16 things every photographer should be able to do in less than 10 seconds

Apr 24, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

16 things every photographer should be able to do in less than 10 seconds

Apr 24, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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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?

YouTube video

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]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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12 responses to “16 things every photographer should be able to do in less than 10 seconds”

  1. Karen Padilla Avatar
    Karen Padilla

    I didn’t think I could possibly do 16 things that fast but my camera is pretty much ready from the time I’m done cleaning it when I put it back in the bag from the last shoot. I still have trouble with the Manual Focus – it’s a personal and bifocal problem and not a speed problem. For closeup manual focus, taking off my glasses works. For distance (anything past 2 feet – yes, I’m that blind without my glasses) focus, I have to use auto focus. No solution to that until MD decides it’s time for the cataract surgery. So, it might take me 11 seconds but for someone my age, that’s not too bad.

  2. Abdullah Khan Avatar
    Abdullah Khan

    I can do all of that in 10 seconds, except for the manual focussing. I am pretty slow learner at this…

  3. Iztok Medja Avatar
    Iztok Medja

    I am just reading this great histogram for the last few days, I am halfway through, amazing stuff! (lol, who writes this articles :D

  4. Fabrice Bacchella Avatar
    Fabrice Bacchella

    White balance ? Why not learn to shoot raw instead. So you will be able to set white balance in post.

    Many focus ? It needs very strange condition to fool a modern auto focus. Try back-button auto focus instead.

    Change battery ? I never allows my battery to go below 50% to avoid having to swap them in emergency. Same for card.

    1. Keith A Varley Avatar
      Keith A Varley

      Back-button autofocus still isn’t as good as manual. I still find that I have to turn off autofocus 90% of the time, because it won’t allow me to focus properly on my subject.

      1. Pierre Lagarde Avatar
        Pierre Lagarde

        With back button, you can have both AF and MF conditions : just don’t push the button ! Only on some cameras, focus indicators are not set the same way with back button configuration (and perhaps it’s your case), but for most of them, there is no difference in using MF and just don’t push back button.

      2. Fabrice Bacchella Avatar
        Fabrice Bacchella

        90 % of time ? You really don’t take time to learn how to use autofocus or you take very special kind of picture. Modern DSLR are not good at manual focus as they lack the focus prism, so no manual focus is not better than auto focus.

  5. Patrik Martinson Avatar
    Patrik Martinson

    I can’t manually focus on any dslr I’ve seen at wider shutters. Also not willing to install a focus prism. So just autofokus for me…

  6. willdmo Avatar
    willdmo

    Honestly, who needs 10 seconds to lock “manual focus”? Then the shoot is gone :D
    Everything is doable in that time, but to not make everything inconvenient for the client, you should be much faster.

  7. Littlemark Avatar
    Littlemark

    This all sounds a bit frantic to me. I find that a more considered approach usually achieves better results.

  8. redsnappa Avatar
    redsnappa

    I pressed the back button 7 seconds into reading this rubbish article.

  9. Christoph Matz Avatar
    Christoph Matz

    17. Consider if it’s worth to read the rest