The following was submitted by one of our readers – Jan Neault Phillips. It’s a little tongue in cheek (40 questions before every photo might be a little difficult, particularly if you’re photographing my kids who move at the speed of light) but also contains some good information on the type of things a photographer should be thinking about as they prepare for a shot (or perhaps for a ‘shoot’).
So I’m walking along with my camera and I see a wonderful scene that would make a great photo…
Before I Hit the Shutter I Ask Myself:
What mode do I want to shoot in? Manual, AP, SP, Auto or a pre-programed mode?
If I’m using a pre-set, what F-Stop or Shutter Speed am I going to use?
What format do I want to shoot in RAW or jpeg?
What’s my ISO? Is it fast/slow enough?
Too grainy for the shot?
What White Balance am I set on?
Do I need to set custom White Balance?
Did I bring my 18% Grey Card?
What Metering Mode should I be on?
What Colour setting do I need?
Am I going to use Manual or Auto Focus?
Do I want to Bracket the shot?
Am I going to use a Flash?
And how am I going to use it?
What story am I trying to tell?
Do I need to change lenses?
If so, which one?
Am I shooting in Landscape or Portrait perspective, or even a jaunty angle?
Do I need to use a Tripod?
Will I use the Rule of Thirds or break it?
What other rules should I be following?
Are there Leading Lines I can use in the shot?
What about finding an S-curve for the leading line?
Is there any thing I can use to Frame my picture? e.g. Tree branches.
Will I change this to B&W, Sepia or something else post production?
Do I have a Focal Point?
Is my subject Moving or Stationary?
For Moving Subjects, do I want to Pan the shot, Blur the background or Blur the subject?
Is there a Pattern I can pick up on?
How’s the lighting? Are the shadows strong or weak?
Do I want to emphasize them?
Is the light too strong?
Will it wash out detail?
Is my horizon straight?
Can I get this at a better angle?
Should I wait for better lighting?
What does the light meter read?
Should I increase shutter speed or open up the aperture?
Is it in focus?
Did I just miss a great shot?
With all the questions I’ve learned to ask myself over the last year, it’s a wonder that I still have my sanity, my passion for photography and the the willingness to learn it. Life was so much simpler when all I did was point and shoot! Certainly less stressful.
But, I look at the results of recent photos I’ve taken, practice every day and soak up as much info as I can from every photographer and photo site I come across. And you know what? It’s all worth it in the end. I’ve decided that photography isn’t just a passionate hobby, but a journey I’m willingly taking.