Four simple words

Four simple words. Sit, Take, Eat, Pay. Wouldn’t it be great if so many routine tasks could be reduced to a simple few words.

IMG_6965And that set me thinking: what about the process of taking images? How about a simple mnemonic (what a daft spelling that is) to remind us of what we tend to forget.

This is what I came up with: See, Check, Take, Check. It’s so easy to get caught up in the dynamic, the excitement, the sheer joy of finding something we want to photograph, and before we know it we’ve fired off the first shot or two. And then we pause, and think: I have no idea what the settings are on my camera? What is the ISO set at? And you then remember that the last image you shot was the previous evening in dull light, and you wound up the ISO to 1000, and now you check the camera and you find the ISO is still set at 1000 – you failed to re-set that dial. Sounds familiar? We’ve all made stupid mistakes like that, haven’t we. I confess: a failure to check settings is my Achilles heel. I still make that stupid mistake.

So here’s how the mnemonic works:

See: We see something worth photographing

Check: Pause. Think about your settings. Look at your camera’s current settings and decide what, if any, you need to change to capture the image to best advantage

Take: Take the image

Check: Firstly check the Histogram, and re-shoot if necessary. Then think about your settings. Have you amended them for that most recent image? Re-set any that you have changed for a one-off image, back to what was your default so that your camera will be, more likely than not, ready for your next image.

Check before and Check after. This is the double-check. You may well forget one of these checks, but if your standard practice is to check before and after; then forgetting one of those two check-points is less likely to be catastrophic.

For a more detailed article about settings, check out an article, (click here), that I posted on my other blog – iSighting – earlier this year.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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20 Responses to Four simple words

  1. Jamie says:

    That is very true!
    Although I normally skip the ‘check’ part!

  2. Good idea Andy – a simple thing to do when using the camera, but then again the good ideas are often the simple ones.

  3. Chillbrook says:

    I like the picture and I like the idea Andy. 🙂

  4. oneowner says:

    Good advice, Andy. A lot of times you won’t get a second chance to get the shot.

    • LensScaper says:

      That’s exactly right, and that’s why the re-set of changed settings, before you switch the camera off is sometimes so important. I keep telling myself this, but the message doesn’t always get through. I’m told it’s part of getting older.

  5. mark says:

    I fear there’s no mnemonic that can help me with these mistakes. As time goes on I have gotten better at remembering to Check, but when caught in a moment all good practices can disappear. And I find I’m most vulnerable not when first starting out and forgetting last night’s settings, but mid-outing when I switch from say bracketing to long exposure. I do like the SIT, TAKE, EAT, PAY concept, but have to wonder how many patrons manage to keep with its elegant simplicity.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Mark. It’s good to hear I’m not the only one who makes these mistakes time and time again. I’ve just about mastered checking the camera before I leave the house, but it’s those ‘I’ll change the settings for this one shot’ moments that catch me out time and time again. The restaurant in the image is ‘Yo Sushi’. Not sure if you have that franchise in the States. The food goes round on conveyors – I’ve never been in one, but I do wonder how they work out who’s taken what off the conveyor!

  6. shoreacres says:

    I’m laughing, because I recently had the experience. I’ve always been a point-and-shooter, but with a new camera, I’ve been exploring. I messed about with the RAW settings for a while, just to see what that was all about. (Too complex for me at this point, for sure.)

    But, a few nights later, the sunset was perfect and the lighthouse was glowing. I took about a dozen photos. Imagine my surprise when I sat down to look at them, and had nothing but files in front of me. Sigh.

    So, yes, This is the time for me to pay attention to your little rule. The move from auto to manual settings demands it!

    • LensScaper says:

      As the phrase goes: ‘Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt’. It happens to us all, Linda. Photography on one level is about spontaneity, being ‘in flow’ as some people call it, being subconsciously aware of what is around us. And on another level it is about being organized, systematic, almost a little OCD. Those two aspects are poles apart and yet they are both important. RAW is the way to go really, too much re-working of JPEGs will ultimately result in a degraded image. Stick to it and it will all ultimately make sense. Thanks, as always for your comment. I always enjoy what you have to say.

  7. Jim Nix says:

    haha very true and then of course when you get home it’s edit, edit, edit! 🙂

  8. Len says:

    Great suggestion Andy. I have gotten better at checking but I still need work. Need to make this a habit like learning a golf swing.

  9. rlbwilson says:

    It’s too easy to go home then notice that piece of litter … the woman in a red sweatshirt … the twig … (that’s after I’ve remembered to reset the mirror lock-up and self-timer)
    Good advice – we all need it!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks so much for commenting Ruth. It’s surprising what we fail to see when we look at that very small screen on the back of the camera! I blame my failure to put my glasses on first!

  10. poppytump says:

    I remember that post over on your other site Andy … I think I felt chastened and thought I’d really cracked my check list . Hmm . Oh the glasses business … I so understand .. infuriating !
    Clever picture prompt !

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