Why It's Important to Reset Your Camera Settings After a Shoot


If you recently engaged in a photo shoot where you changed many of your camera's settings, it's important that you change those settings back to their original values immediately after you finish the shoot. Think about it. Let's say you head out to do some very creative night photography and move tons of switches and levers on your camera. Your goal was to take long exposure shots that called for extended shutter speeds, wide open apertures, perhaps some bracketing, custom white balance adjustments and any other thing you can imagine. Let's say you also chose to shoot JPEG photos for some reason or another. If you go ahead with your evening and capture what you're after and then head back inside to go to bed, you've forgotten a very important step.

Now let's say you did all of the above while on a very expensive vacation to Africa. The night photos to took earlier are spectacular, but when you wake up the next morning, you find a herd of elephants outside your window. You've never seen such beautiful creatures, so you run to grab your camera so you can capture as many photographs as you can, before all the elephants run away. There are only a few seconds to spare. You pick up your camera, turn it on and start snapping away. You hear the shutter click multiple times because of the bracketing setting you never tended to, there's a shutter delay because that's what you set things to the night before and the white balance is out of whack because you never set the camera back to its original settings after your wonderful evening just a few hours earlier. How do you think this would make you feel? Not good, I would think. Because you didn't take the time to zero out your camera settings, you missed some great shots from your trip. You most likely won't be able to use them for anything.

So, what settings should you focus on after a photo shoot? Which settings should you reset? That's easy. Grab a pen and some paper and write these down. I'll give you a quick list below.
  • Bracketing
  • Exposure Compensation
  • ISO
  • White Balance
  • RAW or JPEG (Image Quality)
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • Long Exposure Noise Reduction
  • Shutter Delay
I think that's a pretty good list, but I can imagine that I'm missing something. Please let me know down below if I am. The point here is that you should always take a few moments to zero out your camera after a shoot, especially if you were doing some funky stuff with it. Fixing the shutter delay setting by itself is doable, but putting all of what I just listed above back to their factory settings is quite another. Get it done while it's still on your mind. Make a list. Write it down and keep it in your camera bag.