At what settings should I start shooting?

So one of the most asked questions during my teaching sessions and workshops is this particular one. Well as you all know photography has no rules as to where to start or professionals start @ this settings etc. If you ever have to think about this then you need to come to a stage where muscle memory is used. If you ask me at any given time what my settings for a particular image is my answer would always be "I don't know". After you shoot for a while you tend to just know what needs to be done. Well this is how I used to shoot for someone to understand where to start.

Early Morning

During around 6:00a.m. my ISO is around 400-1000 (preference is 800). Aperture is aroundf2, f2.8 or f4. Shutter speed varies to get my exposure right but it will not be too slow.

Day time

During this time my ISO is minimum from 200 - 400, aperture is around f4 to f8 and sometimes f16. The shutter will vary according to my exposure.


Same as early morning.

Night time

Now this is what everyone wants to know. Don't we? Well I start @ my widest aperture like f2 or f2.8 sometimes f4 if it's a group. Shutter will be around 160 (minimum flash synch speed). ISO depends on the exposure, sometimes 800 sometimes 3200. I use a Nikon SB910 for these kinda things. If it's outside with no bounce I bounce it off a wall, human, reflector or go external. Never should you use direct flash unless of course there is no other choice.


My Wishlist

So we all have a wish list sometime or the other! Here is mine!

  1. Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G II ED VR

  2. Nikkor AF-S 105mmm f/2.8G VR

  3. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G ED

  4. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED

  5. Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8

Also would love to get my hands on these

  1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR AF

Camera gear I use!

Well, let me start off by saying I just had the basics of equipment when I started. I started with a D3000 then progressed to a D90 then a D7000 and finally a D800. As I journeyed down the path of a photographer I always upgraded when I saw the need. Never spend anything extra if you don't take advantage out of it. Specially if this is a hobby or if your body is resting in the cupboard for a long time.

The D800

Loads of people have asked me why I chose a D800 from a D610 or any other body. First off I got a good offer from cameralk for this and it was amazing. I had used a D800 and a D600 before my purchase and I felt that the D800 was the body for me. The D600 for some reason, the AF area is too small! Every time I wanted to focus on something it was always outside of the focus area :/ (considering composition). The only disadvantage about this is that the RAW file size is HUGE! around 40-60mb sometimes 70.

Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

This is the bread and butter lens I use 95% of the time (for now :p). I have no idea not to go without this lens. When I switched from my Nikkor AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5 5.6G to this beast I almost cut myself with it's sharpness. @ 2.8 the DOF and the details are so amazingly breath taking.

AF-Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 ED AF

This was the first FX lens I ever invested in. This is I think a third hand lens. Yes you heard me right, I brought this off Second Option - Buy / Sell Pre Used Cameras and Equipment and I never regretted it. It was just amazing. This is a very old lens which uses the push-pull method of zooming. Disadvantage is that focus is very slow and sometimes it never focuses in low light. I use this for my outdoor shoots with plenty of light. After I got the Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G I rarely use this now. :P

Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G

Hah the Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G. This is my portrait lens at any given time of the day. The zoom is not too much like a 100mm and the shallow DOF is just amazing. Normally this will be used like @ f1.8 99% of the time and 1% @ f2.8 or higher. Why would I invest in a lens and not use it @ f1.8? I know sometimes they are a bit blurry but that's why I take multiple shots. The bokeh is just fabulous. I love this lens.

Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO RF

This lens is used for wildlife and birding. However I would not recommend this lens for either as the aperture is not constant and @ 500 the image tends to get softer. Also this has a considerable amount of ghosting and chromatic aberration. There is lens flare so direct light into the lens will give you really poor images.

So wonder why I got this? well 1 thing is for the reach and the other is that if used correctly this can be handled with minimal errors. Last but not least I got it for a bargained price.


So I am taking time off my work to write some valuable tips, tricks, tutorials and everything else to assist anyone to become a better photographer.

So now the question is how can my tutorials be different than others? Why is it special? 

Sri Lanka is a tropical country, the island south of India. Natural lighting in every aspect of the geometry location are different. Since Sri Lanka is close to the equator it has more harsher lighting that I have ever seen. So join with me and let's learn about photography.

As I am writing this now I look out of the window and I just see perfect light.


I am on the following social media platforms.

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