Photography tips

10 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Press the Shutter Button

Do you just point and shoot or do you ensure that everything is in order before hitting the shutter button? Photography can be tricky especially when you are just getting started. If you need to be producing perfect images every time, then you need to ensure that everything is in order before taking your shot.

No one can get a perfect shot by pointing and shooting, the best way to figure out what you are overlooking is by asking yourself some important questions. In this article, you will learn some important questions that will help you make your photography better.

Why Do you Need to Ask Questions Before Shooting?

There is an objective behind every shot. Whether you are an amateur or professional photographer, there is a reason or something that you want to achieve with your photography.

The best way to ensure that you achieve your objective is by taking time to look things over, make the necessary adjustments, use the right settings and right equipment, and then take the best position. When you have everything you need in place, your photography will turn out perfect.

Below, we have listed some important questions you need to ask before you take your shot:

1. What is My Subject?

This is the most important question as every other thing will depend on the subject you are trying to capture. Ensure that you have your subject in focus at all times. Don't allow the vintage point through the viewfinder or the screen to distract you from keeping the subject in focus.

2. Do I Have Lights?

You must consider your light source before hitting the shutter button. If you are outside, it is easy to use sunlight especially when it is lower and more directional. If you are shooting inside, get a good source of light. Photography is all about lighting, without it, your photograph will look poor and unattractive.

3. What Mode Should I shoot in?

You can shoot in manual, automatic, or semi-automatic mode; it’s all up to you. But before deciding which mode to shoot in, ensure you understand the situation well and figure out the best mode that will give you best result. Read the article I wrote about selecting modes.

4. Should I shoot in RAW?

Most amateur photographers don't really know when to shoot in RAW or not. My rule of thumb for this is to shoot in RAW if you need to have the RAW file to allow you do editing as you like during post-processing.

5. Is My Camera Shaking?

If you have not figure out by now, then learn today that you will always get a blurry image if your camera is shaking or shakes when you hit the shutter button. To correct this problem, invest in a high-quality tripod.

6. Am I Standing in the Best Place to Take this Photograph?

Perspective matters a lot in photography. Try other angles. If you see something that you want to capture, do not be afraid to move, every little thing you do add up to help you get the best shot.

7. Am I Going to Use a Flash?

Most professional photographers don't consider using flash that comes with their camera. However, there are some situations when they can be very useful. The trick is mastering when it is best to use flash or just natural or other type of lighting such as external flash.

8. Is this the Best Time of the Day to Take this Photograph?

This is one question that mostly concerns landscape photographers as well as street photographers. Since their photography is determined by the time of the day, you must master the best time of the day to get the right results.

9. Are my camera’s settings correct for this image?

Your camera settings will depend on your subject, light, time of the day, the situation you find yourself, and of course, the goal you are trying to achieve. Note that your camera settings can make a break a photo. This is the first thing you should learn. Before taking your shot, check and double-check your:

  • Shutter speed
  • ISO
  • White balance
  • Aperture
  • Metering
  • Shooting mode
  • Autofocus mode

10. What Story Am I Trying to Tell?

Every photo has a story behind it. There is something that you want to achieve; a story that you want to tell with your photograph, ask yourself if you are about to capture a scene that truly tell that story.


There are a lot of questions and things you need to do before hitting the shutter button. If you want to ensure that your shot turns out perfect, you need to put a lot of factors into consideration. Note that the quality of every photograph is determine by factors such as your skills level, your camera quality, your camera settings, lightning, and the time of the day. You must learn to master these factors if you want to become a professional photographer.

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