I have been shooting photographs for a while now and consider they are 3 very important things to keep in mind when taking any kind of photos, anytime. Even though the automatic settings do a wonderful work (depending on your camera), never underestimate making the correct adjustment for your pictures to show the best vivid colors, brightness and contrast.
The White Balance helps ensure that your pictures have a natural look. Most cameras nowadays include an Auto WB option where the camera attempts to automatically set the correct option depending on the time of day/type of light you are shooting with. After shooting for a while I noticed there is a noticeable difference between shooting with AUTO WB and selecting the correct WB option depending on the light that is available. Choosing the correct light source for while shooting increases the natural look and vivid colors of your final photograph. So the next time you shoot make sure you have selected the right light source for the type of shots you are taking (Daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, Clouds, Evening, etc). You will notice the difference the next time.
ISO stands for International Standarisation Organization and its the rating for the speed of the film, or in digital photography, how sensitive is your sensor. These numbers all follow a specific Standard which allows you to know and be sure that if you are shooting at ISO 200 you will get the exact same results no matter what camera you are using. Although Auto ISO selects the best option available depending on your surroundings it prevents you from challenging yourself and getting an optimum result depending on your personal preferences. At the same time sometimes allowing and Auto ISO can create photographs with a lot of noise and not the same dark contrasts you want at a specific time. Allow yourself some time to master your ISO decisions, but then later, reap the immense benefits this will provide.
The exposure is basically determined by the Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. And it allows you to have the correct amount of light entering your camera sensor to reproduce and image that is well balanced. Sometimes depending on the effect you want for your photograph slightly underexposing of overexposing does a wonderful job for your final results. You don’t need to always expose perfectly to get the results you want. Also taking the same shots with correct exposure, underexposed and overexposed allows you to create some nice HDR images.
So when taking your photos always remember what you want the final product to look like and adjust your settings correctly to address that result. Remember a great photo is the one that you like (or your client likes) and not always what is the best according to your camera settings.