The first half of this photo shoot was no good because I’d configured my camera at the beach and ended up forgetting to check my shutter speed.
Modern digital SLR cameras have a lot of settings. Too many settings, if you ask me. So trying to remember them all at the beginning of a photo shoot can only make things more difficult.
Way too often, I’ve turned up at some place to take some photos and found myself so distracted by the amazing light and fun things going on that I forgot something in how my camera was configured. And when you think about it, there’s a lot to remember. Focusing options, shutter speed, ISO, aperture, file size settings and so much more can all affect your shots in ways that aren’t obvious at the time.
I even know of a top professional photographer who took a series of stunning photos at the Eiffel Tower, only to discover after he left France that his camera had been set to record in the tiniest possible image resolution, which meant that none of his images could be sold for print.
Before I took the photo of the dog at the top of this page I’d taken dozens of shots at the wrong shutter speed. This was the only one out of all them that I sort of like. Thankfully I noticed my shutter speed was wrong while I still had a chance to take more shots.
So if you have some idea about what you’re going to see, set up your camera before you leave home. It will be easier at home, because you can take your time without a million distractions. You’ll even have the luxury of being able to check the metadata of some of your old photos that worked out well, to see what settings you’d used.
Once your camera is ready, you can always fine-tune your settings on-site if you need to, and in fact you probably will. But you’re much less likely to discover later that you’d forgotten something.
Oh yeah, and there’s another advantage in this approach. If you get most of your technical nerdy stuff out of the way before you arrive at the photo shoot, then that leaves you to put all your energy on-site into the really important stuff, like hunting for the most beautiful places and angles to take your pictures.