Shooting photo check list

As a professional photographer organizing photo workshops in Valencia, I must admit I have seen often participant photographers shooting photos of a given visited place (for example, a building or a cityscape) too quickly without checking view angle or composition first.

This happened to me many times not only with beginner photographers but even with intermediate or advanced ones.

Among all the tips and suggestions I give to participant photographers to my photo tours, definitely, a shooting photo check list is a priority for me.

Constantly, once the participant photographer finds something he likes to shoot, I push him to walk in and out, even zoom in and zoom out with his camera, before shooting a photo. Then, I invite him also to walk a bit further to find a different (and maybe, better) angle for another picture of the same subject. Remember, photography means also be patient.

As there are many other elements that fully contribute for a successful photo shoot, I decided to put down a shooting check list to never forget the essential things to keep in mind before pressing the button of your camera:

• Take your time to walk around to choose the best location and angle
• Find out the best possible composition
• Adjust the tripod at the proper height
• Make sure the tripod is stable on the ground and safe against the wind
• Fit camera and lens on tripod
• Set image stabilization off if you use tripod (VR on Nikon and IS on Canon)
• Take lens cap off
• Make sure there are no distractions in the frame
• Check if horizon is straight
• Select RAW to shoot your photo
Select White Balance
• Set ISO to its lowest setting to get a noise free image
• Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode
• Check and adjust Aperture
• Focus on the subject
• Check and adjust filters if any (polarizer, ND, etc.)
• Set self timer on 2 sec delay or use the shutter release cable
• Shoot in Live View mode
• Wait for the desired light condition
• Take your photo
• Check the histogram
• Zoom in the picture and check sharpness
• Re focus and take another photo if you are not satisfied with the previous one
• Use bracket exposure if needed

For your convenience, you can also download and save the following list. Feel free to share it with your photographer friends.

Stefano Politi Markovina