Prepare: The night before a shoot, pull out your camera, charge your batteries (or buy spares).
- If you're using standard batteries consider getting some rechargeables instead. They may be as much as three times more expensive than disposable batteries, but after you have used them three times they're free! The other cool thing is that you are not putting more junk in the landfill. Rechargeable batteries these days are great for photography and other uses. Battery technology has changed allowing them to be recharged hundreds of times.
In any case, make sure you have spares. Ending a shoot early because you ran out of battery power stinks!
|Rechargeable batteries help the environment and are really cost effective. By the way, that battery case in the background is a Q-Tips box from the Dollar Store. Holds 6 batteries perfectly!|
Clean your lenses with a micro fiber lens cloth. If you wear eyeglasses or sunglasses you probably already have one around. If not, you can get one inexpensively at any department store or eye wear place. Tuck it into your camera bag so that it is always available. Smudges happen! DO NOT use paper towels or other things that may scratch your lens or leave lint. Leave the house tomorrow with clean lenses.
|Here's a cool lens cloth from Alpine Innovations. It clips to your camera bag and stores in the connected pouch|
|Checking your camera and re-setting the dials before you go out is a good habit. After it's all set, stop and take a picture...of anything. That way you know your card is in place and your camera is up and running. Check the image to make sure it looks like you want it to before you venture out.|
Check your memory and be sure to have fresh cards if shooting digitally. Decide what size images you are going to shoot (this will help you know how much memory to carry). I have had students get to the shoot location, take several important photographs, and later find that they were shooting small JPEGS... not usable for enlargements. Check your size now. If there are images left on your card, go ahead and download them to storage. If you are a film shooter buy some ASA appropriate and adequate amount of film.
|Start with fresh memory cards. Download images from your last shoot if you need to.|
|If you are shooting film don't forget to buy extra rolls the day before you plan to shoot|
Make a rain plan. If the weather turns unfriendly for a little while is there a place that you can go? Stepping undercover into a parking garage or under the pavilions at many parks are great temporary shelters from small showers. You can even continue to shoot and get some nice rain shots. See my blog on shooting in the rain. Obviously, be mindful of dangerous situations and seek safe shelter if the weather gets crazy!
Accessories: Bring your camera, tripod or mono pod, flash, cords, and filters (polarizer or NDF if shooting during the day). If you are more advanced don't forget your light stands, modifiers, and triggers. If you are still sort of unfamiliar with your camera, bring your manual. Decide what you're going to carry and what you're going to leave in the car. Water and Gatorade are heavy. If you are not walking too far from your car to shoot, leave it in a small cooler in the trunk. Any equipment you are not carrying needs to go in your trunk out of sight on the day of the shoot.
If you are shooting in a large location like a state park, the state fair, or any place that you might get lost, go ahead and download a map of the area. It will help you with parking as well as where to meet if you are going with other people. Put it in your camera bag so that you have it on the day of the shoot and make a copy for others if you can.
Legal: Check for permits or permissions needed from authorities or property owners. Most of the time you do not need something like this, but just be sure! If you are working with a model, take at least 2 copies of your model release: one for you, and one to give the model after you have both signed. Do the same thing with property releases.
People: If you are meeting others at the shoot location, establish a meeting place. Also remember some of the participants may not be as experienced as you are and instructing them about what to bring (water, rain gear, etc.) can be helpful. Instead you can direct them to this blog! Exchange each others phone numbers and address of the shoot location as needed.
If you are going on a shoot or a safari with me, here are some other things to consider.
For Group photo shoots; Be mindful of others in the class. If working in the studio, take your time and get your shots, but remember others are waiting. Try to remember to tell the next shooter the settings for the exposure you are using. It is common courtesy in a studio not to shoot over someone elses shoulder. If shooting outside try to stay out of others light and lenses. Watch out for crossfire. If you need to step in front of someone to get your shot just excuse yourself say LOUDLY “Stepping In”. Wait for their nod and do so. Take a couple of shots and then "step out" again. If someone gets in your way, politely tell them that you're waiting to take a shot and then be patient.
Here's the list:
- Tripod or Monopod
- Memory Cards or Film
- Spare Batteries
- Light Stands
- Flash Triggers
- Lens Cloth
- Model/Property Releases
- Camera Manual
- Cell Phone/Phone Numbers of Others
- MP3 player
- Bug Repellent
- Sweat Towel
For information on other Tampa photography classes, digital photography classes, and Tampa photography workshops feel free to call me or look under the Tampa Photography Classes section. I also give private individual lessons on camera operation and making better photographs and would love to work with you one on one to make you a better photographer. Photography instruction gift certificates are also available. They make great gifts for the photo enthusiast in your life. Let's talk about what you need! 813-786-7780. See you in class!
Chip Weiner is an award winning photojournalist and food photographer in Tampa. He has been a photography instructor for 10 years.
Copyright Chip Weiner Photographic Arts (2007-2015). All Rights Reserved