Looking for some digital photography tips and tricks? In this series I present some practical tips to you that help get the most out of your digital camera.
If you are using a digital SLR camera for your photography, you may know well that it is a highly sophisticated piece of equipment, capable of producing fantastic results. But you need to know how to handle it and you need to prepare well before using it. That’s why I have created a Digital Photography Pre-Shoot Checklist. Follow the checklist and it will help you get the best out of your digital SLR camera and you will also avoid having great shots ruined by incorrect settings or poor camera set-up!
Digital Photography Pre-Shoot Checklist #1: Choose the right White Balance
Now, let’s start off with a hot issue. The white balance and what to do about it. A lot of this comes down to individual taste. For now just be sure to select a white balance that isn’t completely inappropriate for your subject. It is a good idea (and often reliable) to let the camera select the white balance. You can do this by using the Auto WB setting. Then use that as a base, take a few pictures at this setting, then start playing with the white balance. Then do not look at your photos again for a few days, come back to them and consider what you think has worked and what hasn’t. So, experiment a lot and evaluate over and over again. After all, practice makes perfect.
Digital Photography Pre-Shoot Checklist #2: Format Your Memory Card
If you do not have a memory card with a huge capacity, you should format your card every time before going out to shoot pictures. Formatting wipes clean a memory card. If you format, it will remove all old images and you will have as much storage space as possible. Of course, make sure that you have saved the previous photos onto a hard disk or computer so that you do not lose previous work. Formatting your card, ensures that you will have enough capacity. Nothing more frustrating then starting a big shoot and suddenly finding out you only have capacity for ten shots!
Digital Photography Pre-Shoot Checklist #3: Check the Battery
A very simple, but also often overlooked issue is the battery of your camera. Make sure it is fully charged before you go out. Digital SLR cameras are completely battery power dependent. Suppose you have gone out with your camera and suddenly find that your battery is low or dead! You would find yourself heading home earlier and unhappier than expected! So, charge your battery after each time you use your camera. Make it a habit and you will always find your battery ready. It is also great to have a spare battery in your camera bag. But be sure this one is also charged fully.
Digital Photography Pre-Shoot Checklist #4: Select the Correct File type
With many digital SLR cameras you will have several options for file types. JPEG is the most popular setting. Most digital cameras also give you a second setting option for the size of the image. You may be able to pick resolution or choose between small, medium and large. This primarily affects the size at which the image can be printed at, whilst retaining its quality. Be aware that larger images take up way more memory space on your card, so find that right balance between big size and memory capacity. Again, it’s all about being conscious of these things so that you do not get nasty surprises afterwords due to incorrect settings.
Digital Photography Pre-Shoot Checklist #5: Check the ISO Setting
The ISO speed plays an important role in digital photography. It allows you to take pictures of moving subjects, or take pictures in low light conditions, by changing the sensitivity of the cameras sensor. This does however have its consequences for “noise” on the final image. The more sensitivity, the more impurity a camera will pick up, so although a certain setting may work well for action shots, you should not use it constantly as you may experience a grainy effect on stand-still pictures. So big the lowest ISO possible that the weather and the type of photos you want to take allows.
That’s it. Five simple digital photography tips and tricks that help you get to the right outcomes. Of course, you could make this list a bit more comprehensive and include additional checklist items like which bag, tripod and lenses to take. But I deliberately did not want to overcomplicate it. The tips above are all about becoming conscious about your photography. You will find, as with much in life, that when you do things with a purpose, you will achieve better outcomes. So let this digital photography pre-shoot checklist be a start of your own pre-shoot checklist, but more so, of a more conscious way of approaching your digital photography!