Many people have asked me which settings I use for white balance, color space, video mode, custom functions and more. Here is a list of the settings that I ‘customize’ on my Canon 5D Mark II–they are simply settings that I find helpful and are in no way the absolute best way. I hope you find them useful!


For outdoor shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II, I commonly set my white balance to 5800K, even when using strobes and reflectors. I can always change the white balance later when processing the raw files.

When shooting outdoors in variable light, I commonly bracket my images 2/3 stop on either side. This increases my success rate of ‘keepers.’

Select Adobe RGB over sRGB if you’ll be shooting RAW, it’s a larger color space.

I set my “Picture Style” settings to Standard, then customize them using the Info button to add one notch of extra sharpness and saturation. These settings are optimized for shooting video, but also seem to work well for stills.

On my histogram/display screen, I like to have the highlight alert enabled, so the highlights flash white in the review screen. This doesn’t mean I always decrease the exposure, just that I can see what’s happening.

I set my Histogram readout to see the Red, Green and Blue channels. This is helpful to see if, say, a model’s face is overexposed, as it will usually be in the Red channel.

I use the Format command to clear my flashcards; just be sure to move your cursor somewhere else after formatting so you don’t accidentally format mid-shoot.

I customize my Live View/Movie Function settings to en- able Live View, and add a detailed grid to the screen, which helps with leveling the horizon.

Like what you’re seeing? Download the full PDF version of my custom functions for the Canon 5D Mark II here.