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Tips & Tricks

15 Things To Think About Before You Press The Shutter & Why They Are Important

By Hanssie on July 31st 2015

The brain is actually quite an amazing organ when you think about it. It handles all thought processes, feelings, gives us memories and controls our actions and movement. It works at blazing speeds sending messages to all parts of the body to make sure it all functions properly. So, before you press the shutter to take a photo, what thoughts go through your brain? What is your brain trained to do and look for before your finger depresses the button to immortalize a moment in time forever?

Photographer Jeff Cable says that there should be 15 things that you think about before you take a photo. In this one hour and 10-minute lecture from B&H, Jeff discusses the thoughts that go through his mind each time he sets up, frames, and shoots an image. It’s not the spray-and-pray process that we in the digital age have come to know so well and thank goodness for that.



The first thing Jeff thinks about before he clicks the shutter is resolution. Asking questions like, what are you shooting for? How large will the image be printed, etc. He shoots “assuming the deliverable.” In the rest of the lecture, Jeff goes from composition to foreground, background and everything in between. It’s pretty neat when you list them out and see all the things our brain processes when we shoot an image. You also think of some of these, or maybe you go through all 15 when you’re shooting.

It’s always good to stop to think about what we are shooting and how we want to shoot it. The process of slowing down makes us better photographers in the long run.

Watch 15 Things You Should Think About Every Time You Take a Photo

If you are interested in learning more about photography, be sure to check out our Photography 101 Workshop DVD for a solid foundation in building your photography skills.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Graham Curran

    “Everytime” is now a word?

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  2. Robert Anderson

    “Only” 15 things eh? Good thing we even remember to press the shutter button then…

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    • Ralph Hightower

      Things were so much simpler when I got interested in photography. There was the ISO triangle and unless one had a medium format camera with switchable film backs or large format cameras, the ISO wasn’t changeable. Now, there’s white balance. Back in my day, films were balanced for daylight or incandescent lighting.
      Things were so much simpler: On/Off, ISO, aperture, shutter speeds, exposure compensation.

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    • Dustin Baugh

      Most of his 15 things are not simple camera settings. I think he’s assuming you now how to expose film/sensor properly.
      Most of his 15 have to do with composition and creation of an image, it’s really good stuff. Although I wish he would have summarized it all at the end, and I’m too lazy to type up a list of this 15 for you guys (sorry).

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  3. Bill Bentley

    I’ve watched a few of Jeff’s B&H videos in the past and I always enjoy them. I just like the way he speaks and presents the information. While this might be information overload for a new photographer, it really does cover all the key areas and gives a lot of great tips.

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  4. Tom Blair

    Alot of great info but a little long on the video

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