List of Things To Do Before Pressing The Shutter Button

We need to do some checks on our camera in a certain order with the purpose of taking a photo. Some of you may not know these at all or just forgot them. I have prepared a checklist to help photographers that I even use myself. In this article I assume that you know the basic concepts of photography.

  • Why: when you decide to take a photo, the first question needed to ask is “why”. Why would you want to take a photo of this scene? Why would like people to think about this photo? It is quite important to answer questions like these because regarding to the answers we are going to decide which equipment we are going to use and we are going to adjust our camera. For instance if our purpose is to tell a lonely man in a crowd and to tell the thematic contrast of this situation, we want the depth of field on the lonely man narrow so that means we should keep the aperture value small.
  • Light: Is the light suitable and enough to take a photo? Do the features of light (direction, color etc.) support of your purpose? Look at the darkest and the lightest areas of the scene which you will take picture of. Can your equipment’s dynamic range handle with the difference between these two?
  • Unnecessary foreign objects: is there any objects that you don’t want in the scene? Do you have a chance to remove this objects from the scene? If you don’t have, what kind of costs will you have in the situation of removing the object by using photoshop after taking the photo?
  • Perspective: Is your angle interesting enough at the moment? Are you happy with the background?  Do you have any opportunity to take a photo more plain and interesting by changing the perspective and distance to theme?
  • Choosing the equipments: Which equipments (lens, tripod, filter, flashlight etc.) did you decide to use? Setup your equipments.

Be sure that ISO setting is not still high from a previous shooting.

  • Shooting Settings: Did you check your JPEG/RAW settings, aperture value, shutter speed, ISO, white balance according to your purpose of shooting and method? Which mode do you prefer to take the photo? Is your shutter speed enough not to shake camera if you are holding it. Be sure that ISO setting is not still high from a previous shooting.
  • Looking from Viewfinder: When you are looking from viewfinder, look at the left top first and then in order look at the right top, the right bottom, the left bottom and finally the left top. During the scanning, is there any objects which you don’t want in your frame? Are you happy with the framing? Are there any distracting objects behind or around of the real point of interest? You can do this controls before looking from the viewfinder and also you can do the checks again while looking through viewfinder.
  • Exposure meter settings: Are shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings of exposure meter as you wanted? Is + or –  exposing necessary? Could black and white parts in the scene mislead your exposure meter? Are you doing the photometry from correct spot? If you are not happy with your settings, change your shooting mode.
  • Focus: Where should focus point be? Camera can do the job or it can be something mixed are not the options. Focus is always on a unique spot and you will determine that.
  • Breath control: Before pressing the shutter button simply apply a little pressure on it just before taking the photo. Take a deep breath and stop breathing and complete pressing the shutter button and take the photo.
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6 Comments List of Things To Do Before Pressing The Shutter Button

  1. Willy October 9, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Great checklist! I can’t tell you how many times I have to hurry to get a shot and I find out later that I had the iso turned up still. Not the end of the world, but a hassle. Also, controlling your breathing really helped me as I never did that before.

    1. Tunart October 10, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thank you for your contribution.

  2. Kelly October 9, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    I agree, this is a great checklist. I am still working on the lighting part of my pictures, but I seem to be getting better at it. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Tunart October 10, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      you are welcome

  3. Caitlin October 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Great post! These are all definitely important things to do before you hit that button! Sometimes I get so excited about a shot that I get in a rush, afraid I’ll miss my moment. This sometimes results in getting a photo that isn’t all I wanted it to be. It’s definitely important to stop and check your shooting settings as well just as you said.

  4. Derek October 20, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Wow. That is a pretty long list of things there. Very nicely depicted everything that is necessary for a perfect shot. But frankly speaking, In today’s world where every person had a high resolution camera in their smart phones, people are in just too much of hurry to press the capture button.


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