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How To Tuesday #16 - The Anatomy of a Photograph: An inside look into the photographer's settings and metadata

February 8, 2016

I often have people ask me what my settings were on portrait and documentary shoots so that they may gain understanding about the HOW and WHY of a photograph. I have never been one to hide how I make my photographs and I am happy to share with you a little “behind the scenes” look into my setups and camera settings. 

As a new Lightroom convert (student is more like it!) It is really easy for me to show you a screen grab of some of my recent images which shows all the important metadata and camera settings. The instant teaching power that digital photography has makes it so easy for us to view our settings immediately after we shoot it so we can make some quick adjustments. When we are in editing mode back at the office, we can use this important metadata to learn about our mistakes and successes as well as notice interesting patterns in our shooting styles. I hope you can gain some insight to your photography by taking a sneak peek into mine!

 Rebirth Brass Band shot at the Michael Jackson Memorial 2nd Line. June 28th, 2009.  ©Zack Smith Photography

Rebirth Brass Band shot at the Michael Jackson Memorial 2nd Line. June 28th, 2009.  ©Zack Smith Photography

 2nd Line Funeral for New Orleans Musician, Allen Toussaint. Friday, November 20th 2016

2nd Line Funeral for New Orleans Musician, Allen Toussaint. Friday, November 20th 2016

Late last year I had the privilege to photograph the funeral ceremony of New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint. You can see my gallery HERE. This is a great photo to see how I did it because the settings were very easy and no artificial light was needed. Above this photo is an image from my document of the Michael Jackson Memorial 2nd Line back in 2009. The metadata on these images are easy to read and replicate since there was no artificial light. You can easily read the file number, name, shoot date/time, and file size in the upper left hand corner. I really do notice time of day when I am looking at my metadata. Knowing when the good light will be available for you at each time of year can help you plan on what gear and grip to bring. In this case, no extra gear was necessary since I had to move around pretty quickly and make myself “small”. In the bottom right hand corner you can see all of cameras settings from Time, Exposure, Focal Length, ISO, and Lens.

 Musician and Composer Brendan Connelly standing between his custom designed offices, 2016  ©Zack Smith Photography

Musician and Composer Brendan Connelly standing between his custom designed offices, 2016 ©Zack Smith Photography

Here again, you can see the file name, date shot, and resolution in the upper left hand corner. For this portrait of musician and theatre composer Brendan Connelly, we decided to use his new custom designed and built offices as our dominating background. The colors were popping, the converging lines were leading my eyes and all we needed was light. The time of day we shot was not optimal for using only ambient light, so we had to add some….

2 light setupKey Light: Paul C. Buff White Lightning 1600 with 60″ Octabank Softbox 45º angle pointing down at my subject, about 10′ in the air. The light is 6 feet to my left / to my subjects right side. My Rim Light is a Paul C. Buff White Lightning 1600 w/ a 30º grid and set 2 stops higher in power than my key light. It is positioned directly behind my subject. Lights were set off using Pocket Wizard Transceivers.  (if you are unfamiliar with the products, highlight them and google it!)

 Cajun Musician Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers photographed for the French Quarter Fest 2016 Poster ©Zack Smith Photography

Cajun Musician Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers photographed for the French Quarter Fest 2016 Poster ©Zack Smith Photography

By now you can easily navigate your way around the metadata and cross reference the previous shot of Brendan to see what has changed. If you look closely will see the light on their face is the same, but the Rim Light is different. The great thing about learning to read metadata is that once you get good at it, you start to get good at reading photos. My lighting scheme is almost identical to the previous portrait but my Rim Light is off to the Left hand side of Louis, and not directly behind like the Brendan photo. As long as my shutter speed is in sync, i only need my aperture to adjust depth and light intake and my ISO to brighten or darken my entire scene.

Here a few more easy reads with some different Meta Data…have fun, and don’t forget to ask ANY questions you want by COMMENTING on this blog post!!

 Chalmette Battlefiled Foggy Morning, January 21, 2016  ©Zack Smith Photography

Chalmette Battlefiled Foggy Morning, January 21, 2016 ©Zack Smith Photography

 A Chewbacchus Parade reveler gives his best Star Wars gaze! January 30th, 2016, Marigny - New Olreans  ©Zack Smith Photography

A Chewbacchus Parade reveler gives his best Star Wars gaze! January 30th, 2016, Marigny – New Olreans ©Zack Smith Photography

 Revelers at the Michael Jackson Memorial 2nd Line. June 28th, 2009. New Orleans ©Zack Smith Photography

Revelers at the Michael Jackson Memorial 2nd Line. June 28th, 2009. New Orleans ©Zack Smith Photography

Throwback Tuesday Gallery : Mardi Gras Morning 2013 with Big Chief Juan Pardo

February 8, 2016

In 2013 I had the honor of documenting Big Chief Juan Pardo emerge from way Uptown with his tribe of Indians, family, and musicians. He stopped traffic, crossed paths with Big Chief Bo Dollis (R.I.P. Bo), and didn’t stop or bow down for anyone….

There is something so special about the Mardi Gras Indian tradition. Wether what you love is the tradition, beauty, or something personal I urge you to always GIVE BACK to any of the cultures you document. So many people travel from far and wide to photograph Indians and Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs but never end up making a print or online gallery for the people they shot. I promise you this: the amount of effort made to GIVE BACK is far outweighed by what you GET BACK. Trust me! 

I made a nice hard cover book for Juan and his family and made a few prints. I wouldn’t think twice about doing this for him or anyone else now, it’s just a new habit I don’t mind having. 

Photo Set: The Historic Chalmette Battlefield in the Sunrise Fog. January 21, 2016

January 21, 2016

Living so close to the Mississippi River has its perks, and not to mention the plus side of an empty fog filled battlefield. The Historic Chalmette Battlefield rests on a bend of the Mississippi River just outside of New Orleans, and I visit this site at least twice a week at sunrise to photograph it’s evolution of light and texture. Lately when there have been drastic temperature changes in the area, the foggy Mississippi River empties out into the cool land of the Chalmette Battlefield. I have often thought of doing a photography workshop at the Chalmette Battlefield and Graveyard. If you are interested in this workshop – get on my mailing list and you’ll be the FIRST TO KNOW! You can see other workshops I have going on now by going HERE -> New Orleans Photography Workshops

Want to know how I take great fog photographs?

Let’s cut to the chase – you can’t just approach fog photography like you would bright sunlit street or landscape photography. There are so many contrasts in light, texture, and mood that need to be addressed to get the best photos of fog. In my opinion you need to “embrace the shadows” in exposure as you would if your goal was to create more contrast. Don’t overexpose the shadow areas, you want to underexpose them. If you shoot Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority you can set your Exposure Compensation to -2 stops and see where that gets you. As you start early in the morning you will want to have your ISO fairly high, but not maxing out as to create too much noise. As the sun rises and shoots through the fog you will want to decrease your ISO while continuing your underexposure technique. Got some great shots or some tips? Share them with me on this blog!

How To Tuesday #13 - Teaching the Old Dog a New Trick: Lightroom for Dummies and online photography education DIY-style.

January 19, 2016

After 15+ years of being a staunch Photoshop guy (I do remember Photoshop 1. I swear) I have just opened the Pandora’s Box of Lightroom. So many photographers around me have been using and enjoying the power of Lightroom’s editing, organization, and workflow for many years. I felt that it was time to integrate it into MY workflow since 2016 is the year of being proactive, forward thinking, and trying new things. So far I have been overwhelmed by the ease of use and organization Lightroom gives. Overwhelmed, in a good way…

1. I can integrate Keywords faster upon uploading fresh jobs
2. I can switch back and forth to Photoshop and my edits are saved in real time
3. I can save all of my edits and history and be able to jump to my iPad or iPhone and continue the edits!
4. I can’t stop downloading PRESETS. All along I realize I have been making my own presets but never really…saving them. Now I can start with a preset and tweak from there

I must sound like a kid who just discovered that someone had made automatic cars. “Hey! You don’t have to shift into gears, the car just DOES IT FOR YOU!”…C’mon kid – get w/ the program!

I used Photoshop for so long that I was comfortable in my comfort zone and didn’t feel I needed to know any more about editing. As I said, so comfortable. But as I‘ve also said before, 2016 is about being Proactive and Trying New Things. Here are a few great sources to learn NEW THINGS:

www.creativelive.com – One of the BEST sources of online creative content for learning. This site hires only the best instructors and uses their team of 2-3 camera persons and well integrated teaching displays to drive the message home. TIP: watch the free/live instruction and only buy it if you think you’ll need to access it more than once. Some tutorials have just enough info to be watched once, some require repeat views. I own multiple videos, I’m hooked.

www.adobe.com – We are paying these guys every month to use their software, so they better show us how to use it! And show us they do. Adobe has very easy to digest, short, and helpful videos to guide you through any software. TIP: Sit down. Open up your new software. Press Play. It’s that easy…(that’s what I did and I’m an OLD DOG remember!)

www.lynda.com – Here you can find free classes on multiple topics and also subscribe (pay) to open up new classes and content TIP: watch as much of the free content as possible and only opt in when you are ready to take your learning to the next level

www.zacksmith.com – You already have this one down! HOW TO TUESDAY is the ALL FREE greatest source of Techniques and Tips! TIP: Keep coming back it works if you work it!

STAY IN TOUCH WITH THIS BLOG!!! Subscribe to the RSS Feed in the upper right hand corner! And until next time…SHOOT FOR THE WALL!!!

HOW TO TUESDAY #7 - Finding Inspiration and Photographing Outside of Your Comfort Zone

December 8, 2015

I learned so much in the last year, doing research, visiting, and photographing the many talented artists that were featured in My Louisiana Muse. Not only did I get to photograph these Louisiana artists in their inspiring sacred spaces, I got to hear from the horses’ mouths on what makes them “tick”.

No other message rang louder than what musician Tommy Michot said about making Gumbo. Living in South Louisiana sometimes our greatest teachers are food. Tommy was recounting his days living in Utah and telling me that it was there, so far away from his hometown of Lafayette, that he learned to make his first gumbo. He recounted that being so far away from home made him adapt and learn the things that made him feel closer to home in a way. I feel the same way about photography. 

There are some weeks when I feel like I am in the circular whizzing treadmill of Bid, Proposal, Shoot, Edit, and Deliver…. Repeat, Rest, Repeat. This part of being a freelance photographer can wear on your soul and your creativity for sure! Now don’t get me wrong, I find ways to be creative on the jobs I go for and the proposals I create and I do still feel in full control of my content and direction. But the grind wears on you! One technique I have used and often use is to “step outside the bubble”.

In order to be able to step outside of the ‘treadmill’, I like to simplify my creative photographic approach on any given day. Here are several ways I change up my routine and find some creativity when life gets too much like the hamster:

1. One Lens. All Day. Try taking out just a fixed prime lens, like a 50mm or a 35mm and force yourself to document your day with one focal length. I find that by limiting my field of view, it forces me to find new ways to compose my story.

2. ‘Feels Weird, Looks Good’. Try photographing subject matter which you don’t normally shoot. If you are timid around people, ask a stranger to take their portrait. If you don’t photograph landscapes, go on an “architecture walk” in the French Quarter and find some houses to photograph. It’s funny the way new opportunities present themselves when you are “out of your bubble”. (I often use ‘feels weird looks good’ when photographing portraits of people who aren’t used to getting their picture taken. I can sense they are uneasy at times, and I say it….it really works, try it!)

3. Try New Editing Techniques. We all have a certain editing comfort zone we gravitate towards when putting the final creative touches to a photograph. Next time you are in front of some of your work, try a new edit – play around with some filters, clarity, and some contrast. When you shoot RAW you have no excuse NOT to experiment!

4. Put the Camera down and Pick Up a Book. I am a bonafide book reader. I love to read and I get so much inspiration from books. Books on artists, creativity, and non-fiction give me ideas that make me want to go and DO. Sometimes putting the camera down and picking up a book can lead to new projects or new insights on existing projects.

5. Go. See. Involve. Anywhere you live there is a gallery with some photography on the wall, a museum, or a great coffee shop exhibit. Art and photography are all around us even if we are not attuned to it in nature, someone else is. Spend a few hours at a museum or photography gallery or just pick up a photo book. I recently stopped by our friend Scott Edwards’ gallery this week to pickup some early Christmas gifts. His new and used photography book collection is amazing. I had to buy some for myself!

These are just a few practices I use to mix up my status quo when the treadmill gets a little too monotonous. What are some tactics YOU employ to burst out of your Bubble??

Zack

THROWBACK SATURDAY! HOW TO TUESDAY #5 - Photographing in Natural Light versus Strobes when photographing families and kids

November 24, 2015

Here’s a throwback to How To Tuesday #5 where I explain when to use natural light for portraits and when/how to add strobes. I will be teaching these techniques and MORE in my upcoming workshop “Art of the Photographic Portrait” August 20th in New Orleans – space is filling fast! Sign up Now! CLICK HERE!

Now I will be honest. I don’t market myself as a family and kid photographer in New Orleans not because I “hate shooting kids uyhhhhhhgggh” – no, that’s not me. I make myself available to photograph families and kids, and I also photograph weddings too. I just don’t market myself as a wedding or family photographer. It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s not kitchen, it’s the cook! Why light matters more than a camera when doing natural light portraits.

I have seen the trends over the last 15 years evolve so much. Owning a high res digital camera has become so commonplace that there are “photographers” cropping up every day with their own blog, website, and business plan, but have no real grasp on the many other ways to light a portrait other than available light. This is good and bad. For one, you can become an expert at one type of lighting scheme and do really well at it. But secondly, when presented with a light change or problem, you are stuck. This can also hamper your creative impulses when having to pigeonhole your execution to one type of light.

This rapid influx of a very similar type of portrait style has taken over the market so much that clients want this particular feel for everything. Blown out sky’s, washed out backgrounds, all to get the skin tones nice and even – but what is that worth? There is a time and place for natural light and strobeless photography but knowing when to use it and when not to use it can be a key component in any photographers tool bag. 

WHEN TO USE NATURAL LIGHT

I think when doing a portrait outdoors and your background is darker then your subjects skin…it’s GOOD TO USE NATURAL LIGHT

 Thanks to my sister-in-law

This technique will keep your highlights away from your corners and drive the viewers eyes to your subject. Shooting a shallow depth of field will allow you to blur out any details that may take away from your subject. Photographing kids outdoors using only natural light will allow you to set your focus on the tracking feature and high frame rate so you never miss a moment.

When do I use strobes and natural light?

I love finding unique places in our community to bring my subjects. You will find treasures in the Louisiana landscape in any parish, you just have to look. I like to scout first with my portrait lens to frame up some sample compositions. In order to get an accurate representation of what I am going to get when I put people in it, I focus in the foreground and NOT on my whole scene so I can see what the blurred background will be like. 

When photographing a portrait and including the environment, you are often left with your subject squinting a bit. One easy answer to this is to diffuse the sun with a large diffusion disc (or a 5 in 1 w/ the wrapper/reflectors taken off)

The diffuser will block the sun and then you can use your strobe to light the subject. All you need to do is first is to set your exposure for the AESTHETIC you want for the shot and make sure your background is exposed properly….diffuse your subject…then add the light. If your subjects are too bright…then turn down the power on the strobe – or back it up! Easy!

There you have it. Yes it can get confusing and complicated when you bring in strobes but there is nothing better for matching “subject to background light” than a nice big softbox. I will be teaching these techniques and MORE in my upcoming workshop “Art of the Photographic Portrait” August 20th in New Orleans – space is filling fast! Sign up Now! CLICK HERE!

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Zack

Arts Council New Orleans Luna Féte photo walk - it's a pop up, meetup, get up New Orleans photo workshop!

November 23, 2015

I am honored to work with the Arts Council New Orleans again on a very special project. As we inch closer to New Orleans’ Tri-Centennial celebration in 2018, The Arts Council has been ramping their own celebration with LUNA Féte. 

LUNA (Light Up NOLA Arts) Féte is a visionary initiative created by the Arts Council New Orleans to utilize our city’s iconic architecture as the canvas for contemporary light installation, motion graphics, and video mapping practices to create a series of artistic large-scale outdoor architectural projection mapping installations across the city leading up to New Orleans’ 2018 Tri-Centennial celebrations.

And during this, I will take 20 participants on a Night Photowalk through the artistically lit New Orleans landscape as the city will be lit by these one of a kind installations and interactive displays. With cameras and tripods in hand, we will visit at least 5 installations that are part of  This event is FREE but limited to 20 participants on ONE NIGHT ONLY. We will have a security guard walking with the group.

WORKSHOP SIGNUP – click here!!!

I see this as a unique what for amateurs and pros to begin documenting the city as we celebrate 300 years of the most unique art, culture, and uniqueness any city in the world has ever  known. We are a young city, in the course of humanity, but we have an identity that must be protected and celebrated. f8 and Be There, Shoot for the Wall…whatever your motto is – turn on your cameras and tell the story of New Orleans like never before….

 

HOW TO TUESDAY'S #4 - Can You Afford to Be Creative? Digital Photography and the Evolution of the Business Side of Creativity

November 17, 2015

I still feel that my calling to photography is stronger than ever. My desire to use the camera as a tool to tell a story is continuing to evolve as is my ability to communicate with my subject.  What I wasn’t expecting was the amount of computer work, accounting, and file management that goes with it all. In my early days of film photography I found solace and a wellspring of creativity in the darkroom. I just do not get the same “buzz” as I did developing silver prints as I do editing 1000’s of images from an event. But that’s the trade off right?

Our ability to shoot with these extremely high resolution digital cameras, while storing hundreds of images at at time, gives us the opportunity to take on more clients of our choosing so that we can afford to be creative. In the beginning, my goals and priorities stated that “I could not afford NOT to be creative” so that all resources, time, and energy went to creating. Times do change, for the better though.

With new added responsibilities in life and in business, I find myself investing in more “adult” purchases such as Cloud Storage, Photography Insurance, Web Design, and awesome rolling Pelican Cases (there’s some joy in adult decisions!). While these investments certainly won’t help me communicate better with my clients and increase my SEO, they will help ease my mind. The more I can compartmentalize the business side of photography then the more I can open up the pathways that help me create with vigor, direction, and purpose. I do feel our True Vision lies within the innate and strong connection to our abilities and the mastery of our skill. Before we can even go there, we need to have a strong foundation that can support responsible creativity – what’s the point of making amazingly creative photography if there is no system to protect it, you, and your future?

Think about…and then sleep easy.

So there you have my insights what’s been going on inside my head, now I want to show you whats been blasting out of my screen. I want to leave you with a few helpful links on getting your Photography Workflow in a good place that is efficient, non-destructive, and gets you back out on the street shooting. At Zack Smith Photography Workshops we just wrapped up “Just Shoot RAW: Workflow for Photographers” where we talked about how to manage your files (life!) in the Adobe Creative Cloud system using Bridge, Adobe Camera RAW, and Photoshop. So many helpful links and techniques were talked about, some I will share with you here.

COLOR SPACEwhich should I choose??

http://www.digital-photo-secrets.com/tip/2401/what-are-color-spaces-and-which-one-should-i-choose/

CLOUD BASED BACKUP

http://www.thetop10bestonlinebackup.com/cloud-storage

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2413556,00.asp

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/onedrive-dropbox-google-drive-and-box-which-cloud-storage-service-is-right-for-you/

I also want to stick in a little promotion for a very old friend, photographer and educator, Dave Marx. Dave and I met and became fast friends during the summer of 2000 when we both attended the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, MT. I can’t say enough great things about the training and life experiences I had that summer, but I can say that a few of the dear friends I made there are doing very well at their craft. Dave has made a name for himself as a Lightroom expert and has a wonderful YouTube Channel you should all go check out now…

Make sure you sign up for the newsletter on this website! I have some VERY EXCITING announcements happening in the next few days and I don’t want you to miss them! Here are a few parting shots of a quick photo essay that takes us from Arizona to Delacroix, and Chalmette to New Orleans. Yes, there’s a theme….can you spot it?

Next week: Part 2 of Natural Light Portrait Photography and Mixed Light Portraits

 

HOW TO TUESDAY'S #3 - Tis the Season! Portrait Lighting Made Easy: Photograph great portraits in any situation!

November 11, 2015

Hello everyone! I first want to apologize for getting your edition of “HOW TO TUESDAY’S” out so late. I had a two day job this week that had me up early and working late. I will do better next week getting this to your inbox before noon so you can get started shooting.

Portrait Lighting Made Easy – Studio on the Geaux Holiday style!

Getting the family portrait right this month can be as crucial as how long to keep the oyster dressing in the oven. Whether you are about to shoot your own family holiday card photos or have been deemed “Thanksgiving Photographer”, then this Zack Smith Photography HOW TO TUESDAY photo technique is for you. 

All you aspiring photographers out there will find these following techniques helpful as well as you begin to book more head shots and portrait commissions to round out your growing business. 

If you remember last weeks HTT on “Letting the Subject set the Settings”, you can start setting your camera up for any portrait shoot before the situation arises. But let’s make our starting point real easy and find a shaded area where the SUBJECT is in the SAME LIGHT as the BACKGROUND. This easy tip can help you get an even exposure throughout your shot so that there will be little editing of your RAW files and you will be able to see your end result pretty much straight out of the camera.

                                                 

                                                

By choosing a shallow depth of field (f 3.5, f 2.8 and lower) you can blur out the background and make the viewers eyes go right to your subject. Let’s look at a few more from my archives. Remember : SAME LIGHT ON SUBJECT AND BACKGROUND

                                                           

                                                          

                                                                                  

                                                                                 

You can use that same technique and apply it to portraits in the direct sun, making sure your subject is still in the SAME light as your BACKGROUND…

                                                              

                                                             

I guarantee these simple techniques will assist you out in your holiday portrait photography duties. Remember the key to ultimately SEE like your camera sees is to hit the street and practice these techniques. That’s it for this week!

Keep Shooting for the Wall!

Zack

HOW TO TUESDAY'S #2 - "Let the Subject Set the Settings"

November 3, 2015

Welcome back to “How To Tuesday’s” – your FREE Weekly photography technique and tips blog hosted by Zack Smith Photography. I hope you made some use of “The Sunny 16 Rule of Exposure” and did some shooting over the last week. We’ve had some rainy days in the Gulf Coast but some great overcast ones as well. I always say – “You don’t get reflections without the rain” so here’s another tip to get you out there shooting.

 Unless you bring your own bucket of water with you - you have to have a little rain to get gorgeous puddle reflections of popular New Orleans institutions ©Zack Smith

Unless you bring your own bucket of water with you – you have to have a little rain to get gorgeous puddle reflections of popular New Orleans institutions ©Zack Smith

Over the last 10+ years teaching photography I have found that there are a few common “road bumps”  that folks have when first trying to get comfortable with the camera and how it sees. Our goal with learning the camera is to “see” like it “sees” and that can mean many things. ISO, White Balance, focal length, aperture and shutter speed are just a few that come to mind…and that’s only the beginning. There are a few helpful guides I would like to pass on that can help break down the many settings that get in the way of us being creative and comfortable with our new “eyes”….

“Let the Subject Set the Settings”

Our goal is to put ourselves in a position to use the camera as an extension of our creativity that is of a second nature ability. We want to be able to see a moment and instinctively raise our camera to our eyes, press the button and VOILA! A print suitable for the wall is born. Well, we can do that! There are a few steps we can take that will have us ready to shoot like Lee Friedlander on the streets of NOLA and Clarence John Laughlin with his subjects in the swamps. All of our answers lie in HOW WE UNDERSTAND OUR SUBJECT. The more functions we can preset for any situation will allow us to create quicker. (Don’t forget to SEE the Clarence John Laughlin show at Scott Edwards Gallery on your next walk!)

By studying the TYPE OF LIGHT, LIGHT DIRECTION, and LIGHT QUALITY we can set a few things and get them out of the way…

ISO – We want to choose the lowest ISO possible for any given situation to achieve maximum sharpness and quality. SUBJECT – Is it in the shade? Direct Sun? Dark overcast, Inside? Set the ISO accordingly.

White Balance – we want to set the WB to the appropriate setting to adjust the color temperature and mood. SUBJECT – Dial in the WB setting to what type of Color Temperature your subject is in – not what light YOU are in.

Aperture – By pre-setting Depth of Field we can achieve the FEEL or AESTHETIC before shooting! SUBJECT – does your subject need to be separated from the background? Does it need to be integrated into the background to relay an added storyline? f2.8 for Shallow D.O.F., f16 for extended D.O.F. (these are just suggestions)

Focal Length – The story you are are about to tell of your subject will be dictated how it is composed in your frame, so pre-selecting a Focal Length (35mm, 50mm, or 100mm for example) can make for a quicker transition into actual shooting. If you are shooting a head shot portrait, pre set at 85mm-120mm – if you are shooting landscapes, stay around 24mm-35mm. 

Focus – Is your subject moving? Is it still? Selecting One Shot (Canon) or AF-S (Nikon) for still objects and AI Servo or AF-C for tracking subjects that are moving, you can get yet another setting out of the way!

The Goal here is to get as much set in your camera as possible so you can immediately start shooting in any situation. The quicker we have some KEY SETTINGS (ISO, WB, Fstop, Focal Length, Focus) locked away, we can start to place our subject in our frame and let the creative juices flow. Don’t get bogged down by your cameras settings, just follow these helpful pre-sets and you’ll be on your way. I have made a single graphic that you can print out at 4×6 @ 300dpi or save for reference in any shooting situation. Have fun, and keep Shooting for the Wall!

 My longtime friend and awesome assistant Tamara is letting you know....YOU GOT THIS! Print this 4x6 card out and keep it in your bag! ©zack smith photography 2015

My longtime friend and awesome assistant Tamara is letting you know….YOU GOT THIS! Print this 4×6 card out and keep it in your bag! ©zack smith photography 2015

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