Originally, this was going to be a blog to be written later on, but when I started writing my current blog, I felt that I should share a few things first. Now, we all have heard the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared” and this is definitely the case when it comes to photography. I kind of liked the title, “Be Prepared! A San Diego Photographer’s Motto”. The trick is to carry everything you need or might need, without killing yourself. How do you do that, you may ask? Well, it kind of depends on what type of shoot you will be doing. If you are doing landscapes,nature, or sports chances are you will not be using a lot of flashes, lighting, or umbrellas. Whereas: if you are shooting people, you will have to decide whether or not you are shooting indoors or outdoors. Outdoors is great, providing you can take advantage of The “Golden Hour” or natural lighting. If this is not possible, you may wish to take a reflector or a flash and remote. If shooting a person or peoples, you will need lighting. If you are in a studio great, if not more than likely you will be hauling the lighting to your shoot location. Here is a list of tasks that I do, before each and every shoot:
1) Charge all batteries (Camera as well as AAA’s and AA’s). On the double and triple A’s, there are two types of chargers for photography, slow and fast. The slow one is the one that most of us have used and usually takes a few hours to charge. The new and improved changer comes with a standard wall plug AC/DC Adapter, as well as a car charger. The nice thing about the newer changer is that it charges completely in 30 minutes. For your actual camera battery, double check all your camera batteries, in the camera, as the charger may give a false reading, on rare occasions. I have had this happen to me once and thank god my backup battery was fully charged. Now, I have gotten in the habit of taking that extra second.
2) Offload images from memory cards and re-format memory cards in the actual camera. I have heard rumors that format in a computer may cause issues with the file structure, but like I say better safe than sorry.
3) Clean camera lenses (Use alcohol, lint free wipes, and air blower, aka. Rocket). Since the majority of your expenses in your camera equipment is in your lenses, I would suggest babying them. Your OEM lenses will run $2,000 and up for the good stuff.
4) Dusting the camera sensor. I recommend cleaning your camera’s sensor before and after every shoot. Ok, I am a little anal, but I like the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”. There is nothing like doing an entire shoot just to come back and note that there is this annoying black mark in the same position in all of your shots. Now of course you could get around this, by bumping up your aperture a few numbers, it’s up to you. I posted some pictures, while shooting in Hawaii and a fellow photographer sent me a comment to clean my camera’s sensor. I asked him how he knew and he pointed out the black spot. Now granted it did not make its appearance in every shot, just the ones where the camera’s aperture was very small. So, there you go and it only takes a second to do with one of those Air Rockets. (**Note: Your camera’s battery may require to be charged, before cleaning the sensor. **)
5) Testing 1 2 3. I double check everything before a shoot, just in case. The flashes, the remotes, as well as the camera. This gives you an opportunity to make sure that your flashes work and the remotes are set to the correct channel. I like to keep mine on A1, as it is fairly easy to remember, kinda like the steak sauce.
I hope I have not bored you too much. I had fun writing this one. I trust I have given you some valuable tips to think about, before planning your next shoot. It’s not all bad, just be clear and informative, it will save you a lot of headaches. Remember nothing is set in stone and there is not perfect formula, so go out and have some fun.