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Mastering Camera Settings

Lesson 4 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

Mastering Camera Settings

Lesson 4 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

4. Mastering Camera Settings

Let's talk about knowing your camera. As someone who wants to be a professional you need to know it inside and out, so much in fact that you don't think about it when you're using it. Just like when you drive your car.
Next Lesson: Blue Hour, A How-To


Class Trailer



Workshop Intro






Gear - My Camera Bags


Mastering Camera Settings


Blue Hour, A How-To


Photos That Move Us


Visual Storytelling 101


Endurance In A World Of Sprinting


Keeping Your Ideas Fresh


Building Your Story Arc


Shooting More: Action Plan


Conveying Emotions


In the Field


The Assignment: Himalaya Pre-Pro


In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot


The Assignment: Canon Pre-Pro


In the Field: Canon USA Shoot




Keywords & Organizing Images


Commercial Grading


Masking & Radial Filters


Perspective Correction


HDR (Hand-Held)


Black & White Edits


Before & Afters


Moody Grading


IG Export Settings


Web Export Settings


Clone Stamping & Patch Tools


Grading in Lightroom


Hand-Held Panoramas


Radial Filters Pt 2


Delivering Files to Clients


Archiving & Organizing Images


My Favorite Software




Let's Talk Business


Building A Desirable Portfolio


How to Contact Clients


Prospecting: Finding Brands That Fit You


Getting Clients To See Our Value


Paid to Travel the World


The Art of Making Moodboards & Treatments


Keys To A Fulfilling Career


Three Things You Need To Know Before Pitching


Finding Your Value Proposition


Media Kit: A Walk Through


How I Built My Audience


Social Media Landscape


Module Recap


Bonus - Everything To Know About Filters


Do You Need Lens Filters?


Filters in The Field


Bonus - Find Your Path


Find Your Path


Bonus - How To Print Your Work


Why Print or Sell Photos


Preparing Photos for Print


Reviewing Major U.S Printers


Lesson Info

Mastering Camera Settings

Camera settings. So if you know 100% how to use your camera like it's second nature, and you don't even have to think about it when you're using it. Like, you know what sRGB is, Adobe RGB is, and all this kind of stuff, then feel free to skip this episode. So you've stayed. Let's talk about knowing your camera. As someone who wants to be a professional, you need to know how to use your camera inside and out. It has to become like driving. You know when you drive your car, you don't think about how you brake or how you turn the wheel. You just do it. And you do that while listening to music, talking to somebody, or just listening to an audiobook. You've become so proficient that you don't think about it. How do we get comfortable with settings? It's sadly about shooting a lot. Repetition, for days and months and years. And I don't think there's shortcuts to that. I hate to say it, but you really have to get tens of shoots under your belt to be totally proficient. And when I say shoots, ...

I mean like real shoots, with like stakes, not just in the weekends. You just have to go through these experiences and through some of these failures to master that camera. So you'll see that the first time you go out, it's gonna be challenging. And then the second time, it'll be a little less. And then by the third time, you'll think that, "I got it." And then you're gonna come back home with photos that are overexposed or out of focus. That's just how learning works. There's gonna be ups and downs, and a mix of moments of disappointment and extreme joy. But trust me, you'll be happy you pushed through. Let's get tactical now. It's not only about getting 100 hours of practice with settings in your living room, photographing a plant. The key lies in diversifying what you shoot. I call that scenarios. Shooting a landscape at sunset, for example, is very different from shooting a photo of your tent at night, or a friend jumping into a lake, midday. It's like completely different. You have to go through tens of these scenarios to sharpen your skills. And with each scenario, you want to add into the mix different kind of lenses, because let's say that you shoot a telephoto, it's way different than shooting a wide. So you gotta add these little variables into your scenarios to break yourself in. Let's just jump into a scenario. Imagine you're going biking with your friends. And it's just after sunset, right? Blue hour begins. You're trying to get a photo of Tom riding his bike past you, but you wanna freeze the moment. But, hey, it's dark, right? And you only have an F4 lens, sadly. You gotta go up in ISO. But how high can you go until your camera becomes way too noisy? Until you've experienced that, you're not going to know. So you gotta practice these things and sort of push your camera and yourself to the limit. So when the time there's something more serious happening, like you gotta get that shot, then you unconsciously know what to do. And one of the most important things to do is not to worry if the first time is bad, or the second or the third one doesn't work. Just repeat, because it will come to you. (shutter clicks) Let's talk about expectations. There are many different subcultures and tribes in photography. And all these tribes have different rules and codes. So if you're watching this, you probably identify with the outdoor photographers, right? And inside this tribe, there is even contradicting views on how to best shoot a landscape. It is important you don't become pressured into fitting in, into sticking to the norm. For example, when I started shooting, everyone was shooting outside at F22 with tripods and big old ND filters. That's fine, but I really don't want that. So instead, I developed my approach to it, which is a more organic approach to photography outside, that was inspired by masters, like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau. So I took some street photography inspiration to the outdoors, and if I had to call it, I would probably call it on-the-fly outdoor photography. I just want you to know that there's many different ways to achieve the same thing. And you have to develop your own ways that match your vision. And you do that thing by trying. So go shoot some landscapes at 2.8 and some others at F22, and decide which shot you like best. (shutter clicks) Some of my technical rules of thumb. So, for example, with the 5D Mark IV, my ISO range begins at 160. Why? Because at 160, it's less noisy than at 100. Go figure. Sometimes, I can push the ISO all the way to 6,400 and it's still usable. At least on the screen. My usual aperture range is from 1.4 to 5.6. Why? Well, in portraits, I like having this soft bouquet behind my subject. And if it's a landscape, I usually want to blur out the foreground because I find it distracting. So I'll shoot at 2.8, so I can blur out the foreground. If it's midday, and I have a large scene in front of me, I'll step down to a 5.6, which is usually where my lens get close to its peak darkness. I don't love using F8 or F10, because I know that it's usually where most lenses are the sharpest. It makes my photos a little too sharp. Too much like a 8K TV. And to me, life doesn't look as sharp as that. So what mode do I shoot on? 99.9% of the time, I'm shooting manual. The only time I don't use manual is when I'm using this puppy. Yeah. So when I'm shooting in the water, there's the 1DX housing from Aquatech. So whenever I'm using this guy or any housing, I shoot in aperture mode, because I just can't play with my shutter speed there. There's waves going on, there's thing's going on. So I need to be able to rely on the camera to do most of the hard work. So I usually stick this thing to 5.6 or more. It depends if it's really bright, and then roll with it. So let's get a bit scientific here. Adobe RGB, or sRGB? So first off, Adobe RGB, the 1998 one, was made by Adobe in to use with their whole ecosystem of apps. sRGB was created by HP and Microsoft to standardize their computers with their printers and the internet. And it became sort of normalized by some sort of entity. Anyways, the web runs on sRGB. So I work in Adobe RGB for my photos on Lightroom, on Photoshop. There are way more colors in Adobe RGB. That's why I like to use it, especially. It's very funny when I take a photo from Photoshop to my phone, and there's a lot of blues, I lose half the subtlety in the blues. Like, let's say, it's underwater. Sadly, for Instagram and all the social networks, it's sRGB. And I'll show you in the editing module how you can convert them efficiently to keep as much of the color as you can. But for now, I would advise you to work in Adobe RGB, just because it's more complete, as a profile. JPEG or raw? This is called "Adventure Pro Workshop," but I think we still should answer this question. Raw. JPEG doesn't contain the information that a raw contains, meaning you can't change the white balance. You can't change the shadows as much. Raw is a no brainer. Takes a bit more room in your memory cards and storage, but if you wanna be a professional, you just need to have a lot of storage. Let's talk about focusing. I know that some of you get very worried about focusing. Some people, we throw photos because they're not sharp. And I believe that we shouldn't get too anal about it. Some of my favorite photos are out of focus or just a bit soft, and that's completely okay. Actually, my friend Forrest Mankins, he's kind of the same way. His favorite photos are often the blurry or out-of-focus ones. And that's fine, because the feeling is there. So don't get too bogged down with being perfectly sharp. Just worry about telling a good story and look at the focusing after.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

A Note From Alex

Ratings and Reviews


Not What I Was Expecting Let me just start by saying that the workshop was very good. There were lots of things that I learned and many insights I took away. Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom imparted to me was not anything Alex said but how he approached every subject he talked about. I felt that he was talking to me as a friend, very personal and open book. This was both a blessing and a curse as the course tends to meander around and is not as structured as others I've taken. Alex's passion for the highest quality, and craftsmanship in every aspect of his business, is very evident. From the premiums he charges, to the attention to detail in client deliveries. This is where my review is going to give some hopefully constructive criticisms. For someone so focused on a premium experience I was a surprised to find the course a bit sloppily assembled, and the videography and editing lackluster. This is coming from a videographer and someone with a lot of experience in online training. A few short examples to illustrate my point include: repeating segments of the edit (in some instances the exact same segment), poor framing. Colors changing between cuts, and my biggest pet peeve, not leaving photo examples on for long enough to see them. These are all small things, but they add up, and along with the topics meandering, left me a bit disappointed. I'm curious who you would say this class is aimed towards. Amateurs, mid-level, or experts? The assumption of who you are addressing changes throughout the course. I feel like with a bit of work from an instructional designer, and some editing cleanup, you could help hone this course to be one of the best out there. I feel like I need to do a more in depth review than will fit here, to actually explain this well. Let me know if that would be helpful to you. One other note: When I signed up for a workshop on Adventure Photography, I honestly thought it would be more field focused. The field examples were all shoots for products, and not shoots documenting an adventure. I guess I had just hoped to learn that side of the storytelling process more. Getting into the nitty gritty of being wet, cold, and dirty, and still shooting bangers. The section on filters (going out and building the snow cave) was more what I thought this course was going to be. Anyhow, with all that said, I still found it valuable and worthwhile. To summarize, the course feels a bit unpolished and in some ways unfinished though there is still great value. I've taken Jimmy Chin's Masterclass on adventure photography and it felt very structured and highly polished. I purchased "Adventure Pro" on the "finish in a month" discount. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price with the course in its current state. Thanks for reading and I hope my criticisms come as helpful. As I've already mentioned I'd be happy to further elaborate.

Topher Hammond

One of the best photography investments I'm only 1/4 of the way through Alex's course and I feel like I already have a loose plan on how I can move forward in my own career as a photographer. I felt like my work was lacking a specific feeling. The way that Alex articulated ideas on how to convey emotion in your imagery and building that overarching story arc for your own life narrative were super helpful to focus on how to make my work better. Super looking forward to the rest of this course. Thanks Alex and team!

Sergi Mas de xaxars Rosell

Great Workshop I learned quite a lot with this workshop. Because I'm in the industry for 5 years now, there were a few things I already knew. On the other hand, Alex showed me different and more effective ways to improve my business. I like the way he gives the lessons, always in a personal and close way. This is the knowledge I wish I had when I started. Totally worth it!

Student Work