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WHIMS Will Keep You Out of Trouble

Let’s say you’re going out shooting landscapes one morning. Do you know what your camera’s settings are? They’re whatever they were the last time you went shooting. So, if your last shoot was at night, chances are your ISO is set very high, and your white balance is set to whatever you used last. I’ve gotten burned by this so many times that I had to come up with an acronym to help me remember to check the critical settings on my camera, so I don’t mess up an entire shoot (I spent a whole morning in Monument Valley, Utah, shooting at 1600 ISO because I had been shooting a local band the night before). The acronym is WHIMS, which stands for:

  • W: White balance check
  • H: Highlight warning turned on
  • I: ISO check (make sure you’re using the right ISO for your surroundings)
  • M: Mode check (make sure you’re in aperture priority, program, or manual mode)
  • S: Size (check to make sure your image size and quality are set correctly)

Before you take your first shot that day, take 30 seconds and check your WHIMS, and you won’t wind up shooting important shots with your camera set to JPEG small (like I did when shooting one day in Taos, New Mexico).

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