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My DSLR checklist #photography


Airline pilots use a checklist before they take off to ensure that they follow the correct procedure and the use of checklists are now favoured by doctors and surgeons as part of their preparations. I used a checklist to prepare for my photo-shoot of a local Fun day in Darlaston at the weekend.

Libby Robbins and Stephanie Rees

This is Libby and Stephanie who hosted the fun day and raised money for the Rainbow Child Foundation. I expected most of my pictures to be close-up wide aperture shots of people, like this one.

Set picture control

Picture control is on the shooting menu and I set that to portrait. The picture size was set to large to give me lots of freedom to crop pictures and the quality was set to fine. Flash control is always TTL.

Shooting menu

There is also a menu I use when shooting on the button marked (i). I go down that menu from top to bottom starting my checklist by checking the quality and size and then on to white balance. I set the white balance on auto because I was using mixed lighting. I set the ISO on 200 but changed that as the sun came out to 100. I use multiple shots because I often needed at catch the moment after someone blinked. The focus mode used varies but on this occasion, I used auto because it seems much better for group shots. The AF area mode was set depending on the shot. I used auto a lot but also a single-point AF and centre weighted. The metering was set on matrix metering for all the shots but I do use spot metering for portraits too. I left the flash mode on normal and used a Nikon Speedlight for some extra light because it was quite dark and cloudy. When the light is poor the pupils in our eyes dilate to compensate so we think it is much lighter than it actually is. That wasn’t too much of a problem with a wide aperture and the flash was controlled by the TTL system and gave me more light. Using the camera now is much like driving a car, I automatically change settings quite quickly when the conditions change.

DSLR versus Bridge camera

Bridge cameras have many of these settings but in my experience, it’s much harder and slower to go through a checklist and set the camera. A bridge camera is great for landscape photography but for low light and better control I use a DSLR. Nearly all the shots on Saturday were on aperture priority. I used a 35mm prime lens, to begin with, for the better quality but switched to an 18 – 105 zoom lens because it is much more flexible.

FUN DAY DSLR checklist

Most shots like this one aren’t planned at an event and so you have to be prepared for anything. Bubbles floating in the air won’t last very long!

Libby Robbins and Stephanie Rees


Finally, I chose one shot to do a little editing on and added a border and I think it worked well. Editing was with PhotoScape. There is also a checklist for editing beginning with adding a little contrast and making darker images lighter, then the images are resized and the copyright notice added to the final images. I think many of the day’s pictures will be appearing in the local newspaper.

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