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Thread: Photographers Repertoire:

  1. #1

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    Photographers Repertoire:

    Having made so many stupid mistakes and messing up shots by not thinking before shooting I compiled this repertoire for myself in an attempt to increase the keepers and minimise the delete’s.

    Do you have a “ritual” you perform before shooting?

    Photographers Repertoire:
    1.) Look: Look at the scene before you.
    2.) See: See the light, the mood, the moment, the image, the picture.
    3.) Compose: Apply the guidelines of composition in your mind.
    4.) Visualise: Focal point, depth of field, motion.
    5.) Camera: Switch on the camera.
    6.) Check: White Balance, Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO.
    7.) Frame: Look trough the viewfinder and frame your composition.
    8.) Expose: Make sure the exposure is correct.
    9.) Focus: Keep the focal point sharp in focus.
    10.) Shoot: Capture the image you visualised.
    11.) Review: Make sure you captured what you visualised. If it is not what you imagined, adjust settings and go back to #7.

    Any ideas to add to the list?

  2. #2

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    I think the list is too passive. I would have "walk" somewhere very close to the top -- I spend a lot of time walking around the thing I am interestd in photographing, looking for the right perspective and alignment of elements.

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    HaseebM's Avatar
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    That can make for a good check list. Having experience helps in remembering those points which should become second nature. Using your instincts and imagination would be key thereafter.

  4. #4

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    Siggi-short for Siegfried

    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    And sometimes you realize you left your camera on bracketing or manual focus which confuses the whole issue

  5. #5
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Much of my work is commercial event photography and often once you have started there is little time for consideration of the mechanics of shooting or even reviewing what you've shot. The second you take your eye of the scene something will happen that everyone will want to see the photos of. So once set up and ready to go it's a case of trying to 'be everywhere and see everything' so you can anticipate the where and when that things worth shooting are going to occur. There's often little or no time to review, recompose, or do much of anything, you get the shot (or not) and then you're on to the next.

    As a result my checklist tends to be a bit more fundamental:
    • Camera bodies and lenses tested and primary functions verified
    • Battery levels checked and spares in my pockets
    • Cards reading and writing OK, capacities noted and spares in my pockets
    • Flashes tested and spare batteries in my pockets
    • Filters, flash modifiers and any other accessories checked
    • Scout the venue and work out a best compromise for default settings, save those to the C modes.
    • Take a few final test shots, with colour/grey card in potential target sites if appropriate
    • Take some deep breaths and try not to get too carried along with whatever is happening.


    After that is a case of relying on past experience, being very familiar with the equipment and being perfectly happy to look like a fool as you run around, jump up and down, lay in the middle of the floor (or the road on at least one occasion*) or whatever else it takes to get the shot.

    *If you are going to lay in the middle of the road always have a spotter with you!

    Cheers,
    Ady

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Having made so many stupid mistakes and messing up shots by not thinking before shooting I compiled this repertoire for myself in an attempt to increase the keepers and minimise the delete’s.

    Do you have a “ritual” you perform before shooting?

    Photographers Repertoire:
    1.) Look: Look at the scene before you.
    2.) See: See the light, the mood, the moment, the image, the picture.
    3.) Compose: Apply the guidelines of composition in your mind.
    4.) Visualise: Focal point, depth of field, motion.
    5.) Camera: Switch on the camera.
    6.) Check: White Balance, Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO.
    7.) Frame: Look trough the viewfinder and frame your composition.
    8.) Expose: Make sure the exposure is correct.
    9.) Focus: Keep the focal point sharp in focus.
    10.) Shoot: Capture the image you visualised.
    11.) Review: Make sure you captured what you visualised. If it is not what you imagined, adjust settings and go back to #7.

    Any ideas to add to the list?
    Check that the camera is level; where that is important.

    The trouble I often find is that a lot of my shots are a case of 'Look at that' pick up camera check settings and shoot. If it takes more than 2 seconds
    the opportunity has been lost.

  7. #7
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    I'm afraid I would have to add somewhere:

    "Curse, loudly or under breath depending on circumstances", followed by "Go back to step 1"

  8. #8
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Ady makes two good points. First that the list begins long before you even pack your gear. In my case, that means charging cameras batteries and 40+ AAs. Second, that you frequently need to have settings dialed or approximated before the moment occurs. Thus, my list:

    1. Start charging batteries.
    2. Decide which lenses I'll need/want.
    3. Decide how many (if any) flashes I'll take. Plus light mods, gels, auxiliary battery packs, etc.
    4. Install batteries. Power on and run quick checks of camera, all flashes, radios, and IR trigger.
    5. Load up. I empty my pack completely every time so I know where everything is even if I'm on a new configuration.
    6. Scout location for likely shots, good backgrounds, good angles. Try to anticipate the location, direction, and flow of action.
    7. Figure out the light. Warm, cold, variable, bright green lasers, etc. Determine white balance compromise based on desired mood. My feel for light temperatures is getting pretty decent, so I usually dial in a number with the K setting.
    8. Set custom (C) mode(s) to "oh-crap!" settings. Generally high-ISO, wide aperture with low-powered fill flash to catch fleeting moments. IE, if I'm doing something weird like a bulb shot, I can flip the camera to C and grab a quick frame. It'll probably be noisy and imperfectly exposed, but this keeps me from missing moments.
    9. Once the action's underway, keep the camera in your hand and close to your eye. Move around a lot. Take lots of shots. Adjust anything necessary. Try wonky ideas.
    10. Make sure you move fast when your gut says "photo." Get a frame, then calm down and reframe, recompose, zoom, or alter settings as necessary to get it as good as you can in the time you have.
    11. Beer.

  9. #9
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    If you need a list you have not been doing photography long enough. Once it becomes automatic and instinctive you can concentrate on creativity.

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    For handheld shots with no additional camera support, I would add between Steps 9 & 10: Stop breathing and adopt ideal body position with arm supporting the camera tucked against the torso.

    If you want to be anal, I would then add between Steps 10 & 11: Start breathing again.

  11. #11

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    If you need a list you have not been doing photography long enough.
    I disagree. I know people who have been shooting for decades who would do well to create and use such a list. I admire Andre for doing this.

  12. #12
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Actually Mike (and me), Andre referred to a "ritual" and yes I do have one but it is as ingrained as the one I have when I sit in a car seat ready to drive.

  13. #13

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers ever, has a “repertoire” he follows before every shot. Why?

    Tom: walking to the tee is not part of the Nicklaus repertoire.

    Ady: when shooting under constant, non changing lighting conditions, you need not review every shot. Once you have set up your equipment you only need to frame and shoot, providing the light does not change. Once you change Aperture, Shutter, ISO or WB you need to review. Only the most experienced of professionals will know the exact outcome of every setting that is changed.

    Lex: as I have explained to Tom: practice, having a good healthy diet, going to bed early, making sure all the right clubs are in the bag and getting up before the tournament is not part of the Nicklaus “repertoire” to make the shot. It is all part of PREPARATION to play in the tournament. Would Jack Nicklaus ever have gone to a tournament without his clubs and balls?

    L.Paul: if the best golfer ever has a “ritual” he follows before every shot, who am I not to follow a “ritual” to capture an image. Am I a beter Photographer than Nicklaus was a golfer? Perhaps you are, therefore your images are all over the front pages of Time Magazine and National Geographic!

    Haseeb: Thanks. There are things you do forget when the moment is to “great” or you are under pressure. A list like this, if followed in making every shot, will become second nature. It should be instinct. Is it not beter to have all of that being second nature instead of downloading images to your computer realizing you messed up because you never checked the ISO setting?

    Siggi: That is the reason for this thread. Most of us are amateurs and still make stupid mistakes. Let us add your checks to point #6. Check bracketing and Manual focus. Although you should notice it when you are executing points #8 and #9.

    Geoff: Thanks. One of the points I have to concentrate on – LEVEL. Check the horizon. Lets add it to point #9. Focus and check level.

    Dave: Sometimes I feel like selling my camera and take up golf again.

    Mike: Can we add to #7: brace yourself. With a shutter speed faster than 1/125 you should not need to hold your breath. Must admit I sometimes do it when I am to lazy to use the tripod. BAD HABIT! We can add to point #4 – access the situation – do you need a tripod or not.

  14. #14

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I admire Andre for doing this.
    Thanks Mike,

    It is not about admiration, this is about helping some member of this forum in making better shots. If but only one member finds any value in this to make a better shot I will be exhilarated.

    To me it is all about sharing knowledge and experience. (The little I have)

  15. #15
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers ever, has a “repertoire” he follows before every shot. Why?

    ...............

    L.Paul: if the best golfer ever has a “ritual” he follows before every shot, who am I not to follow a “ritual” to capture an image. Am I a beter Photographer than Nicklaus was a golfer? Perhaps you are, therefore your images are all over the front pages of Time Magazine and National Geographic!

    If you read my post you will see I never disputed having a "ritual". I was just pointing out that it becomes ingrained not a list. Depending on whether Jack Nicklaus was preparing to drive, use a long iron, perform an approach shot or putt the ritual would be different but I am sure he had reached a stage where it was ingrained.

    Unless you are trying to belittle me I do not see any relevance in the rest of your reply. A bit surprised and disappointed.

  16. #16
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Thank you for the suggestions, Andre, and for the extras suggested by others. When I see a potential shot, I admit that I sometimes tend to panic, forget all the checks, and screw up the shot. The moment is then lost. So perhaps any ritual needs to start with a deep breath, closely followed by the reminder to "Keep Calm and Carry On"!

    Philip

  17. #17

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Hi,
    I used to do a lot of archery, and in that sport the "ritual" is very important. Once you get beyond the beginner stage it's at least 80% mental, similar to many martial arts (the numbers my coach used varied between 75% and 99% depending on how he was feeling that day!). Olympic archers (and any serious archer) will visualise every single shot before taking it, meaning they imagine themselves shooting and the arrow hitting the gold. Things like breathing in and out happen in the rhythm of the shot, and at exactly the same point every time. I think this is similar to the golf analogy, and I would be very surprised if professional golfers didn't visualise every single putt before making any movements.

    On the other hand the physical aspects of archery - technique and the actual movements - should become second nature, similar to L.Paul's point. I once heard it compared to eating with a fork - it requires pretty precise movements, yet you eat without thinking and rarely stab yourself in the face! That's how archery should be. But it doesn't mean competitive archers don't follow a "ritual" and go through the whole shot process carefully and precisely, no matter how second nature the shooting is.

    Anyway the main thing I wanted to say is even though I am a beginner I do have some sort of rudimentary photography repertoire - checking the horizon is level and so on - but until now I didn't realise it! I'm sure consciously following such a list will help me in many (not all of course) situations, so thanks for the post! It helped me

    Cheers,
    Dan

  18. #18

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    6.)Check: White Balance, Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO.
    ...................

    Any ideas to add to the list?
    Check: Drive mode (Single/Continuous/Self-timer - remote)

    I missed so many opportunities (while approaching birds and they take-off) just because the drive mode was in Self-timer or remote (from my last family portrait session). All you get is a beep-beep-beep sound and an empty frame (no bird) at the end .............really frustrating.

    Best is to go through the 'Q' menu as soon as the camera is switched on and adjust the settings as required (can be done in less than 30 secs).

    Regards

  19. #19
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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    Quote Originally Posted by bedantabd View Post
    Check: Drive mode (Single/Continuous/Self-timer - remote)

    I missed so many opportunities (while approaching birds and they take-off) just because the drive mode was in Self-timer or remote (from my last family portrait session). All you get is a beep-beep-beep sound and an empty frame (no bird) at the end .............really frustrating.

    Best is to go through the 'Q' menu as soon as the camera is switched on and adjust the settings as required (can be done in less than 30 secs).

    Regards
    Bedanta you raise an interesting point regarding what you last used your camera for. Personaly I have a ritual of always restoring my camera to my preferred default settings before turning it off. If I need to use it in a rush it will cope with most situations without the need for me to change any setting.

  20. #20

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    Re: Photographers Repertoire:

    If the camera allows you to store the settings on a memory card, you can make a habit of loading those settings at the start of a shoot.

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