New Camera? Set It Up Right Before You Shoot

Choosing camera settings (Canon)

Photographer and instructor John Greengo recently wrote an article for DP Review recommending some basic settings to adjust before you take a new camera out on your first photo shoot. You can read his suggestions here.

Got a new camera? Change these settings before you shoot! by John Greengo

I have a couple more suggestions to add to Greengo's list:

  • Disable the ability to shoot without a memory card in the camera; you don't want to lose pictures because you forgot to load a memory card.
  • Disable the beep that sounds during auto focus or when counting down the self-timer. This is especially important if you are shooting at a performance or wedding where the noise would be a distraction.
  • Adjust the auto power off timer so the camera doesn't "go to sleep" too soon between shots; I recommend 1 or 2 minutes.
  • Increase the image review time after you take a shot, so you have sufficient opportunity to actually check your photo for composition, exposure, and/or sharpness. I suggest 8 seconds or something close to that. If you don't need that much time, tapping the shutter button dismisses the image and gets you back to shooting mode.
  • Turn off the auto rotate feature for vertical images. This displays a vertical shot turned right side up when holding the camera horizontally. But the picture is really small compared to a horizontal shot in playback. With this setting disabled, you do have to turn the camera to see the vertical picture in the correct orientation, but it's a much larger display. Some cameras allow you to turn off rotation in the camera but keep the rotation on the computer so the downloaded images appear as verticals in your software. Note that this setting is in the Setup menu, not the playback menu.

Vertical photo rotated in camera

Vertical photo not rotated in camera

Viewing vertical photo

Your camera may call these settings by different names in the menus, but they are worth locating and changing to help you enjoy your new camera.