The Best Photography Tips For Beginner Photographers

Meta Explains The Best Sony Camera Settings For Beginner Photographers

The Best Sony Camera Settings For Beginners

Sony Camera Settings – Meta Explains Her Best Sony Camera Settings For Beginner Photographers. These settings are specific to the Sony a77 II Camera, but they can also be applied to many other Sony Cameras, which use similar Sony Camera Settings and Camera Menus.

Sony Camera Procedures – Meta Explains How To Use Multiple Sony Camera Settings to setup Camera Procedures, such as Back Button Auto Focus and PC Remote Control.

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Meta’s Settings for The Sony a77 II Camera

Meta’s Sony Camera Settings for The Sony a77 II Camera

Meta’s Sony Camera Settings are specific for her Sony a77 II Cameras, but they should work just fine for other Sony Cameras! Check the Sony a77 II Camera Help Guide before making any MENU changes to your Sony Camera.

Image Quality – Most Professional Photographers Shoot in RAW which gives you 16 bits vs. 8 bits of color, plus no JPEG Artifacts and no Double JPEG Compression from Post Production! 8 Bits = 256 Shades of Red, Green and Blue, but 16 Bits = 65,536 Shades of Red, Green and Blue. 16 bits vs. 8 bits is not 2x more, it’s 256x more information! Think of RAW files as a Digital Negatives, which don’t get touched or altered during Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 1 –> Quality –> RAW (Requires Post Production Software)

Aspect Ratio – 3:2 | 6000x4000 Pixels is the Default Mode.
MENU –> Camera 1 –> Aspect Ratio –> 3:2

Drive Mode – Continuous Shooting – Take advantage of the Sony a77 II Camera’s 12 fps shooting capability.
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Cont. Shooting (Hi or Lo)
MENU –> Camera 2 –> Cont. Bracket 1.0EV 5 Images (for HDR Photography)

Power Ratio – 1/16th Flash Power for Outdoor Fill or to Trigger Remote Flash Units from the Camera’s Internal Popup Flash.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Power Ratio –> 1/16 (Not Needed If Using a Top Mounted Flash Unit)

Focus Area – Use Wide to access the Sony a77 II Camera’s 79 Auto Focus Points.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Wide (For Action Photography)
MENU –> Camera 3 –> Focus Area –> Center (For HDR Photography)

AF-A Setup – Allows you to change the focusing behavior when the Focus Mode Switch is set to “A”.
MENU –> Camera 3 –> AF-A Setup–> DMF (Direct Manual Focusing. Works with SSM Lenses and Macro Photography)

Focus Mode Switch – The Sony a77 II Camera has an round Focus Mode Switch at the base of the lens.
Focus Mode Switch options are “S”, “A”, “C” and “MF”.
S – Single. Once the Sony Camera achieves Focus, it stops Auto Focusing.
A – Automatic Mode. Lets the Sony Camera decide between “C” and “S” Modes.
C – Continuous Auto focusing. The Sony Camera will Continuous Auto Focus (Standard Recommended Mode)
MF – Manual Focus is the Default. You have to manually focus your lens. Continuous Auto Focus is Disabled.

Exposure Step – Used for HDR Bracketing.
MENU –> Camera 4 –> Exposure Step –> 0.5EV

AF Drive Speed – Speed of the Auto Focus.
MENU –> Camera 4 –> AF Drive Speed –> Slow (Results in more in Focus Shots)

ISO – High ISO is the main cause of Sensor Amplification Noise, especially in dark areas. The Sony a77 II Camera’s Native ISO = ISO 100 (No Sensor Amplification = The Lowest Noise). There’s no technical advantage to drop below ISO 100. Meta often uses Auto ISO, but she limits the Maximum ISO to ISO 800, instead of the factory default of ISO 3200, which she finds way too noisy.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> ISO AUTO

Photography TipsOne advantage of using Limited Auto ISO, is that the Sony a77 II Camera will automatically select from a much finer range of ISO values: ISO 100, ISO 125, ISO 160, ISO 200, ISO 250, ISO 320, ISO 400, ISO 500, ISO 640, and ISO 800 are available. Manually, only ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400 and ISO 800 can be selected in the Sony a77 II Camera.

Metering Mode – This isn’t always 100% perfect, so you might have to adjust your Exposure Compensation up or down depending on what you are shooting. Available Metering Modes are Multi, Center, and Spot.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Multi (For Overall Metering Mode)
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Center (For Center Metering Mode)
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Spot (For Long Exposure HDR Photography)

White Balance – Has No Effect when shooting in RAW, but “Auto White Balance” works fairly well, and is a good Starting Point for RAW Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> White Balance –> Auto

Creative Style – Has No Effect when shooting in RAW, but Creative Style Standard can be set, then Boost what you see in the View Finder.
MENU –> Camera 5 –> Creative Style –> Standard –> Contrast +1 | Saturation +2 | Sharpness +2

Long Exposure NR – Long Exposure Noise Reduction is available when shooting RAW. In Astrophotography, it is recommened to turn Off, because it often mistakes faint stars as noise and tries to eliminate them. Remove any noise in Post Production.
MENU –> Camera 6 –> Long Exposure NR –> Off

Steady Shot – This is built into the Sony a77 II Camera, not into the Sony lens. Sony claims this can add 4 Stops of Light (Normally 1/100th of a Second can now shoot Hand Held at 1/15th of a Second). Turn this Off when using a Sturdy Tripod, but remember to turn it back On for Hand Held.
Note: SteadyShot is grayed out when the Shutter Speed is set to BULB Mode, indicating that it automatically gets Turned Off.
MENU –> Camera 8 –> SteadyShot –> On | Off

Color Space – AdobeRGB is essential if you’re a purest for color accuracy and your final product will be printed by a commercial printer using CMYK Printing. The choice of Color Space has no effect on RAW files.
MENU –> Camera 8 –> Color Space –> AdobeRGB


Remote Control – Ever wonder why your Wireless Remote Control doesn’t work, even after changing the CR2032 Battery? Maybe you have the Remote Control Option Turned Off!
MENU –> Tool 3 –> Remote Ctrl –> On

Sensor Cleaning – Blow any Sensor Dust off whenever changing lenses. Never change lenses outdoors when it’s windy! Clean your Sensor Often:
MENU –> Tool 3 –> Cleaning Mode (Requires Camera to be Turned Off After Vibrating Sensor Cleaning)

Area Setting – If you travel across multiple Time Zones, remember to Set Your Time Zone, which adjusts your Camera’s internal clock. This helps when trying to find photos based on the time of day – Was that a sunset or a sunrise photo?
MENU –> Tool 4 –> Area Setting (Set Your Time Zone)

Firmware Update – Check your Firmware Version to verify that it’s the latest version. Firmware is the Operating System that runs your Sony Camera. Firmware updates fix bugs and often enable new camera features. A Sony a77 II Camera that Meta purchased in 2019 didn’t have the latest Firmware installed, so it had to be manually updated on a PC. Mac Support is spotty.
MENU –> Tool 6 –> Version (Sony a77 II Camera Ver. 2.00. Last Checked May 2020)


Grid Line – Rule of 3rds Grid helps with your Creative Compensation.
MENU –> Gear 1 –> Grid Line –> Rule of 3rds Grid

Histogram – Turn on and watch your Histogram. This prevents over and under exposure.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> DISP Button –> Configures Display Button

Digital Level – Turn on in the Display to help keep the Camera Level. There’s nothing worse than a crooked landscape photo.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> DISP Button –> Configures Display Button

Manual Focus – Use Peaking Level and Peaking Color when in Manual Mode. Manual Mode is better for Night and Macro Photography.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Level –> Low (Low is more sensitive and exact). Turn Off for Astrophotography.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Peaking Color –> Yellow or Red

Live View Display – This is the unmarked button is next to the rear of the lens on the lower right side, and is hard to reach and to see. It will close down the aperture to simulate the Depth of Field. If the Aperture is too small, it might be too dark to see.
The Live View Display Button can be easily assigned to the C Button on the back of the camera.
MENU –> Gear 2 –> Live View Display –> Setting Effect On
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> C Button –> Aperture Preview

Priority Setup – Sets whether or not to release the shutter even when focus is not achieved in auto focus mode. This feature can cause more problems than it solves, especially with night photography, so Meta sets this to Release.
MENU –> Gear 5 –> Release (The shutter will be released even if the subject is out of focus – Better for Night Photography)

Bracket Order – Selecting the Darkest of the set first, makes the set easier to identify the Bracketed Set on your computer.
MENU –> Gear 5 –> Bracket Order –> - –> 0 –> + (Darkest, Standard, Lightest)

Function Menu Set – This allows you to set up Commonly Used Menu Functions under the Fn or Function Button.
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Function Menu Set –> Set Your Commonly Used Menu Items
Some Functions don’t apply to Shooting in RAW, so Meta’s Simplified RAW Function Menu Settings:
1 –> Drive Mode | Focus Area | Metering Mode | SteadyShot | White Balance | Peaking Level
2 –> If you Leave this entire section Blank, only the bottom row will show up in the camera’s display.


Airplane Mode – If you’re not using your Camera’s WiFi Mode, turn Airplane Mode On to Save Power.
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Airplane Mode–> On

PC Remote Control – This is similar to Camera Tethering, but uses the Sony Camera’s built-in WiFi Hub for Connection and Control.
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Ctrl w/ Smartphone –> This will present you with the Sony Camera’s WiFi Hotspot Password to Connect to.

Camera’s Name – Lets you name your Sony Camera (Handy if you have more than one of the same model)
MENU –> WiFi 2 –> Edit Device Name –> Name Your Camera

Photography TipsIf you’re like Meta, you might own more than one Sony Camera of the same model, so consider Numbering each Camera (use a Number Sticker) and changing the Camera’s Name to match the Number: Eg: SonyA77II#1, SonyA77II#2, SonyA77II#3. This makes it easier to know which Camera took which photo, or which camera was having any issues at the time.

Meta Explains The Best Sony Camera Procedures for The Sony a77 II and Other Sony Cameras

How To Setup Back Button Auto Focus for The Sony a77 II Camera

Back Button Auto Focus – Many Professional Photographers like Meta, Highly Recommend setting up Back Button Auto Focus or Back Focusing on your Camera. This simple procedure involves Removing the Auto Focus from the Shutter Release Button, and Assigning it for example, to the Center Joy Stick Button. When the Center Joy Stick Button is pressed, then it goes into Continuous Auto Focus Mode and Auto Focuses.

Back Button Auto Focus prevents the Shutter Release Button from quickly refocusing on the closest object, if you or the subject moves when you take a shot, resulting in many out of focus photographs. This procedure below is for specific for the Sony a77 II Camera, but it should also work on other Sony Cameras as well.

Your Sony Camera Settings May Vary Slightly, but the Back Button Auto Focus or Back Button Focus concept is exactly the same.
MENU –> Gear 4 –> AF w/ Shutter –> Off (Removes the Auto Focus from the Shutter Release Button)
MENU –> Gear 4 –> AEL w/ Shutter –> Off (Removes the Auto Exposure Lock from the Shutter Release Button)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> AF/MF Button –> AF/MF Control Toggle (Toggles between AF and MF Modes)
MENU –> Gear 6 –> Custom Key Settings –> Center Button –> AF On (Assigns the Auto Focus to the Center Joy Stick Button)

Photography TipsYou should have more in focus photos using Back Button Auto Focus. This procedure greatly changes how your Camera Focuses, so it will take a little time to get used to using the Center Joy Stick Button to Auto Focus using your thumb and not your index finger on the Shutter Release Button, but the results will be well worth it.

Meta Explains PC Remote Control (Camera Tethering) for The Sony a77 II

How To Setup PC Remote Control for The Sony a77 II Camera

PC Remote Control Camera with your iPhone, iPad or MacBook – This updated feature allows you to take control of your Sony Camera with an iPhone, iPad or MacBook using the ImagingEdge App (replaces the old Play Memories App). You will need to download the new Sony ImagingEdge App from the App Store to your iPhone, iPad or MacBook.

This is similar to Camera Tethering, but uses the Sony Camera’s built-in WiFi Hub for Connection and Control. No Cables are Needed.

MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Airplane Mode –> Off
MENU –> WiFi 1 –> Ctrl w/ Smartphone –> This will present you with the Sony Camera’s WiFi Hotspot Password to Connect to.

On Your iPhone, iPad or MacBook, Select WiFi, and Select the Sony Camera’s WiFi Hotspot. Enter the password obtained from the Sony Camera. This will connect the iPhone or iPad to the Sony Camera’s WiFi Hotspot.

Open the Sony ImagingEdge App on your iPhone, iPad or MacBook. It should automatically connect to the Sony Camera. You should see the View Finder Image and be able to press the Shutter Release Button to take photos.

Photography TipsPC Remote Control is very handy for all Studio Photography, such as Food Photography and for Remote Control of the Sony Camera for Hummingbird Photography.

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