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Today’s question comes from Anand Krishnan who says:

“What I see myself doing almost all the time is , whether am shooting indoor or outdoor, it takes me a few shots to arrive at the best shot. This is where I have to religiously play with ISO and Exposure. That kind of confuses me because may be by then I have already lost some of my best moments. 

If I could get some help in understanding , how can I quickly arrive at my mental composition of the setting I need to have before I start shooting ? 

It would be like a pro, who has assessed the light around and knows his settings bang on. He just goes about composing now.

Kindly assist.”

There’s two ways to deal with this.

First, if you’re in a critical situation where you want or need to get a shot, and you know you’re not going to be able to set the settings yourself, just put the camera in auto.

Auto may not give you the best shot in the world, but it’ll be better than missing the shot because you’re fussing with your settings.

Now ideally, you want to be able to set those settings yourself, which means you need to be ready to shoot when the important moments happen.

To be ready, you need to do two things.

First you need to be where you’re going to be shooting early.

Getting there early lets you shoot those test shots that you need to get your exposure settings just right before anything happens.

By being early you can take a few minutes to prepare, and then when the important stuff is happens you won’t have to think about your settings, you can just shoot!

Now I want to tell you a secret.

EVERY photographer has to take test shots and fiddle with their settings to get things just right.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro that’s been shooting for decades, or someone who just started learning manual mode.

So it’s important to understand that it’s not bad to be taking those test shots to get your settings set.

You just need to give yourself the time you need to get your settings right so when things are happening you’re ready to shoot.

And the final thing you can do to make sure you don’t miss that shot is to practice, and before you know it, it won’t take you 15 shots to get ready, it’ll only take you two or three.

Your camera is an amazing tool, but it’s no good to you if you don’t know how to use it!

If you want to take control of your camera and use it to take amazing photos like a pro, check out my Guide to Shooting in Manual Mode video course.