What camera settings do you use?

I’m planning on taking my gear out again soon to take some beam shot photos but I was wondering what settings others use.

I dug out some old shots I took and checked the exif:

Canon 7D
Lens 17-85mm IS
ISO 200
2sec exposure

The 2 sec exposure seems rather long to me. Just wondering what others have done so I can get mine in the same ball park.

The shots I’ve looked back on are here:

No one?

I just had someone ask me for the settings I used on this picture because he liked it

Heres the picture and the settings on it……


600 dpi

Bit depth 24

f-stop f/3.3

Exposer time 4 seconds


focal length 6mm

Max apeture 3.44

Metering mode Pattern

Brightness –4.67

Landscape Mode

Depends. Some people have a reference setting and they do a zillion different shots and they can all be compared relative to each other.

But when I do beam shots sometimes, what I have to do is choose the settings that capture the low and high “boundary conditions” of the shot, because I want the user to see the low and high. Usually this is how I do GIF animations. Some lights have a moonlight mode, and if I used whatever stock settings, it wouldn’t show up on the modes animation. Even then it can be difficult: the low barely shows up and the high can look washed out. This photo shows what I’m talking about, where the gap between low and high is huge.

One note though for my photos: I always try to use white balance: daylight.

I am with you. I was just asking someone what there settings were in a build thread. I have took pics that made darkness look like daylight.

You want to find settings that match what your eyes see.

Hmm there was a Russian (?) guy that had a web site where he did an obscene number of beam shots, and I know he had standardized his settings. Maybe someone here remembers who I’m talking about. He seemed to be the master of beamshots, and I would personally use whatever settings he used.

Also, you can pull the EXIF data off any photo you like and see what settings they used. Just go under File Properties—>Details in Windows Explorer. That’s what I do—pull down the JPEGs for photos I like, where I usually say something like “wow, I don’t have a lens that good”. So, if you find beam shots you like…

What ever setting you use. Post what they are. That will give an idea of brightness.

Who are you hosting your photos with ??? I have photobucket and I get bombarded with adds, and it is slow. It has keep me from posting pics just because of the hassle.

Ok, you can have my settings but I’m a talentless hack. I looked at one of the photos above and it was: f/6.3 ISO 800 1/250 which looks weird to me now, but I remember it was giving me fits. Normally I will stay to as low of an ISO as possible. But the biggest determining factor is what looks the best for the shot I’m taking. I’ll spin the ISO and exposure all over the place if I have to in order for it to look pretty.

The photos are self hosted. I hated pretty much every photo hosting service so I rolled my own. I sell web site hosting and someday I’ll get around to selling photo hosting for something reasonable. Most of these free photo hosting sites have really obnoxious ads and border on/are malware, where I’ll just charge $5 per month or something.

For DSLR, I usually shot between f8-f13, 1-2s exposure and ISO 200-400. Of course, that depends on how good are your camera (sensor) and lenses. As for the post-processing, I will open up the shadow a little due to lower dynamic range for digital sensor and lossy JPEG conversion.

photobucket is terrible, especially for mobile viewing


Is fantastic. Free, fast, easy, has a simple editor, and doesn't delete pics unless you select delete. There are probably ads, but adblock gets rid of all of them.

i think this is what you’re looking for

okay usually when filming a video i use my phone but for these pics i used my mega zoom point and shoot. i was playing with the settings and got it to look good i don’t know how but i think because of the exposure time? The settings are on the photo.