Are you one of those photographers who asks other photographers what their camera settings were when they took a shot you really like? Try not to do that in future, especially around Tony Northrup! In this video, Northrup explains why asking for his camera settings frustrates him and does you no good whatsoever:
Back in the early days of film photography, settings meant everything in order to get correct exposure. Nowadays they aren’t so important, especially if you shoot RAW and fix your photos up in post-processing.
Beginner photographers constantly ask Northrup what settings he used on some of his most popular images. But every shot has a detailed back story; it’s clear that he spent a lot of time and dedication preparing for each shoot.
What he had his camera set at for each one is irrelevant. The important details are in all the months of planning and visiting the places where he took the images before he even set up to take a photo.
He learned everything he could about his subject and the light conditions there, and then one day everything was just aligned right for him to take the shot. Knowing his settings will not get you the same image he did; there are so many other factors that are important.
Composition, art, planning and light are also necessary ingredients to make a great shot. You need to know when to raise your ISO or change your shutter speed, and you can only do that by knowing your camera gear and practicing.
Note in the information underneath the video that Northrup tries to clarify things further. He’s not trying to say that you shouldn’t learn to understand camera settings, or that they don’t matter. What he’s saying is that knowing someone else’s camera settings won’t help you, because you won’t have the same light or circumstances they did, and you probably don’t have exactly the same gear they do either.
What’s your opinion? Is it helpful to know someone else’s camera settings?
“You can’t just learn people’s EXIF data and get any useful information out of that; it’s almost always useless.”
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