What steps do I take to set my camera before shooting?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by a1157814a, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. a1157814a

    a1157814a TPF Noob!

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    When I go somewhere to take pictures, I usually don't know where to start. Do you have your own stesps for setting up camera before shooting?
    For example... this is kind of what I was trying to do:

    1) Set ISO to low possible
    2) Set shutter speed
    3) Set aperture
    4) Set flash

    Then after taking the shoot, I adjust from there but I'm not sure if I am doing this right

    When I see an image that's too dark after the first shot, Should I set up ISO higher or set the shutter speed slower (to let in more light)
    I just don't know what exactly I am doing, basically.
     
  2. tsaraleksi

    tsaraleksi TPF Noob!

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    I don't usually do too much to prepare the camera, usually just take a stab at what the conditions will be like where I'm going and make sure I have a charged battery and cleared memory card in the camera-- settings can be tinkered with whenever, but it's hard to charge a battery when you are shooting.

    Once I get to wherever I'm going, I'll check out where I need to be going with the settings-- if I'm outdoors, the shutter speed is what I'll muck around with first, assuming that the ISO is probably already going to be between 100 and 400 depending on the day. If I'm shooting sports I try and keep the shutter above 1/1000-- usually I'd have arrived to the field with it at something like ISO100, f/2.8 (or 4, depending on the lens) and 1/1500. I'll roll the shutter around between 1000 and 8000, rarely will it go that high, though. If it's too dark to get 1000 at ISO100, I'll bump it up to 200 or 400 until it's good.

    For something other than sports, I'd do the same except I'll set the aperture depending on how much depth I want-- often I'll be shooting with my 35 @ 1.4, which means that the shutter speeds outside will be something like ISO50, f/1.4, 1/1000. This just depends on the day and what I'm shooting.

    Indoors is a bit different, assuming that we're dealing with a poorly lit indoors. I tend to set to maximum or one stop down from the maximum aperture, depending on the lens (for my zooms I'll leave them at 2.8 unless I'm using flash, but the primes I might stop down a bit). I will usually fight to keep the ISO at 800, letting the shutter drop to maybe 1/160 or so (unless I'm shooting sports) before I'll start bumping the ISO.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I suspect what you need is a grounding in the basics. Your best bet would be to head down to your local library and pick up a book on basic photography; it doesn't matter if it's two months old, or twenty years old, the basic theory and the way the parameters interact hasn't changed. Once you understand how each aspect works, and it's effect on the final image, you will have a much better understanding of what to adjust and when and what effect it will have.
     
  4. a1157814a

    a1157814a TPF Noob!

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  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm usually most concerned with DOF, so I choose aperture first. Then I consider what shutter speed I need. Usually I'm just concerned with camera shake, but sometimes subject movement also. I choose an ISO that'll let me get the shutter speed I need to safely hand hold. I go with the lowest ISO I can, but most of the time I'd rather have a sharp noisy image than a soft clean image. I can deal with noise much easier than recovering sharpness lost to camera shake. I am also a big advocate of tripods, which allow me to go with low ISOs and shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake, but most of my photos are taken hand held.
     
  6. mrodgers

    mrodgers No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds like you are confusing the f/2.8 number with focal length or focusing. That number is the aperture setting, or the size of the lens opening.

    You have 3 basic settings with a camera, shutter, aperture, and ISO. All three work together to give you the exposure, or how bright/dark the image is. When you change one setting, you have to compensate on another setting to get the right exposure.

    For example, you can not just think you are shooting "action" and can just change the shutter speed. By doing this, you are letting in more light (or less light depending on which direction you go.) Thus, for the image not to be brighter or overexposed, you have to change the aperture or the ISO so that the basic exposure is not changed assuming you got it correct to begin with.

    Some basics on the three main camera settings need to be understood. I always recommend the two sites that I found when I first got my camera, Digital Camera Help and ShortCourses-The On-line Library of Digital Photography. Everyone will recommend the book Understanding Exposure. When I first got my camera, I gained the understanding of what the individual settings (shutter, aperture, and ISO) did. I then started reading Understanding Exposure and it tied those three settings together for me so that I understood their relationship to one another.
     
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    How I do it:

    Decide what aperture I want to use.
    Decide what shutter speed I need.
    Decide what ISO I need to attain that shutter speed.
    Use flash if the shutter speed I need cannot be attained through ISO adjustment.
     

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