Three Simple Camera Setting Mistakes I Make (Argh!) and How I am Fixing Them

November 25, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

We all make mistakes and we learn from them (hopefully).  But the most valuable advice I have received is to learn by doing.  Watching YouTube is good.  Going to conferences is awesome, and catch some workshops, seminars, and webinars.  That is all good.  But to reiterate, the best advice is to learn by doing.  Until you get out there and experience the pressure all the learning will not have its full value.

Here are three mistakes I make and what I try to do to avoid them.

  1. Leaving an unusual setting on my camera.
  2. Leaving the camera in manual focus.
  3. Forgetting to undo delayed shutter release.

Unusual settings can come in many forms.  If you read or have been following my blog, you know I recommend for beginners to put their camera back on auto while you are learning to get away from auto.  It is frustrating to try to make quick adjustments when you are learning, so storing your camera in auto ensures it is ready for a very quick photo if something presents itself and you do not have the time to think through all the settings.

I still consider myself a learner and while I do not personally store my camera in auto anymore, I still have been caught with incorrect settings.  In a recent photoshoot, I realized I was shooting in JPEG-only mode.  I have not shot in JPEG mode in a long time (except for my puzzle timelapse photos).  I noticed the mistake during my shoot and corrected it quickly.  The photoshoot was not for a significant event, but it happened.  I recalled adjusting some camera settings and used a reset settings option that impacted not only JPEG vs. RAW setting but also which memory card to save the files to.  I had caught the change on the storage location, but not the JPEG/RAW setting.

Another common setting I miss is leaving my camera in manual focus.  I have had several incidents of blurry photos due to the focus being set to manual when I thought it was automatic.   You might think this is an easy one to catch, but for landscape photography, it is actually very easy to miss.   Or if the photo is "close" to being in focus you may not notice the issue on the back of the camera.

Finally, leaving my timer on a two or ten-second delay is another common mistake.  In many instances that is fine because I will discover that mistake on the first photo that I try to take.  However, if that first photo was significant then the 2 or 10-second delay can be catastrophic.  I have made this mistake often enough and since I use the 2-second more than the 10-second delay, it is easy enough to wait the two seconds for the shutter to trigger and then fix the setting.

At the beginning of this blog post, I mentioned I would share how I avoid these issues.  The most effective technique is to prepare for my photoshoot with settings in mind with the same vigor of ensuring I have charged batteries, empty memory cards, my tripod, accessories, and all the lenses needed.  I try to preset the camera to the settings that are needed for a photoshoot before putting the camera in the bag.  If not then, I wil try to review my camera settings before leaving my car once I arrive at my location.

What are some mistakes you have made that could help a beginner that is trying to learn new techniques?  Leave me a comment below.


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