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Must Have Photography Checklist

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Must Have Photography Checklist

Modern DSLRs have so many features that it is sometimes difficult to keep track of all the settings. One of my biggest concerns is that a shot will be ruined because some switch was not in the correct setting for what I wanted to create. I don’t want to be like the wedding photographer that shot an entire wedding with the camera set to the small JPEG setting.

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To help ensure that such things are unlikely to happen, I decided to take a lesson from the way pilots operate. Pilots don’t just jump in the pilot’s seat and take off. Instead, they have a list of items that they check. Similarly, photographers can have a list of things to check before starting a photo session. Thus, the subject of this article is creating a photographer’s list of things to check to make sure that everything is done right.

Camera Items to Check

Sensor: Is the sensor free of dust?
Lens: Are the lenses and filters clean?
Battery: Is there enough power in the battery? Are spare batteries easily accessible?
Memory: Is there enough space on the memory card? Are spare memory cards easily accessible?
Image Recording Quality: Is the image quality set properly?
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Image Settings: If not shooting raw, are the image settings set properly?
ISO: Is the proper ISO for the shot selected?
White Balance: Is the white balance set correctly?
Metering Mode: Is the proper metering mode selected?
Shooting Mode: Is the camera in the correct shooting mode (e.g., fully automatic, manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority)?
Drive Mode: Is the drive mode set properly (e.g., single or continuous shooting)?
Auto focus: Is the auto focus turned on?

Scene Items to Check

Image Periphery: Are any objects protruding into the image from the periphery?
Objects in the Image: Are there any unwanted objects (e.g., an old beer can) in the image?

Tripod Items to Check



Camera Level: Is the camera level (this is best done with a bubble level)?
Tripod Levers/Knobs: Have all of the tripod levers/knobs been tightened?
Tripod Weighted: If desired, has the tripod been weighted?
Remote Switch: If desired, has a remote switch been connected to the camera?
Mirror Lockup: If desired, has the mirror lockup been enabled?
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Summary
That’s pretty much it. At some point, this all becomes automatic. Until then, it is not a bad idea to memorize your list.
Author
Ron Bigelow

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