Get your priorities right!

We often come across a great opportunity for that perfect shot but either miss it or capture it wrong if we are new to serious photography. Here's a little list of things I'd suggest. Most of these are already taken care of by your camera but just in case your camera isn't one of the smartest available... better not lose it for that.

1. CHECK YOUR ISO! It's such a damned thing if you have a point and shoot that wants you to impress you with fast shutter speed. Some cameras actually prefer setting aperture to f/8 and ISO to 800 for a shutter speed of 1/500 when you could do with 1/80 just as well. So NEVER set the ISO to auto during an outdoor daytime shoot. But at evening or morning, if you are trying to freeze motion, better walk out with ISO set to auto or 400.

2. Shooting still life indoors? Don't have that perfect studio lighting? Check your white balance! If you don't, the photos would just look fine in the camera LCD and later you'd have them all rejected for incorrect white balance. This happens mostly when you're in a room with walls of some pinkish or bluish color and a fluorescent lamp for light. Use a grey/white card for reference and learn to set the manual WB setting of your camera. Of course, the auto WB is very good. But I prefer not to rely on it. It usually ditches if lighting is bad.

3. Don't forget to switch off IS when using a tripod. Might make things worse in fact. Not "extra steady".

4. If you are very new to photography, it pays to check on the internet about positions to hold your camera. If you hold it in the wrong away, the IS cannot possible help a lot and you'd still get blurred shots. This point becomes important when shooting at long focal length/optical zoom.

5. Don't leave your camera unattended/unobserved on a tripod. Not even for a moment. If the legs aren't spread out wide enough, it might fall and cause serious damage. I'd admit I have seen campers use the tripod as an "assistant" to hold the camera for a while as they scout the place feeling happy without the "weight". Certainly not a good idea

6. Always try to use a very steady support/tripod when shooting macro. You can get extra sharp pictures if you take care of this. And don't push the lens into something. A way around would be to turn out your flexible LCD and sit besides the camera mounted on a tripod. That way you can see the lens-subject distance and also the photo/info at a time.

7. This is going to sound ridiculous, but every time me and my friends go out together for photography, really silly things ruin it all. In a rush they put in everything and finally they discover that they forgot the detachable tripod mount. Double check it all. Obvious things are always the most important things for a photographer.

You may add me to favorites for easy following in case technical articles interest you. More coming up soon... :)

Photo credits: Pratik Panda.

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hey! Pratik how r u bro? Just Thanx again as five of my more images have been selected today. thankyou for everything!


Thank you. I'll need all the wishes. :)
And good luck to you too. Just went through your port. I look at everyone's port who comments here.
My blog posts are more like spider webs trying to trap people. Most people who comment are usually neither too good (the big guys scare me!) nor too new. Those with 5000+ sales don't comment here anyway. Nor do those with 2 or 3 uploads.
Good to compare my performance with others and see what they are up to. ;)


And I certainly wish you all the best!


I'm not that experienced. I'm 18...people have been with a camera before I was even born. ;)
Still let's hope it works for me. A latecomer... haha!


Sorry, you probably answered before I had managed to edit my post. So I wanted to say again: I really admire your portfolio. I honestly don't think you will stay a "newbie" for long - and I am also sure you will very soon have many more images sold than me :-)


I know my software and camera well enough. The problem is with time. I hardly find time to upload 10 photos a week. :/
I'll stay a newbie forever at this rate. And so I try to get it right straight in camera. Really annoying to do it all over again on software...


Well, one just has to be in control - whether it is in the camera or when postprocessing the image in the software. Depends on how well you know your camera or/and your software. You know that saying that it is not the camera that takes the photos :-) Of course, I really don't want to argue here! Just adding a little I know from my experience. You have lots of beautiful images, really great portfolio and I am sure you are a very experienced photographer.


I use whatever lighting I can find. That's why I prefer manual WB setting. Just about getting it right in one go. Of course it can be corrected later. But makes me feel casual or careless. So... better do it with caution.


To be completely honest I think you don't need to worry too much about WB setting in your camera if you shoot in RAW. Obviously, we shouldn't go against the light when you set the WB in the camera but I believe that the correct light source is more important than the correct WB. I never use any artificial light - just the natural God given light from the north facing window. But have a look at my portfolio. Nice results with no extra money spent, even if I say so myself :-) (although I would now not upload some of my older images when i wasn't really doing it right - but I hope the more I work the better the images are). Not mixing light sources is the important thing.


Nice tips.


Collete6: Life is too short to think about IS. So I made it quick. ;)

You know what? I'd finished writing already when the comment was posted. I knew people don't know about this little detail much. So... :)


I did notice some strange "effects" while shooting with a tripod, too much "movement blur" without any movement. I guess that's the IS then. I will definitely try to turn it off next time. Thanks, Pratik.


No problem, made a mistake with your quote myself. Did’t remove: write your text here.
The most important point in your blog is: Control your settings!
Forgetting to put IS on again when my shoot was ready has costs me good images too!
WB can most of the time be corrected afterwards (when shooting RAW), but that is not possible with high ISO and shaken images.
It amazes me how quick you are in writing a second blog about IS! Should have cost me a lot more time to do, given that I knew all these details!


2006, sorry. Was a mistake.
And well I don't know if all current lenses have the feature. Some have it.

Macro shots have a low depth of field usually so any support usually helps. I'd moved my camera a mm forward by mistake and got eyes out of focus.


Quote:Canon introduced auto tripod detection feature in around 2000write your text here
Using my Canon 17-55 F2.8 on a tripod with image stabilization ON ruins about half of my images! Especially when using longer exposures!
And the introduction of this lens was in 2006.


Stabilization off
I know by experience that this is true!
Agree with most points except the tripod for macro (for me). Hanging in impossible positions between the bushes with a macro lens on my camera to capture insects with a good background makes using a tripod impossible most of the time. Only exception is shooting in the early morning when insects sits still. Other times of the day they are long gone over the horizon when I am still busy to place the tripod. :-)


Very good advices Pratik. Some of them knew and I was aware of them.


Read my next blog post. ALL about IS. Inside out. And reliable information. I have good experience with optics and digital electronics.

Canon introduced auto tripod detection feature in around 2000. That's why your images and sales are turning out great I guess? Lucky? ;)
Older IS systems were horrible. I have one.


Didn't know about switching off the IS when using a tripod. Why is that so?

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