Photography Cheat Sheet: Camera Settings for Various Shooting Situations

In need of some camera setting advice for your next practice? Today’s featured photography cheat sheet comes to the rescue!

It can be kind of confusing or even overwhelming to fiddle around with camera settings when you’re just starting out shooting with a DSLR or mirrorless camera. You have to account for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and setting them based on the lighting condition and shooting situation. While you’re still mastering how the Exposure Triangle works, keep today’s photography cheat sheet close so you have something to refer to when you’re out and about shooting.

The cheat sheet below is part of the photography basics tutorial on Improve Photography, specifically the discussion on exposure. The tutorial was especially designed for beginner photographers who want to break away from shooting with their camera’s Auto mode and take control of the settings to achieve more creative results. As is noted in the tutorial, “Automatic can be handy, but it also seriously limits your creative ability to make a beautiful picture.”

The camera settings cheat sheet is divided into three parts that correspond to different shooting situations: indoor, outdoor, and special. The first two covers some of the most common scenarios that you’ll find yourself photographing: portraits, group shots, sports, and landscapes. As the term suggests, the third covers special situations where you’d have to pay closer attention to your exposure.

Apart from the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings, the cheat sheet also includes other tips and tricks for achieving the best results for each shooting situation. These include settings like Av mode, AI-Servo, and Manual mode, as well as exposure compensation, where to focus, and using a tripod.

As a bonus, if you decide to print this out, there’s also a space for notes in case you want to write stuff down. It can be handy if you want to experiment with different settings and take note of the ones that create the best results for you.

For more useful photography tips and tricks like this, make sure to check out our collection of handy photography cheat sheets so far!