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Photography Question 
Francene Show

Keeping Track of Settings

I would like to know how you keep track of every setting that you take for every picture? Do you write it down every time you snap a photo? When I take pictures, I never know what my settings were. I never stop long enough to look at what they were set at. I just shot and go on to the next. I would like to know how you can do that if your shooting away. Please help. Thank you Fran

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10/3/2005 1:11:16 AM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Francene, the best thing to do is actually slow down and write them down. This is a great great learning aid in photography. This will help you #1 slow down, rather than just randomly snapping away, and #2, later you can review your photos and your settings and compare things such as aperture, focal lengths, etc. This will help you learn what functions do what.

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10/3/2005 1:42:35 AM

Loay O. Matar   True. I remember 2-3 years ago when I took photogrpahy classes in high school, our teachers made us do an exposure log. For every exposure, we would write down the subject, aperture, and shutter speed, and some other info about the exposure. That helped a lot and I learned from it, so ... try it. it's a good way to learn. Good luck.

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10/3/2005 5:11:55 AM

Michael H. Cothran   I'm sorry - hand writing in the field just takes waaaay too long. For film AND digital photography, I have always relied on a mini-cassette recorder for the past 30 years! Speaking into a tiny tape recorder is much easier, and when I get home, I play it back, and THEN write down the info on a special form I made.
My new digital SLR now records all the tech data for me, and is permanently stored on the computer with each file. If you are shooting digital, does your camera and its software not do this for you?
I still use the mini-cassette recorder in the field, but now only to record my location, and any info unrelated to the tech data.
Michael H. Cothran

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10/3/2005 5:36:00 AM

Francene Show   I am very thankful for the responses. I still use the old SLR's. I have yet to find a digital I like(seeing how I've only owned two). lol I am waiting for the Digital SLR's to come way down on price. The idea with the recorder sounds good, for being outside shooting it would be hard to write it down. Thanks everyone for your help. Francene Show

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10/3/2005 10:42:27 AM

Terry  R. Hatfield
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2003
  EXIF Data Its Called:-) Its The Greatest Thing Since Ice Cream:-)

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10/3/2005 6:26:04 PM

Joyce S. Bowley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/7/2004
  I had a Minolta Maxxum 4 and used a handheld mini-cassette recorder to keep track of my exposure data. I upgraded to a Minolta Maxxum 7 that stores 7 rolls of data "in-camera" and then I come home and print it out to store with my negatives. When you're shooting photos rather than snapshots, it is very helpful to stop and note what you're doing for review.

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10/3/2005 8:00:53 PM

Dan Fogelberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2005
  As a retired high school photo teacher, I admit that I was one of those demanding instructors who insisted on both shooting and darkroom data sheets. No data sheets, no grade for the finished print, no excuses. Those who took it seriously were generally the most successful students, despite the occasional howls of protest. Micro recorders and digital EXIF data have made it easier to do this, but no less essential. Remember the story of Ansel Adams when he took "Moonrise, Hernandez New Mexico." He had to shoot fast because the light was disappearing, so he relied on his knowledge of the luminance of the moon as well as the exposure compensation for his red filter to make the exposure. Without his systematic approach, record keeping and desire to learn from his experience the world would be without that stunning image.

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10/4/2005 9:27:57 AM

Abby Way
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2005
  My camera stores the info for each photo, and a free trial of a Photoshop-like program I received with the camera software will decode them. It gives me every possible piece of info I could want!

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10/4/2005 1:41:02 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/18/2004
  A tape recorder is fine and efficient. But it's the _learning_ from each exposure that's important here. And you don't have the EXIF info if you're shooting film either (nor does it give you any external flash info).

Eventually after learning from your exposures (mistakes, corrections, adjustments) you'll also be able to make more 'educated guesses' such as the example given by Dan F here.

: )

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10/4/2005 10:52:56 PM

Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  I'm hoping you're shooting digital! Everything is stored with the pic... If you're shooting film - sorry - can't help you!

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10/5/2005 6:17:21 AM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  I am still using film cameras and I have a camera that will record all the shooting data. But now I am using my less advanced backup camera more often and I need to record the shooting data using the old fashion way - pen and paper. At first it was cumbersome but if you have a "system", it will make things easier.

First I have a ball point pen and paper pad in EVERY camera bag, large or small. The pen I use is the clicking type, not the twisting type or the one with a tip cover. A camera vest is also a good idea for these little things.

Here's what my entries look like:

Roll 1
3-75 " " "

Obviously this is information about roll number 1. First frame I used a lens at focal length of 85mm, f4 at 1/60 second and +1 exposure compensation, flash with -1 flash compensation and a circular polarizer. Frame 2 I used a lens with focal length of 50mm, f8 at 4 second (" indicates a full second), no exposure compensation and no flash is used, but with a 3-stop graduate neutral density filter. Frame 3 is about the same as frame 2 instead of the lens' focal length of 75mm (see the " under the other data). Of course at the end of the line I will write down any other information like the name of the place, time, etc.

Very often I use the similar settings for the successive shots and I only write down the data after that. Hope this helps.

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10/5/2005 7:24:36 AM

Francene Show   Thank you everyone. Andy you did help. I apprecate all the information you people have given me. I will try a few of them and come with my own. Thanks

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10/5/2005 9:24:27 AM

I use to record this info in a notebook
when shooting film.
Most Digital cameras record the info for you. I started using Digital in 1993.
I went totally Digital about the beggining of 2002.

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10/6/2005 12:03:31 PM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/7/2004
  I just discovered a program called Picasa2, and it gives you this information. And the program is free to download from the web...

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10/6/2005 5:43:22 PM

steven barr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/26/2004
  Ditto on the mini recorder. This helped out tons when practicing with flash, I just had film developed and then a contact sheet made. And I make my notes by each image.
I have a Pentax 645N which will record some info on your negative on the outer edge of the negative, NOT on the image. BUT I need a GOOD magnifying glass to read them!! LOL!

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10/10/2005 6:28:42 PM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  really? the 645N will do that? is it only the "n" that will do that b/c i've been considering purchasing a 645 or 645n

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10/11/2005 11:49:17 AM

steven barr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/26/2004
  The 645N ONLY...... it's a nice feature that you can turn off and on..... I LOVE that camera!! sb

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10/11/2005 2:07:19 PM

Francene Show   Well I figured it out. I use my memo on my cell phone to keep track of my settings. It seems to be working out great. Thanks for all the help.

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12/14/2005 10:26:11 PM

Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  Francene, the thread is old, lol, but I'm still writing all my stuff down. Actually what I did now was I made an Adobe PDF sheet that has like a chart and all I do is fill in the blanks. It only takes about 5-10 seconds each shot. It's so much easier than writing EVERYTHING down, so I made a little column for shutter speed, aperture, focal length, and flash outputs if you're using them. If your voice memo works though, stick with it! Just writing this if anyone else wants to read this thread.

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12/15/2005 6:14:55 AM

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