Missing a shot is something that happens to every photographer, but there are ways to make it happen less to you. Here’s how to almost never miss a photo.
Whatever style of photography you shoot, sometimes, things happen really, really slowly, and sometimes, they happen instantly. Even in landscape photography, a break in the clouds can open up, casting perfect light across the scene for just a few seconds. Whether you shoot rock stars or rock formations, the tips in this article can help prevent missing shots.
Have Your Camera Out
The easiest way to miss a shot is to have your camera in a bag. If something happens quickly, by the time you get your bag off and your camera out, you’ve probably missed it. You’re also much more likely to get lazy and convince yourself that there isn’t a photo worth taking, so you don’t have to stop and get it out.
Having your camera out doesn’t just mean having it dangle casually on a strap around your neck. It needs to be turned on, with the lens cap off, ready to go. Unless you’re off on a polar expedition where you need to conserve batteries, the minuscule power draw of standby is worth the tradeoff to not miss a shot.
I’ve found the best way to always have my camera ready is to either use a sling strap so it hangs by my right hip and I can just grab it or, if I’m hiking, skiing, or otherwise doing something active, have it clipped to my left backpack strap with Peak Design’s Capture Clip.
And remember, lens caps belong in your pocket. Keep a cloth handy and give your lens a wipe every so often to keep it clean.
Set Your Camera Up for Quick Shooting
Having your camera out is no use if it’s not set up for you to shoot quickly. 30 seconds faffing around, selecting settings is too long.
Most of the time, if I’m not shooting something specific, I like to have my camera in Aperture Priority mode set to f/8. There’s a reason Weegee supposedly said, “f/8 and be there” was the secret to photojournalism. It’s a great working aperture that will give you a decent image in most situations in which you want to react quickly. If you’ve got time, you can dial it up or down as the situation requires.
Since the camera is taking care of the shutter speed, the only exposure setting left to select is the ISO. You can use Auto ISO if you like, although I prefer to select it at the start of the day and change it as needed. If I think conditions are going to vary a bit, I normally use 400 during the day.
Finally, to make sure I can shoot a moving subject, I enable continuous autofocus and burst mode.
With your camera out and on, the lens cap off, and some great all round settings dialed in, you’ll be ready to shoot in an instant, and you’ll miss much less opportunities.