The Value Of Keeping A Photo Log July 31 2010, 0 Comments

 When I was starting out in photography, I was told to keep a log of how I photographed each image. I was to keep a record of each f-stop, shutter speed, film speed, the type of lens used, and so on. I found this to be a cumbersome task which interrupted my thought process when shooting and disrupted the flow of my work. It was like driving a standard car for the first time, jerking the car forward as I tried to shift gears and then stalling out.  There was no smooth motion.

What I did not understand at the time was that I would never have “smooth motion” until I could rapidly, without thought, adjust my camera settings in nearly any given circumstance.

Keeping a log is just note taking. It gives you, the opportunity to review the settings that you have used, and the ability to refer back to them when you need to understand the technical side of a particular image.

Your log has a simple set up. List the following:

Place or Location of the photo shoot:


Time of Day/Hour:

Camera Model:


Shutter Speed:


Color Temperature:

Bracket Settings:

If your camera has the ability to shoot in RAW, that will serve you best when you print your images. Bracket your exposure. Most SLR’s will have auto bracketing. But you should know how to bracket manually.

Example: If you set your shutter speed for 125 and your f-stop for f8, take the photo and then change your f-stop to f5.6. Take the photo and then set your f-stop to f11. What you end up with is three exposures changing only the amount of light that is allowed to hit the camera sensor. The smaller the number f5.6, the more light hits the sensor. The larger the number, the less light hits the sensor.

Bracketing is an excellent way to understand exposure. Keeping a log will help you understand your work in detail.