17 Things Every Photographer Should Be Able to Do in 10 Seconds

There are some abilities that should just be second nature to photographers. Here are 17 such things to make you have down pat to keep you prepared to shoot and looking like the pro that you are.

Among these great tips from Ed Gregory from Photos in Color is one I especially endorse (no. 14): always be ready to shoot. Personally, I always leave my 24-70mm on my 5D Mark IV at f/2.8, 1/1,000 s, auto ISO, and -2/3 EV with continuous AF tracking and high speed mode active. This accomplishes two things: first, it ensures that I'm prepared to shoot any action that I might spontaneously come across. If I come across a static subject, I can always take my time to adjust to that. Second, because I always return the camera to the same settings, I can pull it out and make any adjustments I need instantaneously without checking what I left it on. Of course, depending on what you shoot, your default settings may be different, but the point is to keep your camera ready to go at all times. Do you have any skills you think a photographer should always have at the ready? Share them in the comments! 

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Ryan Brenizer's picture

With wedding mornings I always walk in the door with my cameras already on and ready to shoot (I also love auto-ISO for this), and have sometimes gotten important album photos in the first minute while still walking in. You don't know what you're walking into; best be able to react.

Alex Cooke's picture

Totally agree! Always better to be over prepared.

Tim Y's picture

Also, physically lock the memory card with the little switch on the side before stowing it away so that there's absolutely no possibility that it could be accidentally formatted or overwritten.

Can't change film in under 10 seconds. I was at a performance of the US AIr Force Thunderbirds. I loaded a new roll of 36 exposure film before the start of their performance. During their performance, I ran out of film. Fortunately, it was during a lull in their performance where they were regrouping and I had a new roll of film in the camera to resume shooting.

Alex Cooke's picture

That was impressive.

The Canon A2E looks like it is an auto-load film camera. He just slapped a roll of film in, laid the film across the takeup spool and closed the back.
That's much easier than making sure that the takeup spool is engaged with the film, closing the back, and advancing the film to make sure that, yes indeed, the film is advancing.

This guy is so annoying. Very hard for me to listen to this guy

Obviously Alex has never got dirty shooting photos. Never been up at 3am to shoot a fire, 1am to shoot and accident. Alex is used to a sterile environment and not a working environment. Change lenses in the rain, adjust white balance as your light changes. Alex get dirty, shoot alone without 20 people moving to your every whim. Make post produce, file, and do all the other work that your "staff does".

Ryan Cooper's picture

Most I totally agree with, the manual focus one I think is more depending on the photographer. Personally, I can't manual focus with any sort of consistency mostly because my vision isn't good enough. Looking through a viewfinder I can't actually tell the difference between "in focus" and "almost in focus" no matter how long I have to do it.

Alex Cooke's picture

Have you tried a different focusing screen?

Ryan Cooper's picture

I suspect a focusing screen would solve the problem but I think that would more or less be a commitment to manual focusing in general, not exactly something you can swap out on the fly. ;)

I do rock a magnifying eyepiece which does help a bit. :)

Mark Petersen's picture

praktis changing a lense in low light (without looking)
managed to rotate it 180 and got the lense stuck to the camera during a live show
and had to use 3 min to get it off, and also managed to bend the aperture pin
rendering that lense unusable until I got it repaired :-(

Dave Melges's picture

Why is it, today, that everyone wants to be in fracking videos? Why can't this guy write an ARTICLE? The video is 15 minutes long, I can read a well written article in 3 or 4 minutes, spending more time on the parts that interest me most. If you accompany that with a 2 minute video, you get far more information in far less time

Videos are SO annoying.