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Pre-Photoshoot Camera Checks - Thanks to Lorraine!

Barring The WayLorraine Swanson has a great Photography Blog at Microstock Junction, and she wrote a post recently about the settings you should check in your camera before you go out shooting.

How many times have you got back from taking some photographs only to find your camera had the wrong white-balance, ISO or metering settings, spoiling your images? I know it happens to me on a regular basis, so Lorraine's acronym is very useful indeed!

Lorraine uses the acronym W.I.F.E. to make sure she's got the right settings:

White Balance. Are you still on a custom settings, instead of auto or the correct one for the scene you're shooting?

ISO. Is your cameras sensitivity set too high because you were shooting in poor lighting condition? Change it or you'll get noisy photographs!

Focus. Did you switch to manual focus yesterday for those tricky macro shots?

Exposure. When you were doing that landscape shot did you dial in a real small aperture, but now you need to change it to something more usable? How is your camera deciding on the correct exposure (photometry) - is it using spot, centre, average or matrix?

This got me thinking about what I tend to miss, and it does include the WIFE settings, but I also forget to change the quality or compression that my S5700 applies to the jpegs I take. An example would be the other day when I was shooting some shots for the online auction house eBay. I had set my camera to a fairly low resolution because the final images were going to be small.

What I forgot to do was change the quality setting back to high when I went I on a Photowalk the next day - so I had a few nice shots, but the file-size was too small, limiting their potential printing size, and giving me less elbow-room when editing.

Another rookie mistake I make is to forget to put the memory card back in my camera after copying the photos onto my PC. It's not a big deal (I carry spare of course) but its time wasting when you turn your camera on, look at the screen and it says "Using Internal Memory".

I'm thinking of lots now! My Fuji has three different colour settings - normal, chrome, and black & white, sometimes I forget to change from chrome to normal, and that effects the final look of my images.

I think camera manufacturers should build in a "wake up" warning to their devices - if you haven't used your camera for a few hours, the next time you turn it on, it should beep and show you all the settings that you've changed from default - giving you a chance to change them back. It would be even better if you could specify which setting were your own default (I think you can do this on some dSLR's), or which ones you used the most (the camera could learn your style), and give you a warning if its set up differently.

I can't think of an acronym to include all of the rookie mistakes I usually make, but Lorraine's post has got "WIFE" stuck in my head, and by simply going through that checklist it'll remind me to check the memory card, colour setting and jpeg quality setting too.

Thanks Lorraine!

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (2)

Hey Rob, thanks for the nod.

I hate that acronym (WIFE!) but does stick in your mind doesn't it? It's saved me many times.

September 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

I use it every day, maybe its because I just love checking out my Wife...

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

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