How do photographers keep track of their shoot settings?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by ted_smith, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith TPF Noob!

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    While browsing the Internet, or reading any book about photography, there's almost always an entry beneath the picture stating a mixture of the following, or all of them : Location\Title of subject the F stop used, Exposure, ISO film speed, Film type (manufacturer and version) The lense used The body used etc etc. I wonder, how do people keep track of all this with film photography? I realise with digital there's the EXIF data that tells you, but with film, how do people keep track? Bearing in mind of course that digital EXIF data has only been a convenience for the modern day photographer in say the last 7 years or so. And the entries I refer to go back decades. So my question : how do photographers keep track of it (paper and pen?), especially when shooting lots of film in a short period of time? Is there some information somewhere that I'm missing? Is it stored in modern film cameras somewhere? Or is there soom nifty accessory that you can use? Ted
     
  2. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    Pen and paper, that is why every shot is important. You don't go snapping them off aimlessly. They should be composed and therefore you have the time to write it down. The only time this wouldn't be the case would be a photojournalist that is under fire or something to that extent, however they know what their lighting is and what they are shooting, 1/125 at F8, etc.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Some of the higher-end, pro 35mm SLR cameras do have some way to record some of the settings....but mostly I've heard/seen people using a note pad or a small tape/digital recorder.
     
  4. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    I've always wondered about this, too. I tend to shoot off a roll of B&W faster than a jackrabbit on a date, so I've never written anything down. I also take multiple shots of the same thing. Maybe I need to add a small notebook and pencil to my bag and slow things down a bit.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I've tried to do this, but I'm horrible about taking notes. I just gave up. It also broke up the flow too much for me. Many of my shoots involved chasing kids around, and I didn't want to take my eyes off them to jot things down. It didn't matter much, though. For my own work, I chose the aperture I wanted (usually fairly open), and then let the camera meter pick the shutter speed. I'd only care about the shutter if it was slow enough for camera shake (I wanted at least 1/60 most of the time), or if I wanted to adjust up or down for strange lighting. The relative number was more important than if it was 1/125 or 1/1000.

    I think writing things down can be helpful for people. But if you find it doesn't work for you, don't feel bad about it. It's just one tool.
     
  6. astrostu

    astrostu Guest

    I did that while photographing a lunar eclipse in the 90s but it was a pain in the butt. Now, I don't take any notes. But it's all recorded automatically on my camera in the metadata of the image, so if I need it, I can easily access it.
     
  7. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    Yes, notebook and pencil, although I have just started using a digital voice recorder and writing up the notes when I get home. I sometimes sketch the scene as well when shooting landscapes, and record what the exposure values are at key places.

    In order to learn anything I need to know how I metered a scene, so I'll record what the exposure was and why - e.g. metered the deepest shadow under the foreground foliage, EV=7 on the spotmeter, so stop down one and then I'm using the orange filter so open up one for that, etc etc etc. I'm experimenting with development times to control the density of highlights, so I'm also interested in how the highlights metered so that I know the whole brightness range for that shot. I can't shoot more than a couple of rolls of 120 in a morning, less if I'm sketching too.

    Thom
     
  8. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And sometimes they guess. Oddly, I can usually remember shutter speed settings pretty well for a long time after the shoot. I can judge which aperture I used by looking at the lighting and the depth of field - or at least I can get pretty close. Guessing was and is very common.
     
  9. Weaving Wax

    Weaving Wax TPF Noob!

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    Well...I never write things down for the same reasons mentioned above, but when I do.. I usually write down the setting I used on the camera, which is usually Aperture priority or bulb, write down the exposure number, a short description of the scene and any other settings.. I don't usually take pictures of moving objects unless night shots with the bulb feature. This is a pain in the rear end, but I find that when I do this I can see if something is overexposed or underexposed..etc..etc..and how to correct it in the future.
     
  10. Orrin

    Orrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm with you... I never keep track of exposure unless I'm doing some special
    tabletop work. I can take most any of my thousands of slides taken over the
    last 50+ years...if it was taken in bright sun the exposure was 1/500 @ f8.
    Those taken before the introduction of ASA/ISO 100 slide film were probably
    also taken at f8 with a slower shutter. (f8 is the optimum sharpnes setting
    for most of my lenses).

    Note: I've been making slides since the 1940's when the speed of slide
    film was ASA10
     
  11. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    I could never be dedicated enough to write it down. It's disruptive and sort of looks dumb. If I shoot an entire roll in a building the exposure is probably going to be the same for most of the shots. Or I pay attention to the settings, shutter speeds have a funny way of sticking in your head.
     
  12. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    Until I got my F5 I didn't keep good records. With the data back on the F5 and SoftTalk 2000 software I can download the data from the camera to my computer.
     

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