Checklist: Aye Aye

Back when I spent a lot of time flying airplanes, I would never have dreamt of leaving without going step by step through a detailed checklist. Much as you know, without the checklist you’ll forget that fuel tank selector once – and once is all it takes.

Photography is less critical – but not much. So I propose that you use a checklist much of the time.

This checklist depends on what you are shooting. I usually start from standard settings for snaps:


  1. Lens (and camera if it has a setting) on AUTO
  2. Select one focus point
  3. Mode: One-Shot/AF-S


  1. Mode: Aperture, set to f/5.6
  2. ISO: 200 outdoors, 400 indoors and 800 in difficult light
  3. Exposure Compensation: Off (Zero)
  4. Flash compensation: Off (Zero)
  5. Meter: Evaluative/Matrix (“Smart”)


  1. White balance: Auto
  2. Shutter release: Single

Then I vary from there.

For indoors flash pictures, for instance, it would be as above, except:

  1. Mode: Manual
  2. ISO: 400
  3. Aperture: f/5.6
  4. Shutter: 1/30th second
  5. Flash: On, pointed 45 degrees behind me

You can make your own, and I encourage you to. One of my flight instructors once told me: every item on the checklist is there because that feature has killed several people. And for photography, every item is there because it has ruined someone’s wedding pictures.

1 thought on “Checklist: Aye Aye

  1. Really like this idea of a checklist:) Really helps me to think of the settings for certain situations. I think I will be making a few pocket checklists:) Thanks for the post!

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