Photography Tips: How to find the right camera settings – think like a photographer


hello all you lovely boys and girls out
there in photography land this week only show you a little film
where we’re gonna go through taking couple of images but I’m gonna explain what I’m thinking
as I do it now cameras a marvelous piece of
equipment but on their own they can’t do anything they need to input
Leonardo da Vinci’s brushes and pigments could not have
created the Mona Lisa without him now I have created a new seven-week
downloadable photography course which really goes in depth into this thought
process behind every single image that you gonna take
it’s called the same building blocks of photography just search for seven
building blocks a photography you find a place five hours the videos as work
sheets there’s masses of good stuff this is a big subject and I promise it will revolutionize your
photography but anyway without further do let’s go and have a look of me shooting a couple of images as i
talk you through what I’m doing and what I’m thinking in
order to achieve the image that I want which camera
settings should I use the question we hear quite a lot so I thought I’d take you through a
thought process which i use and I ask myself questions by asking
those questions the answers to its settings they kinda
arise naturally now I’m assuming you’ve watched most the
other videos in the different sections that we’ve already got on the site let’s just do it
suppose I got this little boat sitting here in
the sunshine which I hope is gonna last we got other boats going on the
background it’s all really quite nice let’s say I want to take a picture of that first question how do I want it to look do I want to include lots
background or just the boat do i want to have a
shot front to back old or just wanna have a shallow depth of field looking at
the boat by asking these questions it will tell
me which lens to use and where to stand go and watch the
lenses film particularly the ones about focal length then you’ll
understand what I’m talking about the the shot im gonna take I’m gonna have a fairly wide angle shot
with the boat strong in the foreground and what’s
going on in the background kinda and not quite so important i wanna
try and include as much of the sky as I can as possible so that’s gonna give me a wide angle
lens by getting fairly close to the boat that is going to make the boat strong
very much the subject to the picture right so I have my wide angle lens on I have already set it to its widest focal length: that 10 millimetres in
this case so the next thing is to have a look and
find the composition he’s gonna tell me where I’m gonna need
to set the zoom but I think i want it shortest I’ll move myself backs and forwards to
get the composition now ideally I’d like to be about four
feet that way but I cant so I just hope I don’t fall in and if I do you can have a laugh at my expense if
you wanna come around here Janey has them yeah 10 mill was fine and I’m just lucky
that this is probably a good spots on a move back a shuffle and just focus on the boat so what I’m gonna do is put the boat in the kind lower left third in the shot and then those boats
over there on the opposite upper opposite of the frame so I can see quite clearly that’s gonna
work beautifully okay next question what light am i In . I’m in sunshine so that’s gonna give me
my white balance setting isn’t it put onto the sunny setting the next
question is how much depth of the fields do I want well for this honor
shot landscape I’m on lot so that the field I wanted to be
very sharp indeed said that is gonna tell me which
aperture to useif i want lots of sharpness then i want a small aperture just wanna go to F-sixteen and I go to
the smallest aperture lot because the lens will perform better
if I don’t push it to its extremes that’s gonna tell me my depth the field the next question is which shutter speed
doing i need because the aperture is going to govern
that and it’s also going to have an impact on eyesight so again looking through the
viewfinder you can’t do this just kinda pointing at the ground and looking in
the back look through the viewfinder with the
shot composed and see what shutter speed on getting I’m getting an 80th of a second
F-sixteen in this light and my eye ISO on 200 which is the
lowest the best quality the best colors and everything else so I don’t need to change it if I needed
a faster shutter speed I would have to increase my ISO I can
to get that why would I need a faster shutter speed
you need to have a fast enough speed to freeze any camera shake those a
little movements come watch the camera shake film that will explain it so there we go by asking myself those
questions I know what my camera settings are are now put them onto the camera got my
aperture my shutter speed I’ve got my white balance all set
and I know that I can use my finest my ISO all I have to do now easily now over the
water focus on the boat compose my shot and take the picture there it is so there you go there’s one that’ll set
of questions for that particular shot and those
questions by asking myself a given myself the settings I need for
the camera can find a different scenario something kinda interesting me over here if you can see and we got this pontoon
with these boats tied up to it and in the middle of it there are some
flowers and I quite like there’s some sort of safety ratings
record low lifesaver rings now quite like the light on those sites
those like saber rings and and the flowers either side it’s a real sort of
boaty sort of a key sighed thing think the sun’s
going so like the light on them but doesn’t matter I’ll keep talking you through
the shot maybe the Sun will come out okay that’s the shot I’m gonna go for
what I’m seeing in my mind is something to do with those rings with
the plant either side maybe some boats in the background
something to say this the big boat you know bring it together first think think
about the composition hand we wanted to look and that’s my first question well
obviously i’ve got the soft background so i want a shallow dept of field I wanna make those boats in the distance
probably come this way a little bit so that I can line up my an orange life bouys to do that i’ve gotta think about where do i
think is really simple to line the shot up you just move yourself around and
look with your eyes now on this or moving up and down here and I think to get I reckon from about here I’m gonna get the the life boys and the
bit the plants and then some boats in the background ok where have you gone are you over there she keeps doing that she moves and im not ready
for it so i turn around to talk to you and fung you’re over there right now to achieve that shot that’s
gonna give that’s gonna tell me which lens to use im gonna need a long lens because obviously I
can’t climb over there but even if I could I want to compress
perspective I want to suck everything together a bit and I want a very narrow field review
because I want to try and mess things like that Deepwater life jackets available sign on
the pontoon and also the lifebuoy which is hanging
on that pole Just in from to the third little boat in
I don’t want them in their so I want a narrow narrow field of view
i want to look like looking down a drainpipe like this I
don’t know why it feel to be on to narrow field a few again gonna look our lenses films this
the focal length for will tell you all about that the focal length: explained I think it’s
called anyway long lens so I can get my camera with a long lens on it try not to trash everything in the
process only is my longest focal length and the
set zoom as long as possible act I have to move further away then so
be it the long long as they will keep the field of view narrow so
let’s try and set my in the Hudson click them standing up now I think
that’s about right actually getting closer so many as close
as I can because I want to make sure I can
exclude that dep water life jackets from the shot just focused up and have a
look through yeah I’m shuffle this way a tiny bit im lining the shot up nicely yes good I can
I can just about achieve the shot im after so focus on the the no sorry than getting ahead of
myself arent i on how much depth of the field do I want a very shallow depth of the field
because I want the rings to be nice and sharp but i want
either side of them to be a bit soft so that’s gonna tell me
which aperture I need because the wider the aperture the shallower the depth of the field so I’m gonna set my widest aperture
that is the lowest F number okay so now I can have a little look
through the viewfinder again with the shot all composed and see what
shutter speed I’ve got now with a very wide aperture obviously tons at light is coming in so have a
very for most shutter speed let’s have a look at my
ISO again I’m down on 200 ISO if it was dark you know why it would be
good if the Sun had gone in cuz I have been able to show you that I’ll find a
way to in a minute they’ve been dark I would have had to
make sure that my shutter speed was faster the 200 for the second
because my lens is set to 200 millimetres I’m gonna need the
200 for the second to ensure I don’t get camera-shake any wobble lost on taking the
picture but as it happens with my len says it
F-four with isn’t quite my widest aperture but
there you go I’m gonna focus on the lifebuoys I’ve gotta 1500 the second with the shot
composed so that’s pretty cool let’s just know
it’s windy squeeze of shot and there you go so that’s what I was looking at by
asking myself those questions how do I want the picture to look it’s given me the settings i need my
camera to make sure the exposure is correct and
I won’t get camera shake et cetera subscribe to our YouTube channel to be
notified each time we out like one of our cool photography videos well for more great photo tips workshops
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Comments 29

  • beautiful scene…

  • This man did more for my photography than a lifetime of book reading ever could. He demystified the esoteric terms of photography by showing me just what those terms added up to, in delightfully simple ways and by lots of practical examples. Anyone trying to wrap their minds around the concept of depth of field for example, should take a look at how Mike uses a piece of tape stuck to a building side to enlighten us.

    I am not sucking up to him but I have to tell you that I regard Mike as the best teacher of photography on the entire Internet. Certainly the most inspiring for the struggling newbie. I do not know him personally but he has such a way of talking directly to you — the photographer — that I am willing to bet that if you spend enough time in his virtual company, he will start to feel like a friend.

    I have spent hours watching and re-watching his stuff and then going out into the field (which has sometimes been my own table top) and playing with his ideas until they have become second nature. I no longer have to think about the "rule of thirds" for example; where those rules are appropriate, they just seem to happen now, all by themselves. In other words, those ideas have sunk into my thick little brain.

    If you want to get better with a camera — seriously — this is the man you need to listen too. I have never — not once — come away from a single one of his videos with a headache as I tried to process half an hour of jargon filled silliness. Yet I have come to know exactly what that jargon means and that has meant better photographs.

    How has all of that translated into real life for me? Well, there was a bit of an incident in my area last Summer. Police everywhere, helicopters, dog vans, police cars, cops with guns. Blue lights. I grabbed the camera and got to work filming everything I could and putting all that practice into action. I sent the resulting images to a local paper and they were impressed enough to print about five of them and credit me as the photographer. The editor called me and said, "These are really good pictures." He never added, "How much do we owe you?" (Do they ever?) but I did not care. I am now a published photographer and my little burst of work that day earned the praise of an Editor of a paper! That is not easy to get, I promise you.

    It was Mike that made that happen for me. I have learned to "see" and "think" like a photographer. So I owe him a huge thank you. Watch his stuff and you will too.

    Thanks Mike.

  • Hi Mike: Congratulation on your 100,000 subscriber on your YouTube site. This past Christmas my children gave me a DSLR camera [Canon T3]. I have had a high end point and shoot, a Canon PowerShot S5-SI for years, but with the DSLR I wanted to learn how to shoot in manual mode. I am retired and on a fixed income and can not afford to pay for a camera course. I have followed you on YouTube and learn so much from watching you videos. So I want to end this comment by saying  Congratulations and Thank You for all you help. Harvey

  • Great for @Mike Browne to talk beginners through thinking out a shot. I had the giggles though, when the parade of swans appeared right in front of him, most photographers woúld not be able to avoid shifting focus to swan #barrys

  • Swan photobombers. Well done. I'll suggest your channel for beginners.

  • Great job Mike. This videos are really helpful. Thanks to you I am able to think more about the idea I want to capture instead of how am I going to.

  • I have literally seen thousands of different vids to learn about using my new DSLR and have to say I enjoy your channel the most.

    Love how you cued the Swans in the vid.

  • whats focus breathing, how to distinguish it while buying new lenses.

  • Hi Mike. I love your videos and have learned a bunch to apply to my novice beginnings. In this video you set the f stop and then you looked into the lens view and said it told you that you needed 1/80th shutter speed. If you were using manual shooting mode, and I thought that you were, wouldn't you have to set the shuttler speed yourself because the camera would not "choose" it for you. Otherwise, how did the camera tell you the shutter speed? Thanks.

  • Hi Mike another great tutorial, i have searched all your videos as I am looking for one on taking images of groups and pairs, my example is an awards event where winners are presented on stage and then a group shot of maybe six people. I have done this many times and always end up panicking and just switching to Auto, then we get flash and although ok thats all they are just ok. Is there a particular video you can recommend or might you be doing one in the future? Many thanks

  • these were the questions I always needed – thanks … though still missing one huge thing – i have no idea I want my picture to look like 😀

  • These Videos are excellent Mike. They keep inspiring me to get out of the house and try and put the information into practice. The next habit I need to develop is to keep asking myself these questions you are teaching us to ask. It really is asking ourselves questions of what we want in the picture to lead us to ask ourselves what settings we need. Thank You for the help and inspiration . Tony Jefferies.

  • Haven't seen a bad video yet from Mike. Very instructive and well explained so everyone can understand Thanks.

  • hi Mike, i collect all your vids and I've learned so much from your videos, clear and understanding, very helpful. thanks

  • Hi Mike, im new to photography and there's a lot to take in. is it ok to use auto WB on daylight? or just set it to sunlight? thanks

  • Did you seriously keep your composure when those beautiful swans approached? You are patient. No wonder you are a great photographer. I was screaming at the screen. 'LOOK AT THOSE SWANS!!!!'

  • Mike (or anyone for the matter)
    How do you get the colours so vivid? I see your scene in the video, colours are what I call flat, dull. Sky is white – light blue-ish, boat is just so-so but the moment you click on your camera and take the shot all these colours get strong, vivid. How do you do that?

  • Best photography tutor on YouTube, God bless you!

  • You sir are an amazing teacher, most photography YouTubers just don't know how to explain in a simple way.. but you can do just that, i am learning alot from your videos.. Keep it up.. and thanks

  • Hi Mike. Thanks to you, I now shoot 90% of the time in manual mode, and I shoot RAW. I like to use spot metering.
    I expose for the brightest part sky and lift the shadow detail in Adobe Camera Raw. Using this method, I'm assured of beautiful, vibrant skies. The highlights are always spot on! (pardon the pun!) And never blown out. Shooting RAW allows me to make the shot look the way I want it to look, and not the way the camera's software (thinks) it should look. There is a massive difference between RAW and JPEG image files.

    @Don Broccoli. The reason that there is such a vast difference between the video colour and the colour in the actual shot is because the video camera is exposing for Mike and not the scene. Any camera can expose only for a certain range of luminence. So the sky will look a bit washed out. When Mike takes the shot, he meters for the scene and not himself. Also, we didn't see how Mike developed the shot. Hope this helps.

  • Mike, you are obviously a highly intelligent man, so answer me this, (nothing to do with photography) what is a deep water life jacket? If the jacket is designed to keep you above the surface (they all are) of the water, why does it matter how deep the water is?

  • Thank you so much! Your videos are always excellent! What about metering though? I'm new to this and am trying to learn which is the best mode for shooting in high contrast situations – e.g. a person against a sky. I've tried spot and centre weighted and battling a bit!

  • Marvellous video. Much appreciated, my good sir.

  • Very basic questions here but I’m a true amateur photographer away from my camera at the moment, but I’m dying to know. So, iso takes in light. The higher the iso the more light is picked up by the camera, and aperture is sort of like a focus length for example instead of a 10-20 meter focus it can change to a 15-45 meter area… Shutter speed is self explanatory the faster the speed the less light gets in to the picture.

    Am I correct with this or totally wrong?

  • There are so many elements that come into taking pictures That you got to consider wind sun clouds heat mirage even the rotation of the earth so realistically only you can set your camera to your own settings and learn mistakes along the way and correct them mistakes even if you have to write them down.

  • (Alan) The Swans felt as if they were being ignored 🙂

  • Now what if I want to add smoothing water? You would need a ND filters and be on a tripod? I love these videos.

  • Such wonderful application as always. I'm having a grand time learning from you. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you favor using aperture priority mode. Is there a reason for that preference, over using full manual mode in your videos?

  • I’ve just completed the 7 building blocks of photography in July this year, I had to up my game as a friend of mind asked me to photograph his wedding after I did the are you sure etc honestly I know it would be good because it’s from mike but I didn’t expect how much it would change thinks for me the way I think and take photos and I’m definitely more confident I did the wedding and I’ve done a 1st Birthday cake smash I truly believe I wouldn’t have able to do either with out do the 7 building blocks of photography I totally recommend it to anyone and everyone I still know I have a lot to lean and I’m having a great time doing it. It’s just a hobby form I’m not looking to make money from it

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