photography in action

by Michael Schwarz

Michael Schwarz is a Blue Pixel instructor for the Nikon School, a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and has worked on photography assignments for USA TODAY, National Geographic, Nike and more.

I'm a firm believer that you learn by doing, not just sitting in the classroom, so after a brief orientation we packed up our gear for a full day of hands-on instruction around Albuquerque. In my session, we covered environmental portraits, close-ups, architectural photography and action shots (utilizing our ATVs).

When going out into the field, make sure to follow this Photographer's Checklist:

Before the Shoot Equipment

  • Lenses appropriate to subject matter
  • Flash if necessary
  • Packed appropriately
  • Batteries charged
  • Cards formatted
  • Sensor clear of dust

On the Shoot

  • File Format: set quality to RAW, JPG or RAW+JPG

  • Set focus to autofocus mode: Continuous (Servo) for moving subjects, Single for static subjects.

  • Set a Picture Style (Canon), Picture Control (Nikon)

  • Set white balance: auto, pre-set or a scene-specific wb. Tip: never use auto white balance when shooting sunrise or sunsets.

  • Set ISO: Try to use the lowest numerical ISO offered by your camera, but be sure to use an ISO high enough to use the shutter speed and aperture combination you desire.

  • Set an exposure mode: Program (P), Aperture Priority (A or AV), Shutter Priority (S or TV), Manual (M)

  • Set exposure

  • Verify focus: Use the magnify feature to zoom into your image to confirm sharpness.

For more in-depth photography tips, check out the full presentation at http://www.michaeltraining.com/agmedia2012.pdf.


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