This is my biggest secret: I use a handheld light meter to see all the correct exposures I can use at once. Which is the correct one to use with over a hundred “correct” exposures to choose from? The creative one!
Set DSLR camera to manual. Sharpen, color space, tweak for color tone and saturation are done afterward in PS. Set WB. Set my creative exposure from the light meter into DSLR camera. Dynamic range is on my mind as I enter the creative exposure. Bracket if I have to (camera can do this for me).
1. ISO is usually set first. Because of Noise I try to avoid 800 ISO and over. This keeps the gain low. Lower the gain lowers the Noise.
2. Aperture is next. Apertures between the high and low f/stops are best, that is where the lens is sharpest (technically). DOF is good to know.
3. Speed is last. It’s that important! When I think of speed I think of motion, freezing and blurring. It’s all depended on the subject. Because of Noise I try to avoid any speed over 1 second.
When I do deal with Noise, I turn on the Noise Reduction in camera and let the camera do its thing.
Check Histogram to make sure exposure is correct for image.
Now I’m ready to shoot some RAW and capture some images.