Tag Archives: tips & tricks

The Image Doctors #213

Holiday Photo Tips

Are you intimidated by holiday photos? It’s the time of year where families get together beneath holiday lights. This week, we’ll offer our tips and tricks for getting better holiday portraits and how to photography holiday light displays.

Holiday Hangout with Jason & Rick

We’re pleased to announce a Zoom hangout for our show supporters on Saturday, Dec. 30th at 3pm US Eastern Time. For more details, check our dedicated podcast page.

Nikon Z8 Owners: Never Worry About A Dirty Sensor Again

Change this setting before removing the body cap

Nikon Z8 sensor

Ever since interchangeable lens digital cameras entered the market in the early 2000s, sensor dust has been a constant nemesis of digital photographers. There’s just no way to really keep dust out of your camera, unless you never change lenses in the field. Blower bulbs and sensor cleaning kits became a mandatory accessory for digital photographers, and even then the occasional dust bunny would still show up on an image.

Mirrorless cameras are even more prone to sensor dust given that the sensor is completely exposed to the elements when you remove the lens or body cap. Thankfully, the Nikon Z8 and Z9 cameras offer a great feature to prevent dusty sensors, but it’s disabled by default.

If you have a Nikon Z8 or Z9, there’s one setting you should make before doing anything else when you get your camera. This one setting will keep dust off of your sensor and save you time post-processing your photos.

Nikon Z8 & Z9 Sensor Shield

The Nikon Z8 and Z9 cameras have no mechanical shutter in front of the sensor, just like most mirrorless cameras do. But these cameras offer a great feature: a sensor shield.

The sensor shield is similar to a camera shutter, except it’s sturdier and serves no purpose except to protect the imaging sensor from dust. However, the feature is disabled by default in the Nikon Z8/Z9 cameras.

If you enable the sensor shield function before removing the body cap from your brand-new Nikon Z8 or Z9, you may never need to worry about a dust spot on your images ever again.

Get my Nikon Z9 (and Z8) wildlife settings guide here

Enabling the Sensor Shield

To activate the sensor shield feature, go to the Setup Menu (wrench icon) in your Nikon Z8/Z9. From there, scroll down until you find the menu item labeled: Sensor shield behavior at power off.

Enable the sensor shield from the Nikon Z8/Z9 setup menu

By default, it’s set to “off,” meaning that the shield isn’t deployed. Change the setting to “on.” and you’re good to go. If you make this setting change before removing your camera’s body cap for the first time, you may never need to clean your sensor ever again!

Note that if you do need to use a blower to clean your image sensor, you’ll need to disable the sensor shield before powering off your camera so that the sensor can be exposed for cleaning.

Pro Tip: Rename Your Image Files

Use Lightroom Classic to create meaningful photo file names automatically during import

Your camera automatically names image files using the convention: DSC_1234 (or similar). The problem with this naming format is that when your frame counter hits 9999, it rolls over and begins again at 0001. This means that over time, you’ll end up with many images on your computer all sharing the same filename. That can create headaches over time, especially if you’re trying to locate specific images on your computer outside of Lightroom.

In this video, I’ll show you how to rename your images upon import using Adobe Lightroom Classic. The convention I use combines my initials (JPO) with a sortable date (YYYMMDD) and then the frame number from the original image. This technique only works if you’ve set the date correctly in your camera. The advantage of this technique is that if you’re looking for images on your computer, each file will have a unique name that includes date information to help you locate it. Once you’ve set up a file renaming template in Lightroom, you can use it to rename images that are already in your Lightroom catalog.

Photographing Fall Colors

Fall colors adorn the mountainsides in Teller county, Colorado
Fall colors adorn the mountainsides in Teller county, Colorado

Pro tips for photographing fall colors and foliage

As summer starts to fade, it’s time to turn our thoughts to the approach of autumn. The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, and soon the leaves will be turning. If you want to photograph the changing leaves this year, it’s good to have a plan, and have the right approach. Here are my tips for getting outstanding photos of fall colors.

Continue reading Photographing Fall Colors

Reminder: Set your Camera Clocks back for Standard Time

It’s quick and easy if your camera offers a DST function

Daylight Savings Time (DST) ended in North America on Sunday, November 3rd. That means, we’re back on Standard Time until March 8th, 2020. You probably forgot to change the clock on your camera, though!

Having the correct date and time set in your camera is important because the time stamp that’s embedded in your digital images can be used for record-keeping, and to sync up with GPS track logs.

Most cameras today offer an easy way to set the clock for Daylight Savings Time

Changing your camera’s clock is easy if it has a Daylight Savings Time function (Nikon Z7 shown)

First, find the “Time and Date” menu item in your camera’s settings. Next, see if there is a Daylight Savings or “DST” option. If so, simply set it to OFF and your camera’s clock will “fall back” one hour. If it was already set to OFF, then you’ll need to manually adjust the camera clock. In spring, when DST returns, change the DST setting to ON.

In the fall, set DST to OFF. Change it to ON in the spring!

Easy-peasy!