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:
- Lens (and camera if it has a setting) on AUTO
- Select one focus point
- Mode: One-Shot/AF-S
- Mode: Aperture, set to f/5.6
- ISO: 200 outdoors, 400 indoors and 800 in difficult light
- Exposure Compensation: Off (Zero)
- Flash compensation: Off (Zero)
- Meter: Evaluative/Matrix (“Smart”)
- White balance: Auto
- Shutter release: Single
Then I vary from there.
For indoors flash pictures, for instance, it would be as above, except:
- Mode: Manual
- ISO: 400
- Aperture: f/5.6
- Shutter: 1/30th second
- 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.