As a professional photographer, you really need to know your stuff. And there are some things you should be able to do fast, without thinking or even without looking. Ed Gregory from Photos in Color has a list of 16 things every photographer should be able to do in less than 10 seconds. If you’re a newbie, you may still need more time to do some of these things, and pros should already be able to do them in no time. Can you do them all in less than 10 seconds?
1. Change your battery
When you’re on set, you should always have a spare battery in your pocket, so you can change it in a matter of seconds and go on shooting. Keep in mind that the empty battery doesn’t go back to the pocket, but on a charger.
2. Change a lens
Another thing you should be able to do in less than 10 seconds is changing a lens. It sounds like a piece of cake now, but I remember how clumsy I was with it when I bought the first lens after the 18-55mm.
3. Set the White Balance on your DSLR
There are a couple of settings you should be able to do fast, and one of them is white balance. Make it a habit to set the proper white balance as you get to the location, and learn to change it fast.
4. Manual Focus
There are situations when autofocus isn’t going to be of much help, and you need to focus manually. In these cases, you shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to focus the subject manually. Many photographers even prefer manual focus, and you?
5. Change shooting mode
Considering that there’s a knob for this, it shouldn’t be a problem to turn it to the shooting mode you want to switch to in less than 10 seconds,
6. Change the memory card
Taking the full card (or cards) out and popping in the new ones shouldn’t take long. Don’t forget to switch the camera off and store the full cards in a safe place.
7. Set your camera to Burst Mode
Again, there’s a knob for changing the shooting mode, and you should be able to switch to Burst Mode in no time.
8. Setup a Tripod
Instead of extending the legs one by one when you set up the tripod, just open it, screw the base plate onto the camera and pop it onto the tripod. Make sure to actually bring the base plate, as Ed forgot it for the video.
9. Setup a reflector
The reflector unfolds on itself, so I don’t think it’s a problem to set it up. The folding can be a bit slow in the beginning, but practice and you’ll soon be able to do it in an instant.
10. Review images fast
When a client is around, you don’t want to spend more time chimping than taking photos. Take a quick look at framing and hit the “zoom in” button to check on focus. You can customize your camera to do it with a single click and make it even faster.
11. Read histogram
Make sure to understand histogram and learn how to read it and quickly see what it shows. When it’s too bright outside to check the exposure on the camera display, the histogram will tell you whether the exposure is correct.
12. Turn the lens hood around
When you want to remove the lens hood, you should be able to do it in no time and click it on its place in a matter of seconds.
13. Get the camera ready to shoot
You shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds to have the camera out of the bag and ready to shoot. Keep it in the bag with the lens attached, and placed so that you can quickly get it out and start shooting. Have it set up, and keep an empty memory card inside.
14. Evaluate the ambient light
When you get to a location and have to work with the available light, learn to evaluate it fast and see what you can do with it.
15. Create a connection
They say you only have 7 seconds to make the first impression. So, as a professional, you should be able to connect to your client and make them feel comfortable in about this much time.
16. Pitch yourself as a photographer
Okay, 10 seconds isn’t enough to promote yourself and make the client want to work with you. But again – make sure that they get a good first impression, and you only have 7 seconds for that.
Although I’m not a pro, I can do all of these in less than 10 seconds, except for the last two. Interpersonal skills and self-promotion are not my strongest sides, and I’m a bit timid around unknown people (one of the reasons why I never turned pro).
What about you? Can you do all these in less than 10 seconds? Is there anything you’d add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Editor’s note: The title of the video states “17 things,” but the video skips number 13, so our title is adapted.
[EVERY PHOTOGRAPHER should be able to do these 17 THINGS in under 10 SECONDS | Photos in Color]