance your learning.

    And that last one, which I always like to include as the punctuation for anything else. If you are too serious and wrapped up, you can't be free to express yourself. Enjoy yourself, it will show in your photos and visualizations. HAVE FUN!
     
  10. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    You just did all that? Then I can answer the original question. ;)

    I see a shot... then,

    1) I look at the lighting. Do I want to move? Do I want to use fill flash?

    2) What's behind the subject? Is the background pleasing? Will it add or detract. Trust me I still get photos with things behind the subject and sometimes a pole or tree growing out of someone head. Is the background contrasting, which can bring out the subject, or will it blend in and make the image look flat?

    3) If it's moving, how fast do I need to shoot.

    4) If it's standing still, how much depth of field will give me the best shot?

    5) Expose for the shadows or the subject? Pick a metering point that will give the best overall latitude in the image.

    6) Check my camera settings? Compose. Shoot.

    This has nothing to do with concepts, creative ideas, angles, lenses, and all kinds of other things. I hope this answers the what comes first question.
     

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