Does Anyone use checklists?

Started 8 months ago | Questions
phazelag
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Does Anyone use checklists?
8 months ago

Being a former Pilot I learned the value of following a checklist before and after and sometimes during a flight.  In almost every case of damaging an aircraft near take off or landing it was someone not following the checklist.  Usually that was a senior guy who got comfortable.

I think it should be required for surgeons as well.

I have been toying with making a Different Checklist for different types of Photography.  One for Landscapes, Events, Portraits, Studio, Street, and others.

I have considered laminating small or even tiny cards and attaching them to something like my camera strap, case, case strap loop, or keeping them in my wallet.

Usually when I put work into a shot, the only thing that prevents it from being better, is forgetting some fundamental or a setting I usually use in a different way.

What do you think?

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billythek
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

I don't think I could stand to have a written checklist for each shot.

I've considered carrying a shot list, though, to help me better work the location.  Things like remember to shoot a pano, an HDR, low angle/high angle, portrait/landscape, different focal lengths, different lenses, back-lit shots, etc.

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PenPix
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

Nope.  But then I'm not holding a cabin full of people's life in my hands.

Depending on the camera you buy, you can preset custom profiles with a setting geared towards your shooting situation.  I've done this with my Nikon D700 and Fuji X-E1.  Of course I forget which preset is for what sometimes so I might need a checklist for that!

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quadrox
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I have thought about it
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

I have though about writing one, not necessarily because I would look at it all the time, but just to help remember.

Stuff I am likely to screw up:

  1. IS on when using Tripod
  2. IS off when not using Tripod
  3. High ISO from a previous low-light shoot
  4. 10 second timer from previous tripod shoot (my wireless remote is broken)

I feel like there are lots more I tend to forget, but I can't remember right now...

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Ron Poelman
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Enemy pilots won't wait for you to complete your checklist.
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

Photo ops. tend to be the same,
maybe it's time to change your cam to something you feel comfortable with ?

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Moti
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

Being a former commeracial airline pilots trainer, I fully appreciate the importance of checklists in order to make sure that nothing is forgotten.

However, I think that the only place where a checklist can be very useful is a gear checklist for photography missions.

I am not the most organised person and I can count several times in the past when I forgot to bring with me a piece of gear that was important for the job and if you are a pro, it can be embarrassing.

Now, I keep a set of gear checklist cards adapted for every type of job we are going to do and that saved me lots of troubles.

But when it comes to photography itself, I doubt it very much. It maybe helpful for beginners but the danger but even then i woulnt recommend it because checklists are just the opposie of free spirit and creativity, which are essential elements of photography. Also lets not forget that if you miss an item in photography, you may end up with a bad photo. If you miss an item on a plane, you may end your life in a crash.

Cheers

Moti

P.S. just had a visit yo your web site and was very impressed of what I saw. I don't think you need a checklist 

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merwind
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to Moti, 8 months ago

I have always wondered myself of having one.  I guess the desire to have one is more related to the kind of work we do for a living. I am an IT professional and checklists are very common in our kind of work.

The one thing I always forget is to reset the exposure compensation after completing the shoot.  By the time you realise the mistake some pictures have already been taken with wrong exposure.

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Mike_PEAT
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I use the custom resets (MySets) in my Olympus cameras...
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

So I don't have to think about changing a million different settings or require a checklist for my cameras, I use the MySets (custom resets) to set the camera to the various configurations, daylight, studio, indoor, etc.

They should make planes so easy, just rotate one dial to change the various configurations like taxi, takeoff, level flight, landing, etc. The one dial would change all the settings like flaps, etc.

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yvind Strm
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

Yes, I use checklists. All the time. Either written, or mental.

When preparing for a job, I almost always make a list (or have one). It could be equipment I need, props, asssitance, pricing (what di I need to give a price).

It could be a list of poses. (As ideas to try something new)

Then, when shooting, I have a mental list.

1. Choose your subject with your heart (unless someone else tells you what to photograph)

2. Turn of heart, and activate he creative part of the brain to find an interesting approach. Lightsource (natural/articicial/mix), fill flash?, Direction of light, pov, ideas for story/props

3. Turn off heart and creative part, and activate logical part of brain. From now, everything is geometry (composition) and craft.

- define the main subject - both so it is clear what it is, and that it stands out from the background (so its shape is uninterupted).

- consider where to place the main subject. Consider composition rules, and how to break them.

- take advantage of supporting elements. Brain loves repetitions in color and shape.

- force the eye to look for distractions. Everything that do not add to the picture is a distraction, and needs to be elliminated. Use your feet, bend your kneeds, cdifferent focal length, limb a ladder, use a chainsaw, scissors to avoid the objects. If they cannot be removed, try to use focus and lighting to reduce the distraction. Before this is second nature, place camera on a tripod, as many find it is easier to both compose and look for distractions when the hands are free :-).

- make sure lighting and WB  is pleasant

- make sure focus is right. To me focus is a compositional tool, used to empasize objects. Focus placement and DOF.

- make sure exposure is right. Exposure is also about composition, as it can be used to empasize objects (with lighting, filters, gobos and such)

It goes with any type of photography I do. I have taken so many hundred of thousand shots, so I am pretty familiar with settings, but I see the need for a settings checklist for my D800E, especially because its easy to forget to restore settings after experimentation.

I have a job tomorrow, and are working on various checklists.

phazelag wrote:

Being a former Pilot I learned the value of following a checklist before and after and sometimes during a flight.  In almost every case of damaging an aircraft near take off or landing it was someone not following the checklist.  Usually that was a senior guy who got comfortable.

I think it should be required for surgeons as well.

I have been toying with making a Different Checklist for different types of Photography.  One for Landscapes, Events, Portraits, Studio, Street, and others.

I have considered laminating small or even tiny cards and attaching them to something like my camera strap, case, case strap loop, or keeping them in my wallet.

Usually when I put work into a shot, the only thing that prevents it from being better, is forgetting some fundamental or a setting I usually use in a different way.

What do you think?

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Kind regards
Øyvind

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Bob Tullis
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Mental checklists, yes.
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

phazelag wrote:

Being a former Pilot I learned the value of following a checklist before and after and sometimes during a flight. In almost every case of damaging an aircraft near take off or landing it was someone not following the checklist. Usually that was a senior guy who got comfortable.

I think it should be required for surgeons as well.

I have been toying with making a Different Checklist for different types of Photography. One for Landscapes, Events, Portraits, Studio, Street, and others.

I have considered laminating small or even tiny cards and attaching them to something like my camera strap, case, case strap loop, or keeping them in my wallet.

Usually when I put work into a shot, the only thing that prevents it from being better, is forgetting some fundamental or a setting I usually use in a different way.

That's called 'mistakes'.  Practice is about making, identifying, and working to avoid mistakes moving forward.   The checklist will be built in your head, eventually, with enough practice.

If a checklist helps you in the meanwhile, I say use any trick or technique to aide you in your goals in the meanwhile.   Even with a checklist, mistakes are still possible.    It goes with the territory.

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phazelag
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Re: Enemy pilots won't wait for you to complete your checklist.
In reply to Ron Poelman, 8 months ago

Ron Poelman wrote:

Photo ops. tend to be the same,
maybe it's time to change your cam to something you feel comfortable with ?

The US military is so dominate they never face enemy Pilots.  And all US Military Use Checklists.  The ones who dont wont be pilots very long.  The Pilots are not using a checklist during active engagement unless it is very specific to a weapon and then the list is usually pretty short, but effective.  Sometimes weapons have to armed, targeting data sent, etc.  Its not a video game.

I am extremely comfortable with all my cameras, but I have seen nationally known photographers make mistakes that could have been prevented with a checklist.

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phazelag
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to billythek, 8 months ago

billythek wrote:

I don't think I could stand to have a written checklist for each shot.

I've considered carrying a shot list, though, to help me better work the location. Things like remember to shoot a pano, an HDR, low angle/high angle, portrait/landscape, different focal lengths, different lenses, back-lit shots, etc.

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- Bill

I have done that.  When I do an event I write down everything I am planning to do and I always refer back to it.

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phazelag
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to PenPix, 8 months ago

PenPix wrote:

Nope. But then I'm not holding a cabin full of people's life in my hands.

Depending on the camera you buy, you can preset custom profiles with a setting geared towards your shooting situation. I've done this with my Nikon D700 and Fuji X-E1. Of course I forget which preset is for what sometimes so I might need a checklist for that!

I do need to make more use of these presets, I have some camera where I have set them and used them quite a bit, but then I also forget what I set in each one.

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tko
tko
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oh yeah
In reply to phazelag, 8 months ago

I used to do that. Part of the learning process. Guidelines for DOF, shutter speed, composition, camera usage, all put in little tiny tables. List of equipment to take on trips. How to guides. Tips and techniques.

The mere fact of organization and typing up a ton of stuff I considered relevant helped make it more intuitive, to the point I'd almost forgotten I had the lists. But they do help.

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phazelag
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Exactly!
In reply to quadrox, 8 months ago

quadrox wrote:

I have though about writing one, not necessarily because I would look at it all the time, but just to help remember.

Stuff I am likely to screw up:

  1. IS on when using Tripod
  2. IS off when not using Tripod
  3. High ISO from a previous low-light shoot
  4. 10 second timer from previous tripod shoot (my wireless remote is broken)

I feel like there are lots more I tend to forget, but I can't remember right now...

Forgetting to lower the ISO and IS on a tripod are the two that happen to me the most.  The timer thing too!  I think people assume if someone needs a check they are somehow not good.  I fully disagree, the best people do what ever it takes to get it correct more often.

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phazelag
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In reply to Moti, 8 months ago

Moti wrote:

Being a former commeracial airline pilots trainer, I fully appreciate the importance of checklists in order to make sure that nothing is forgotten.

However, I think that the only place where a checklist can be very useful is a gear checklist for photography missions.

I am not the most organised person and I can count several times in the past when I forgot to bring with me a piece of gear that was important for the job and if you are a pro, it can be embarrassing.

Now, I keep a set of gear checklist cards adapted for every type of job we are going to do and that saved me lots of troubles.

But when it comes to photography itself, I doubt it very much. It maybe helpful for beginners but the danger but even then i woulnt recommend it because checklists are just the opposie of free spirit and creativity, which are essential elements of photography. Also lets not forget that if you miss an item in photography, you may end up with a bad photo. If you miss an item on a plane, you may end your life in a crash.

Cheers

Moti

P.S. just had a visit yo your web site and was very impressed of what I saw. I don't think you need a checklist

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Thanks for visiting my site.  I agree about the gear checklists.  I actually already do that for events.  But there has been times I have hiked for a landscape and forgotten remote or filter or something.  I always make it work, with a self timer or something, but a checklist would have helped.

I dont think I would actively use one during shooting, but just as a quick reminder in some situations.

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phazelag
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I need to get better at this
In reply to Mike_PEAT, 8 months ago

Mike_PEAT wrote:

So I don't have to think about changing a million different settings or require a checklist for my cameras, I use the MySets (custom resets) to set the camera to the various configurations, daylight, studio, indoor, etc.

They should make planes so easy, just rotate one dial to change the various configurations like taxi, takeoff, level flight, landing, etc. The one dial would change all the settings like flaps, etc.

I set them and then forget what I set them to. But I am committed to getting better at this.

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phazelag
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Re: Does Anyone use checklists?
In reply to yvind Strm, 8 months ago

yvind Strm wrote:

Yes, I use checklists. All the time. Either written, or mental.

When preparing for a job, I almost always make a list (or have one). It could be equipment I need, props, asssitance, pricing (what di I need to give a price).

It could be a list of poses. (As ideas to try something new)

Then, when shooting, I have a mental list.

1. Choose your subject with your heart (unless someone else tells you what to photograph)

2. Turn of heart, and activate he creative part of the brain to find an interesting approach. Lightsource (natural/articicial/mix), fill flash?, Direction of light, pov, ideas for story/props

3. Turn off heart and creative part, and activate logical part of brain. From now, everything is geometry (composition) and craft.

- define the main subject - both so it is clear what it is, and that it stands out from the background (so its shape is uninterupted).

- consider where to place the main subject. Consider composition rules, and how to break them.

- take advantage of supporting elements. Brain loves repetitions in color and shape.

- force the eye to look for distractions. Everything that do not add to the picture is a distraction, and needs to be elliminated. Use your feet, bend your kneeds, cdifferent focal length, limb a ladder, use a chainsaw, scissors to avoid the objects. If they cannot be removed, try to use focus and lighting to reduce the distraction. Before this is second nature, place camera on a tripod, as many find it is easier to both compose and look for distractions when the hands are free :-).

- make sure lighting and WB is pleasant

- make sure focus is right. To me focus is a compositional tool, used to empasize objects. Focus placement and DOF.

- make sure exposure is right. Exposure is also about composition, as it can be used to empasize objects (with lighting, filters, gobos and such)

It goes with any type of photography I do. I have taken so many hundred of thousand shots, so I am pretty familiar with settings, but I see the need for a settings checklist for my D800E, especially because its easy to forget to restore settings after experimentation.

I have a job tomorrow, and are working on various checklists.

phazelag wrote:

Being a former Pilot I learned the value of following a checklist before and after and sometimes during a flight. In almost every case of damaging an aircraft near take off or landing it was someone not following the checklist. Usually that was a senior guy who got comfortable.

I think it should be required for surgeons as well.

I have been toying with making a Different Checklist for different types of Photography. One for Landscapes, Events, Portraits, Studio, Street, and others.

I have considered laminating small or even tiny cards and attaching them to something like my camera strap, case, case strap loop, or keeping them in my wallet.

Usually when I put work into a shot, the only thing that prevents it from being better, is forgetting some fundamental or a setting I usually use in a different way.

What do you think?

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Kind regards
Øyvind

Great comments!  Thanks.  I fully agree! Your work is great.

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phazelag
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I know!
In reply to Bob Tullis, 8 months ago

Thanks

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phazelag
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In reply to tko, 8 months ago

Thanks! Great comments

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