Test Shoots Are a Good Idea

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Back when everybody shot film, testing was important to improve your photography and most people wouldn’t dream of shooting an important image before testing the concept or gear ahead of time. Along comes digital capture with LCD screens/viewfinders providing instant feedback and many people thought testing was no longer required; you could test as you went along. This created a secondary situation where some shooters didn’t think they needed a back up. Problems would be immediately visible but some never thought what they would do if there was a problem. Believe me it happens, even with new gear.


Not all LCD preview screens are accurate as far as color and contrast and especially not the same quality as the monitor used to process images in Photoshop, Lightroom, or aperture. Surprises lurk, so you need to test. I did some testing at a car show in advance of going to shoot in New Mexico the following week. One of the things I tested was a new wide-angle lens that I thought I would love but in actual shooting was so wide that it was impossible to shoot any of the cars without getting lots of extraneous detail. The camera’s LCD screen showed there was slight vignetting from the built-in lens hood but when I looked at the images on my monitor it was much worse than I thought. I found out now, not when I was in the Land of Enchantmen

Good carpenters say that you should measure twice and cut once. I think that we should test twice and shoot once. And remember, there are no perfect photographs but that shouldn’t keep us from trying to make them.