what cheat sheets do you carry?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by danzel_c, May 31, 2009.

  1. i'm thinking about loading my ipod with some of my favorite images which may be some of my own plus some from others. not necessarily to exactly duplicate them, but to jog my memory as to why i like them so i can produce something silimar (nice angle, nice lighting, composition, use of stairs, use of fountain, etc.). in my bag i also have a table with recommended shutter speeds for stopping different types of action. i think i've got that one memorized but it's still in my bag. i also have my list of "must have" wedding shots just to make sure i don't forget. i also keep my camera and flash instruction manuals in my bag as a reference just in case i need it. even the best quarterbacks in the nfl wear a cheat sheet of plays written under their wristband! i'm wondering what reference materials or cheat sheets do others carry with them?
  2. maybe i should have said, "what do you carry" or "what did you use to carry"
  3. Nothing really. I check out the location, meet with the couple so I get an impression of lighting condidions, backgrounds, facial features/best angles (when meeting w/client) etc., go over their list of "must have's" and then just do what I do. Any type of cheat sheet or "oh wait, I don't know this one by heart so let me check it real quick" would drive me nuts and seriously distract from what I'm doing - taking photos of their wedding. What do you need the camera/flash manual for? Apart from the fact that you should know your equipment, have you thought about the impression you leave on people when the person they PAY to shoot their wedding is reading up on how to change their settings????
  4. Thats actually a good idea Danzel, I never would have though of that.
    If I manage to get a chance to check out the venue prior to the wedding day I'll take a note pad and include info like s/speed, aperture, iso, flash power etc. for different areas... not that I refer to it much if ever, it's just comforting to know I have it there and that I can use it if my brain happens to fry or something. I find this particularly good for indoor places like high roofed churches etc. so you know where you can bounce a flash to have it work properly and things like that.
    But the ipod with the pictures is a cool idea, especially if you find yourself out on location and know the sort of shot you want but can't quite remember the look that made you like it so much.
    Hey may i could get one of those quarterback arm things that flips open and have it right there on my arm... that is not a bad idea at all. Save walking around with pieces of paper in your back pocket. Good for the family photos lists as well.
  5. kat, i'm not suggesting pulling out cheat sheets in the middle of shooting. there's always downtime such as bathroom breaks, dinner, etc. where you can change a flash or camera custom function setting (don't tell me you have all the custom functions memorized!), or look at some other photos to inspire something new and different. another example, i have the 40d and never used the live view mode but once had a situation where i thought it would be handy and quickly figured out how to use it because i had the manual with me.
  6. What do you need the camera/flash manual for?​
    I was shooting something once (not a wedding) when I somehow turned the bracketing on, since I never use this feature I got a little flustered trying to turn it off. The manual came in handy.
    And I don't see anything wrong with having a little laminated card of poses as a memory jogger.
  7. (don't tell me you have all the custom functions memorized!)​
    I can locate the ones I need to use quickly and know what they do based on the text that appears on the camera. Can I recite the function number and all options from memory? No. Can I change the custom functions without the manual? Yes.
    If this had been posted in any forum *other* than the wedding one, I'd concur it's a good idea to keep manuals and cheatsheets handy.
    If you are not absolutely comfortable with your equipment so that at the very least, you know how to return it to the settings with which your familiar, then you should think about practicing at events other than weddings.
  8. It is not about memorizing settings. It is about knowing your equipment, knowing your lighting, knowing people, poses ... knowing your stuff ... knowing what you do by heart. If you have to memorize something, you haven't internalized it. That comes with time, effort, trial & error and practice. And more practice.
    Quote "in my bag i also have a table with recommended shutter speeds for stopping different types of action." ??? This makes it sound like you're flying by the seat of your pants. Why not take the time to play around with your camera, heck, even in the bathroom - try freezing the water coming out of the faucet, make it softer etc. Take photos until everybody around you is sick of you and your camera but at the end of the day, you'll just feel so much more comfortable knowing what you're doing.
  9. kat, for some reason you're viewing cheat sheets/reference material as a sign of inexperience. i view it as a safety net. you can leave your manuals at home. but mine are staying with me ;-)
  10. A safety net is having two sets of backup equipment. I'm afraid taking the manual with you for reference during bathroom breaks, and peeking at a pocket guide of exposure combinations is not a safety net. At best it's a crutch. At worst it betrays a lack of camera skills and expertise. Speaking for myself, if I felt I needed a cheat sheet, the very last thing I'd ever be doing is photographing someone's wedding.
  11. I keep a shot list with me but I only use it during the formals. I also keep a contact sheet of poses that I'd like to try out.
  12. I bring the Lookbook. Most often it stays in the bag the whole time, but occasionally a couple just isn't getting what I'm asking them to do. A picture is worth a thousand words. If they get to see the Lookbook they often ask me to do a couple poses they've picked out of it that they like.
  13. a safety net is something you don't intend on using, but if you need it, you're sure glad it's there. i don't have backup gear because i intend on using it. i never intend on breaking an off camera shoe cord but when i do i'm sure glad i had a backup cord ;-) i don't plan to run out of fresh ideas for posing, but if i do i'm sure glad my ipod was full of some creative and fun poses to grab a quick sneak peak at ;-) i consider it backing up your brain memory just like we backup our gear. i'm sure everyone is different on what memory joggers they may need at times, especially those like me who are part timers and not a full time photographer. that's why i posted the question. the intent was not "who is taking cheat sheets to learn on the job".
  14. i don't take any with me either.
    I do agree whole heartedly with Kat.
    If your at a photo shoot, you're being paid to shoot, not to learn about your equipment, or the event, OR subject you are shooting!
  15. We bring a shot list that our brides answer on our ShootQ system. That's it.
  16. I carry a bellows extension factor cheat sheet in the case with my LF gear for those close up shots. Other than that, no, nothing really.
  17. Has anyone ever had an error message show up they weren't familiar with? It was nice having my manual in my car so I could do a quick check and quickly fix the problem. Did the client ever know? Nope. Did I look any less professional? Nope. I don't think Danzel is talking about learning to use a camera during a wedding (at least I hope not!) But more like a surgeon's library of medical text books in his office or the data base of reference material available to the pilot from air control.
    Besides my manual, other reference material I usually bring along: Lookbook, my own photo ideas (printed out 12/sheet - like my own lookbook, but an ipod would be even better), copy of the contract, info list (includes names, addresses, phone #s, special requests from the couple, times, etc.) and any notes I've made about the site, the couple, photo ideas. Most of this info is reviewed in the days before the wedding, at the rehearsal and on the way to the site on the day of. Rarely do I pull ANY of it out during the actual wedding, but it is comforting to know it's there and my assistant really appreciates having all the info she might need handy.
    All that being said, I'm a compulsive list maker. Making lists, writing it down and reading it helps me commit it to memory. Not everyone is like that. I'm guessing Kat is more of a tactile learner which may be why she has a hard time seeing how having lists & "cheat sheets" around could be beneficial. In the end, if clients are happy with both the photographer and the photos, neither way is WRONG, just different.
  18. I'm not quite getting this arguement.
    Let's see, if I make a note to myself, I don't know what I'm doing?
    I KNOW that I know what I'm doing, and don't believe for one minute that making a note, so I remember something important, means I don't.
    I recently ferretted out how to set my Sony flashes for slave work ... it was so freakin' complicated that I wrote out remedial notes to myself on what button to push at what time in what sequence and for how long ... once I do it a bunch of times I'll toss the note.
    I have a yellow sticky on one of my MF cameras because I remove the battery when not in use ... the note reminds me to put it back in before firing the camera or it WILL lock up. I can never remember how to unlock it either ... so I have a note on how to do that in case I miss the yellow sticky ... LOL!
    Different strokes for different folks.
  19. Other than a manual which I have yet to look at while in the "field", If I go on a trip, I carry a printout of sunrise/set, moonrise/set times along with the azimuth for the particular location I will be at. Of course I need a compass with that but I can set up, say for a moonrise, in advance. Never have owned a damn watch I can trust, but a cell phone provides that information.
  20. thanks marc, talitha, and kerry for adding to the points and sharing more examples. no one, in any profession (doctors, engineers, pilots included), can say they are 100% prepared for 100% of the things they may encounter. more experience means less unprepared encounters, and better instincts in those rare encounters. but if you have the time to create some quick reference charts for those things you may need why not make it easy on yourself. If you have the time to look at it you do. If you don’t you have no choice but to trust your instincts. as talitha points out, these "notes to self" are transparent to the client anyway. and as marc points out, eventually you may not need them and they end up in the circular file. that is until you end up trying something else new and create notes for it!
  21. There're in my head. In the real world you only have time for four settings...ISO, WB, aperture and speed. If you use auto WB, auto ISO, you are back to 1950, or earlier, figuring out the other two. The meter does that. So who needs a cheat sheet.
  22. never mind that...
    If i see my airline pilot looking over a manual on how to fly a particular aircraft.....i'm outa there!!!!!!!!!
  23. It's a fair question Danzel C. My answer would be no.
    If I hired you to be either my assistant second wedding photographer or more importantly, to photograph my wedding, I would expect you to know your equipment and to be naturally creative and original without having to resort to references.
    In the event of equipment malfunction, it would be expected that the wedding photographer has backup equipment and the corresponding manuals locked in the trunk of his/her vehicle. With a fast paced wedding schedule from the bride's house to the church to the park to the banquet hall, and with unpredicatble wedding guests, I would have no patience waiting for a photographer having to resort to "cheat sheets" in an attempt to capture the next important image.
    Except for the odd washroom break or two, there are generally no breaks for the wedding photographer. The photographer is expected to be there at the snap of the client's finger.
  24. Nothing for film, the camera manual for digital. That's cheating?
  25. f16 rule under different conditions of light/ISO, speed/Av. I attach a small table to the camera case. Manual of the camera and flash as well.
    My first camera (an AE-1) came with one in its case, I always found that useful for "those situations" where sometimes metering is difficult for the camera. I use it always with my Mamiyaflex (doesn't have a meter).
    Also, consider, I am a very manual kind of guy, got used to it. And still shoot film, I guess f16 works with digital, but don't know for sure, it seems the gray card doesn't, so, just to let you know.
  26. None. I prefer to do the footwork the night before. Along with checking through all my equipment, I'm thinking through what I visually want to achieve the next day, whatever the particular job may be. If I'm not sure about specifics (say what shutter speed to freeze the action at a sporting event), I'm doing the footwork before the event. And if I'm presented with something new or unfamiliar, I trust myself to take some quick test shots and adjust accordingly.

    I'd strongly recommend leaving the cheat sheets at home. There's no doubt shooting events for money can be nervy, especially when you're still new to it. But if you're going to make a career out of it, trusting in yourself to adapt is going to take you farther than relying on a crutch.
  27. I carry manuals, because I can't memorize every function offered with the 1Ds Mark3. There's also a lot of information on 2 dvd's sold separately sold by Jumpstart. That's about 5 to 6 hours worth of valuable information, a lot of this is not in your manual. I feel that you are missing out and messing up if you don't carry a manual with you. What happens when an error code pops up? How do you clear the error? What do you do when your flash won't fire? Is it heat related, wrong setting? If you have several strobes set up, why are the strobes firing before your camera flash is firing? Or why isn't your extra Canon or Nikon flash firing as a slave or as the main? Do all of you know how to reset your camera's and flash units? Another problem related to error codes could be your flash card. Do we all know these error codes and how to reset the camera? My guess is respectfully no we don't. The most common error is #99, but what if the error is #63? Can you fix that?
    I think we should know the answers, but when we don't it sure is wonderful having a manual to figure out the problem. I have had camera failure, unable to fix it when shooting the formals or something, so I pop on another flash or switch bodies. At the reception, when I have a few minutes free, I'll fiddle with the camera/flash, and open the manual if needed.
    I also carry a list of must shots. I've never been sued and I surely don't want to be asked by the judge why I didn't get a shot of something or somebody and have to tell the judge I forgot.
  28. There are some great answers here, and as you notice, they are all different, because the experiences reflected by the respondents are as unique as the way they work.

    As you acquire a more firm sense of your own needs, this will fall into place.

    For me, after 40 years, I still never use a camera without the full manual at hand or nearby. It's just familiarity with Murphy's Law; the one obscure piece of info you might need that's not in your head, will become absolutely necessary when the manual is not handy.

    Secondly, for location shots, I always scout, shoot, and contact beforehand when I can, doing e.g. creative street fashion shoots. Most of the time, the prepared ideas get thrown out, but if producing them gives me a greater sense of confidence, it was worth the work anyway.
  29. Denzel - Nothing wrong with carrying some reminders. I wouldn't want that pilot flying without going over his written check-off list prior to the flight. Thanks for bringing up a good subject.
    Kat - Welcome to PN. Certainly is nice to have someone who is perfect join the ranks. Strange, though, how I don't anticipate aspinring to be just like you...
  30. i carry 2-one in my photo bag and 1 in my wallet. the one in my photobag is the BOOK "Kodak Digital PhotoGuide", about a 5x7inch book. it has got every chart that you could ever think of. some in chart form, others on wheel dialit form. in my wallet is the adjust numbers for differnt lenses for my pano tripod head. also, both of my pentax dslr manuals.
  31. Danzel,
    I have a "cheat sheet", but it is to remind me what to pack for a location shoot. I, of course
    never remember to even pull out "the list". Just yesterday I was headed down the road-thankfully
    not far from home-thought the load looked a little thin in my Sienna...forgot my softboxes! Nothing
    wrong with lists...I might go one step further and suggest actually CHECKING your list..note to self.
  32. I don't respond to often to forum questions but I felt inclined to this time. Photography is mostly a hobby for me but I also do a little freelance work on the side. My full-time job is being a firefighter and believe me, we carry cheat-sheet. Not because we don't know what we are doing but because when a life is on the line we don't usually have time or get a second chance. We have one shot to get it right or someone dies. At two o'clock in the morning when we just can't seem to remember what pressure we need for that hoseline, or what that medication is for that the patient is on we have to look it up.
    So I don't see anything wrong with having cheat sheets to jog your memory for setting shutter speed or aperture. After all, most of us aren't just pointing and shooting.
  33. no one, in any profession (doctors, engineers, pilots included), can say they are 100% prepared for 100% of the things they may encounter​
    All of my lists, cheat sheets, manuals and other various paperwork give me the confidence i need to FEEL 100% prepared. When I feel prepared I can breeze through the day, allow my creativity to flow freely and generally perform to the best of my ability. All because I KNOW I have a backup plan. I've encountered plenty of things I didn't expect, but because I was prepared I was confident, and because I was confident I had no problem handling the situation. I still say if it works for you, go with it.
  34. talitha, that was my point! why count 100% on memory 100% of the time when you don't have to. as the fire fighter points out, his cheat sheet saves lives! great comments and examples from others who have chimed in!
  35. I absolutely HATE "must take shot" lists. I'm not there to recreate someone elses wedding, I'm there to capture what really happens. For the formals I do brides family, grooms family, and bridal party. That's the only guideline I really follow. The rest is captured as is.
  36. A note for all the superior types - Most airlines will summarily dismiss a pilot that does Not refer to his checklist for takeoff and landing.
  37. You are spot on Danzel, why risk having a brain fart at a crucial moment ruin the day.
  38. Although I rarely have to refer to them, my manuals are on my laptop whenever I travel. Also, I'm a doctor and believe me, I have all kinds of "cheat sheets" loaded on my Iphone. Laboratory unit converters, formulas for medical calculations, Five-Minute Clinical Consult, Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics to name a few. Big time-savers and, if I have any doubt about what needs to be done, I'm pretty sure my patients are more than happy for me to quickly review various recommendations.
  39. <p>This is only a guess:<br>
    Those who replied more in line with Danzel are hobbyists/part time shooters.<br>
  40. I can't speak for others, but wedding photography is my only source of income. It seems to me that somewhere along the line the OP's question ("what type of reference material do you bring with you to a wedding?") got confused with "is it ok to check my manual at dinner to figure out what this button does?" If having a cheat sheet or ipod with some inspiration help you do your job better then go ahead and don't worry for one second what a few other photographers on photo.net may think of you.
    PS - Jerry's pic pockets (which will be available for ipods and iphones soon) and the photographer's toolkit look book are both very popular and used by a number of people who shoot professionally.
  41. On my old thyristor flash unit I Dymo taped the words MODE, APERTURE and SHUTTER SPEED to make sure I set everything that had to be set. After doing this I never set something incorrectly again.
    I apologise for actually answering the question the OP asked. I promise I won't do it again.
  42. Phillip ...
    I tend to think it is the opposite. I am hardly a "hobbist"..
    I've been doing this for a very long time, and in my experience, its the smug and over confident that are usually the ones who make the biggest mistakes because they fail to recognize that they are human and subject to human error just like anyone else.
    If you do this long enough, you will experience the "Fog of War" at some time or another. It has to happen just once to prove the value of some notes or a quick guide in the bag.
    And yes, Airline Pilots have check lists ... AND a second person checking their checking ... called a Co-Pilot.
    I also agree with Bob Bernardo ... who I'm certain is NOT a hobbist and DOES know what he is doing. Today's digital cameras are pretty complex and ever changing. Having a reference guide can't hurt should the odd thing pop up.
    Before becoming a full time photographer, I was an art director that hired the best photographers in the world. Most had tech assistants to do the remembering for them. One top shooter told me we had to wait a minute while he figured out the Nikon Digital SLR he was using because what we wanted to do was so complex to set up on that camera ... yep, he whipped out the manual.
  43. I'm really not getting this argument. These "reference manuals" are small. I have three or four of them in my bag and don't notice that they're there. These things weigh less than a pound. If someone was using a "cheat sheet" (say after every other shot) and this was slowing down the shoot to the point it was slowing down the wedding (yes, I've seen this before), then I would say no. But if you're killing some down time (e.g. you somehow got to the reception hall before everyone else), this is a great idea. Danzel -- like the ipod idea, especially if its a ipod touch/ iphone... something you can fit in a coat pocket. Overall, use some common sense, take a few notes if necessary, but don't let it be a crutch.
  44. I carry the metering mode symbols for Canon. After many years I still mix them up.
  45. I have cut out some advanced operating instructions for my SB-800 flash, which I do not use too often. I have laminated these cut-outs, so that they are easy to read and not prone to smudges, cuts and other "abuse"
  46. Experience counts.
    But, pilots may not be the best example. Airline pilots, any pilot for that matter, always use a written checksheet at takeoffs and landings. That it is the protocol. The most experienced pros do. Any error or oversight is fatal. The checklist is to help insure that human error, that one in a million oversight, does not occur. For photographers, there is usually a chance to shoot again or substitute a similar shot. Sorry.
  47. OK, to respond to the original poster. I am amateur, for 40 years. Film equipment was simple in the sense there were few controls, and once the film was loaded, those protocols were fixed for the roll. No cheat sheets ever, except to put film box end on the camera or in the case for the film loaded. Today, I carry a summary of the manual, or Thom Hogan's summary, though I only rarely refer to them in advance if the shoot will be in difficult light.
    OTOH, as an available light shooter in the main, what I absolutely cannot remember are the menu settings for an SB-800 flash. The menu designer should be shot forthwith. Nikon should give refunds and an apology along with a huge discount on the SB-900. So, I laminated a cheat sheet to turn the SB-800 and SB-600 (way different menus those two) into off camera slaves controlled by the camera.
  48. I carry the camera manuals in my bag but I have never needed to look at them during a wedding. Error codes are the only thing I might need them for, and if I can't figure out a code I'd pull out a backup body and lens before the manual. I've had a few error codes pop up and I fixed them in about 2 seconds by re-seating the lens and restarting the camera. I knew what to do because I've seen that code before in other shooting. The custom functions are pretty easy to figure out once you've gone through them enough.
    You need to know your equipment to the point that it's an extension of you and totally understand what is going into making each shot. If there's a few reminders you need, you need to burn them into your brain and that will come with experience. You can write them down, and that should help you learn it, but the goal should be to not have to look at it, and just know it.
    A surgeon doesn't say "oh wow that's bleeding a lot, let me see what I should do in my book." they just clamp it and stop the bleeding. They researched the procedure before hand and understand what's going on during it. They know what can go wrong and have backup plans for those situations, just like we should. Most surgeons are specialists who do the same thing over and over again, they know the anatomy of that area well and know what needs to be done. I'd much rather have an experienced surgeon who knows what he's doing than a kid out of med school checking his notes while I bleed to death. Surgeon's have to go to school for years and then "apprentice" for years as a resident. Unfortunately that is not a requirement for photographers, but at least it's unlikely that we'll kill someone if we make a mistake!
    All that being said there is one "cheat sheet" that I bring to every wedding. It's a copy of the wedding contract which has the brides and grooms and other key players names, as well as the scheduled times for the ceremony and reception start. I know my camera like the back of my hand because I use it all the time, but I'm bad with people's names, so I find the list of names very handy. Brides don't seem to like it when you call them "bride" instead of their real name! I did that once a few years ago, when I was working on a big cruse ship in NYC and had the weddings all pre-booked. She gave me such a dirty look I knew I couldn't let that happen again! Most parents respond fine to "mom" and "dad" in my experience, but if there's both "mom's" in one photo you need to know their names! Knowing the names helps a lot in posing group portraits, or just getting someones atention. People also feel much more respected when you call them by name. I don't make it obvoius that I look at my list of names, and don't refer to it often. I just learn the names as the day goes on and double check it prior to meeting the clients.
  49. I think this discussion has polarised to the extremes. Might be worth focusing on the original post.
    I can see the benefit of taking a camera manual for emergency reference if someone isn't comfortable with the technical details, or has moved to a new model with a different set-up. I don't have any use for one myself because I work with equipment that I know inside out, but that's the product of sticking with the same gear for a long time.
    But I wouldn't endorse someone working with such insufficient knowledge of their equipment that they have to refer to the manual as a matter of routine, and I suspect that no one else would either.
    What most surprises me is the notion of having a look-up table of exposures 'for stopping different types of action'. That's not akin to an airline pilot's checklist. Not even close. Not unless a pilot's checklist says 'stick forward = fly down; stick back = fly up'.
    There are some things that should be so transparent that keeping a reference guide is unnecessary. For a photographer, I would suggest that understanding exposure is pretty fundamental, and an absolute prerequisite for professional work. About baseline to a doctor remembering how to take a pulse. This is not the sort of stuff that anyone should have to rely on a written guide for.
    I have to say I'm surprised that pocket guides have a place in so many people's kit bags. I didn't take my first wedding until I could shoot all day with a mechanical camera and no light meter and be completely comfortable about getting good results. I figured that was the basic minimum skills level I needed, and I'm not even old school. But I guess it's now normal to work with a lot less.
  50. Phillip ...
    I tend to think it is the opposite. I am hardly a "hobbist&quot..
    I've been doing this for a very long time, and in my experience, its the smug and over confident that are usually the ones who make the biggest mistakes because they fail to recognize that they are human and subject to human error just like anyone else.​
    My comment was in no way intended to insult anyone who chooses to carry notes of any kind.
    I merely suspect that there is a correlation between those who do what they do (photography wise) frequently and those that do it less often. Perhaps I am wrong.
    Certainly we all work differently. When I'm not on a shoot I'm spending much of my time preparing for a shoot. If I'm not explicitly preparing for a gig I am practicing with my gear. That is just how I operate. I don't suggest it's the best way and I don't expect anyone else to do the same. I suppose that if I didn't know how to operate the controls I thought I would need on all of my equipment on a job I'd bring manuals and notes too.
    Sometimes I have my EX580II manual in my bag but I've never referred to it during a job. I can't say that I won't ever have to – my memory is really quite bad. What I do, however, is read it on the plane or in bed or when I'm sitting around... my camera manual is on the night stand right now.
  51. Well, I'm not a wedding photographer.

    But I have found the Expodisc Hyperfocal calculator VERY useful. Its just a little cheat sheet (layered discs actually) that help you calculate either hyperfocal distance, or working backwards can give you DOF for different aperture&focal length combinations. I think this could be useful for portaits, although I have a feeling that most people use it for landscape.

    Very handy. That's about the only cheat sheet I carry. Although sometimes I wish that I had my flash manual with me.
  52. Danzel,
    I have my B&G complete a list of requested special people they'd like photographed and possibly some actual combinations of them. I want to make sure they get what they want in addition to our own creative coverage of the day. My sheet also has a list of all of the times, locations and other wedding professionals involved in the wedding so we know what's happening, when, where and who to ask/look for.
    Also, each one on our staff has a schedule of the day so we all know where everyone else is. If we need something in an emergency, we know who's closest or on break.
    Unlike many of you, I operate with a staff, so some of our logistics are a bit different....-Aimee
  53. it


    I have one that says "first your socks then your shoes."
  54. None, really.
    Over the years, I've created some spreadsheets to equate the EV number from my Pentax Digital Spotmeter to various shutter and aperture combinations at ISO 100, but half the time I couldn't find it or it was too dark to read it. (Darkness is why I couldn't read the meter's tiny and oddly-colored scale in the first place.) I ended up memorizing a few of the values at f/5.6 and ISO 100 and just extrapolate from there in my head.
    For my digital Nikons I've come up with some mnemonics for checking default settings prior to shooting. One of the simplest was "I CAMP" which stood for...
    I - ISO
    C - Color Temperature (white balance value)
    A - Aperture Setting (f-stop number)
    M - Metering Method (Aperture Priority)
    P - Pattern (spot, center, or matrix metering)
    I have more complex ones to cover more settings, but this gives you an idea. Basically, if it's not in my head it's not going to work for me.
  55. Use a checklist/cheatsheet if it works for you, discard it when you don't need it anymore. It's really not that complicated.
  56. Here's my viewpoint. All guests are equal unless they're in tuxes and formal dresses. In other words, we have no way of knowing who the bride and groom are closest to and who was invited out of obligation. If the bride wants a picture with her sorority sisters, I'd love to take it and I'd like to be the one responsible for remembering. Regardless of whose fault it is, I don't want an unhappy client because they forgot to tell me something that was important to them. The time to decide what's important is before the wedding....-Aimee
  57. A table of reciprocity failure corrections for long exposures - although I 've consulted it so often I can practically remember it.
  58. One thing I do usually bring is the itinerary from the Bride or planner. While most weddings are similar, not all are exactly alike.
    I also bring a list of VIP names ... I try to commit those to memory, but it's nice to have a cheat sheet if ithe list is as long as my arm.
    While I'm not into shooting lists, Brides occassionaly DO request certain images. I don't think it is up to them to remember all of them on their wedding day.
  59. Whether one is more of a wedding photographer if one doesn't need cheat sheets is completely irrelevant. You do what you need to do to get the job done well. If you like cheat sheets, use them. If you don't think you need them, don't.
    I use an all-purpose planner/itenerary/idea summary form that I've used for years. I write the times next to a generalized list of the basic images usually taken at the different sections of the wedding day. I also add requested shots and family/friends by name and relation. Also pre-printed on the form are pose/script prompts--different things to do with found objects and landscapes. All of this occupies 4 3x5 sheets of paper which I carry in my bag. Am I a forgetful hack who can't string together good poses? Don't know, but I still get clients.
    I have a DOF table I made from the instructions at DOF Master, and notes about various gear/flashes, but no complete manuals. I only write down notes of the stuff I know I won't remember. I also still carry with me a sheet of stick figure poses I made long, long ago. Don't know why I don't put it away, but there you have it.
  60. Cheat sheets are difficult to deal with unless you have an assistant. I started a small book with inspiring images and never have time to get it out...especially at weddings. As time goes on, you'll develop your own thing in your head. I do have a checklist for weddings, but I have to find someone to help out and carry it around for me. How I've done that is I help out another photographer and she helps me.
  61. Guess it depends on the definition of a cheat sheet.
    I keep a list of all the Custom Functions settings for my Elan 7, because try as I may I can never seem to remember what 0 and 1 is, and when my options are 0, 1, and 2, well, good luck!
  62. I have a feeling the definition of a cheat sheet varies. Perhaps some people think of a cheat sheets as 10 pages long, therefore they can't be bothered with referring to it everytime you take a few shots. If thats the case I agree. Most of the time my needed information fits on both sides of an index card.
  63. . there are a lot of good ideas here for people from all levels of experience to pick and choose from to help with whatever they sometimes stuggle to remember. i know i will be using some of them! hey, by the way, we made the most active forum today!
  64. What Marc said, a few posts up from here.
    I bring a list of VIP's so nobody is forgotten in the formals.
    I bring a list of 'poses' I like to use as my stand-by's. I only pull it out if I'm feeling a little uninspired by the surroundings, as a way to ensure some creative images in an otherwise boring location. I use the term 'poses' very loosley btw.
    I don't have setting cheat sheets unless I'm specifically trying something new because we've got an excessive amount of time for photos and the couple is cool with some experimentation.
    Hope you all are enjoying your season so far!
  65. If it helps on the day then do it,
    if you forget a concept in the church you can't go back in time.
    I think it's a good idea if it improves your photography and service to clients,
  66. What is the ShootQ system?
  67. ShootQ is an awesome service for wedding photographers!!! Click here to get a 30 day free trial of it. :) Basically it is an automated service for your business that helps you keep track of clients, leads, payment processing, etc. It also helps you create workflows and stick with them. It has doubled the number of leads we've booked per leads inquired since starting it do to the contact it gives our brides and we've had NUMEROUS clients tell us how much they love having it. It allows us as well to create a questionnaire that automatically gets sent out 30 days before their wedding with stuff like shot lists, vendors, etc for them to answer. :) It's super super helpful and I really don't think people can afford NOT to have it as part of their business.
  68. I don't carry technical manuals (apart from the guide to slave an SB800), as I moved over to Nikon because they were more intuitive to use.
    I do always carry a list of shots that I want and a cheat sheet of sample poses to a wedding, as do most of the other pro's I know.
    Whilst I usually have a head full of ideas, there can be the occasional blank, so I may tactfully take a quiet moment and get some inspiration back. The more I do, the less I need it, but it is always there in reserve if required.
  69. I normally shoot with the Canon 5d, but since I just bought the 5d Mark ii a short time ago, I carry the manual just in case! There are some minor differences between the two, particularly when playing with the HD video mode. I've never had to break it out, but its reassuring to have.
    On a non-technical note:
    When I have a bride who is very specific about certain shots, say of her mom and long lost uncle... something not of a routine nature, I'll make a checklist and have my assistant gather the folks on that list while I'm getting the main shots. I find it maximizes time and ensures I don't forget something she asked for. Sometimes things get so chaotic that the list we make together reminds the bride, as well, of the shots she really wanted.
    Theresa Minnette, Temecula and Inland Empire Wedding Photographer
  70. I learnt my photography at United Photographers of SE London back in the late 60's. You NEVER EVER left for a shoot without a shot list and to this day I never do. I have plans of various locations and alternative areas where I can get some decent shots if the weather/light is not ideal. I have plans of the most used Churches and Reception locations so nothing is left to chance. Same for any shoot, you need to know how many and where and who, otherwise you can get in a mess and although you can reshoot, time is money. IMHO, failing to plan is planning to fail. Just my .02 worth
  71. I downloaded several iPhone/iPod Apps, some of which are free, that calculate DOF and hyperfocal distance based on your dSLR and lens type and I find them very useful.

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