Some tips to follow before going out and start shooting with your DSRL camera

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Copyright (c) 2009 - Dezhi WeiToday I’m going to talk about few steps to check before starting to shoot with your DSRL camera. With me have already happened some ridiculous situations due my lack of attention or lack of checking the steps below and the worst, sometimes you’re on a trip and you can’t get back to the place you were at, so bye bye to the opportunity of having great shoots from that place again. Some ridiculous situations that have already happened with me when traveling were taking pictures in small sizes, ISO at high values, and so on. I just notice these mistakes when downloading the images to my computer. So, it was too late. To avoid that silly mistakes, here are some steps I think you should follow:

1. Cleaning:
If you change lenses frequently, it can enter dust in the camera and the dust can land on the sensor as well in the lens damaging the final image results by leaving stains and/or dark points on it. Clean the sensor and the lenses before going to a shoot session. Use a hand blower to blow the dust. See the proceeding in the manufacturer’s manual/site. Get used to change the lenses with the camera mouthpiece turned down, it will be more difficult to land dust on the camera sensor.

2. Battery/Charging:
Some hours before leaving to a shoot session, make sure that all batteries are charged. It is always good to have more than one battery, then if you still don’t have an extra one, it’s time to buy it. When putting your batteries in your backpack, don’t forget also to take the battery charger with you;

3. Storage:
Whenever it’s possible, it is good to have more than one memory card in the pocket. Before going out, download your memory cards to the computer and format all them. This way you will be sure that all your images are already saved into your computer and you will have enough free space in your memory cards. If you use compact flashes in your equipment, here is a tip for reducing compact flash costs. In case you don’t have extra memory cards, other possibility is to take some recordable CD and DVD with you, because depending where you’re going to travel, may have some stores that provide the service of saving your files from your memory card into CD/DVD, so they can burn a CD/DVD with your images for a low cost and you will get to format your memory card again and keep shooting;

4. Image size:
A lot of cameras have the option to save the files as RAW, JPG or TIFF format. The best way is shot as RAW format and later you will have more possibility of fine adjustments and will get to transform them into TIFF/JPEG files. In case your camera doesn’t support RAW/TIFF format, opt for the largest JPG format with the highest quality, because there is no reason for using a lower JPEG size/quality in a DSLR camera. Once in another trip, I’ve changed the lenses and the creative areas and I don’t know how it had changed the quality/size of the image and I didn’t notice it. The situation: a beautiful day with a clean sky, a wonderful place and a lot of pictures. When I downloaded all the images to my computer it was a pure deception. All images were in small size and in low JPEG quality. I couldn’t use one to add into my portfolio at iStockphoto! That’s why I advice you. Before starting shooting always check the size/quality of the image you’re going to take;

5. ISO adjustment:
As smaller the ISO value better the quality of the final image regarding noises appearing on the image (noise – granulated dots in the image). As larger the ISO value set, more granulated the image will be and consequently the quality will be worst. Of course it depends on the scene/enviroment/etc. If you change a lot of the creative area and frequently changes the lenses, before starting taking shoots always check how ISO is set in your camera. Sometimes the ISO value can change by itself when changing lens or creative area. I mean, at least it has already happened with me. So, I advise to always check the ISO value before starting shooting. Once I was tripping and went to a beach, I changed the lenses and I don’t know why and how it passed from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The situation again: a beautiful day, a wonderful place and a lot of pictures. When I got home and downloaded the images to my computer, it was a pure frustration. All images were horrible and full of noise. I could not take advantage of one to use at iStockphoto;

6. White balance:
The ideal white balance for each shoot is adjust it for each enviroment, but in case you don’t have this kind of patience or it isn’t possible, opt for leaving the white balance settings in the automatic adjustment. If you shot in RAW it will be easier to fix digitally.

7. Lentes:
In case you have extra lenses as macro, zoom, tilt and others, in my opinion, don’t stop taking them with you because you think you won’t need them for your shoot session. You never know which one can be useful and what you are going to find in your trip and usually when you’re out on a field, always something interesting and different can show up and you will be sorry for not having the lenses with you. So, put several in your backpack and go to your session happy!

Have amazing shoots.

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