When you get home, reset your camera.
Sometimes it’s not new cameras or software or lighting that makes us better photographers. Sometimes it’s learning how to be more effective with the tools we have.
Productivity Hack: Reset Your Camera to Default Settings
After every time you use your camera for a shoot, change the settings back to your preferred defaults. This will ensure your camera is ready to grab and go in an expected state the next time you get ready to work your magic behind the lens.
I speak these things from experience. I recall one trip in particular where I’d been up late in the evening, shooting at very high ISO. The next day I was up with sunrise and shot most of the morning before realizing that all of my images had been made at a very high (and in those days, very noisy) ISO level. Sad photographer…
What should you check when you reset your camera settings?
- Mode Dial: Are you a (P)rogram person? Or do you like (A)perture priority? (M)anual? Change it back to your usual preference.
- ISO: Don’t get caught shooting at ISO 6400 on accident because your last shoot was in low light.
- White Balance: Did you set a custom white balance? It’s probably best to change back to auto.
- Single vs. Continuous Shooting: There’s no right answer here, but if you’re expecting one and you get the other, you’ll be annoyed.
- Image Quality: If you usually shoot RAW, don’t miss out because you’d changed to JPG for that one assignment. Set it back to your preference.
- Exposure Compensation: While you might’ve been +1 or –2 for your latest venture, you’ll probabyl want to reset it to zero so you’re at a good baseline.
- Autofocus: What’s your preference… on or off?
- Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) or HDR Bracketing: Turn this off if you don’t want a surprise when you start shooting and wondering why some images are underexposed, some are overexposed, and some are just right.
Anything else that you always check to reset?