You travel several hours to reach a scenic spot you’ve dreamed about photographing. You take out the camera. You find your composition. You take a couple of test shots… and your battery is flat. You change to the spare battery… flat.
Does this sound familiar?
It has happened to me as well. In fact, the scenario above is heavily influenced by an experience I had after driving 7 hours to photograph a scenic mountain and spend the weekend in a tent. My forgetting to charge my batteries put a quick end to the trip and out of frustration I immediately did the 7-hour drive back home as well.
This scenario isn’t the only way you can miss a good shot. Full memory cards, dirty equipment, forgotten equipment and the wrong settings are just a few common keywords when it comes to missing a shot.
That’s why I’ve put together this downloadable cheat sheet; a checklist that takes you through essential steps before going out, those in the field, and when you’re back home.
Follow these steps and reduce the risk of missing the perfect shot:
Before You Leave
The most important part of the checklist takes part already before you leave home.
You’ll be surprised how often I’ve been with people who’ve forgotten to charge their batteries, come out with a full memory card or have a lens so dirty that the images are useless.
And yes, I’m guilty of making those mistakes as well…
So, before you leave home, make sure that:
- batteries are charged
- the memory card has space on it
- the equipment is clean
- … and you’ve packed all the equipment
I highly recommend making a habit out of always double checking all the steps above before heading out to shoot.
In the Field
The steps you follow above are crucial in the process of capturing the image but they don’t have an impact its quality. Not cleaning the lens won’t affect the noise or exposure.
Making sure that you’re using the ideal settings is important but you also need to pay extra attention to your composition and make sure that you’re making the most out of it. This is what you need to do in the field:
- Check your ISO
- Check your Shutter Speed
- Check your Aperture
- Check your White Balance
- Check your focus
- Check your composition
- Check the corners of the image
- Remove distracting elements from the frame
The final part of your workflow takes place back at home. Your exact workflow when it comes to importing, backing up and processing images depend on what you find most efficient but I highly recommend getting them organized right away.
Also, make sure that there’s enough space on your memory card for your next shoot.
- Import & Backup Pictures
- Format Memory Card (if full)
- Keyword images in Lightroom
- Charge batteries
- Clean camera equipment
- Reset camera settings
Personally, I try to always reset my shutter speed, ISO and Aperture after every single shot. By reset, I mean set the values to what I’m most likely to use (ISO100, f/11 and 1/100s).
I’m still going to adjust the settings when I’m in the field but they are closer to what I’m most likely to use.
Let me give you an example of why you should always double check your settings:
After a long night of photographing the night sky (using a high ISO, open aperture and long shutter speed) I got up at the crack of dawn to photograph the sunrise as well. Still tired from the night’s shooting, I only adjusted the shutter speed.
I had a pretty good sunrise but when I got back and imported the images, I noticed that I had been shooting with an ISO of 1600 and an aperture of f/2.8, which are far from the ideal settings for landscape photography.
Download Our Five Cheat Sheets
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as standing outside watching a beautiful sunset and realizing you can’t remember what settings to use for optimal results. You might be able to walk away with a decent shot but you still know that it could have been so much better.
We’ve all been there and it’s a natural part of progress but wouldn’t it be great to have a little help when you’re standing there? Wouldn’t it be nice to quickly double check what settings or equipment you need for that situation?
That’s what I hope to provide with these free printable cheat sheets:
- Landscape Photography Camera Settings: Aperture
- Landscape Photography Camera Settings: ISO
- Landscape Photography Camera Settings: Shutter Speed
Essential Equipment for Landscape Photography
- Landscape Photography Filters
- Checklist for Landscape Photography
They’ve been designed to be printer-friendly so you can easily take them with you in the field, or just study it on your computer.
Fill out and submit the form below, or click here, to get instant access to your cheat sheets.