Monday, August 16, 2010

Ready, set, go! Oh wait! I forgot my camera!

Before any shoot, I run through a mental checklist to make sure I have everything and that everything is setup correctly. This list can be used by anyone who enjoys photography and is using a camera with multiple settings.

A friend of mine did an entire shoot with his ISO at over 1000 – this resulted in an incredible amount of noise which pretty much destroyed his entire set. After this happened, I decided to make a quick list of things to check for to make sure I am always prepared for a shoot.

These are the things you will be checking:

  • Run the sensor cleaner a couple of times even though the camera cleans the sensor automatically every time the camera is turned on and off.
  • Clean all the lenses and filters.
  • Pack up cleaning supplies to make sure you have something to clean the lenses with if needed.
  • Go through all the memory cards, make sure they are empty, and use the camera to format them.
  • Make sure the camera battery and the extra battery are fully charged.
  • Pack up plenty of rechargeable batteries and a charger for the flash.
  • Check the image quality settings – I usually shoot in FINE JPG for personal shoots and I add RAW for paid shoots. Both these take up a lot of room on the memory cards, so I always bring plenty of cards.
  • Check the ISO settings. I usually shoot at around 200 unless I’m in low light conditions that warrant a higher ISO.
  • Check the shooting mode. It has happened that I started shooting only to be momentarily confused as to why my LCD was showing me a black or a brilliant white screen instead of a photo. Then I checked the shooting mode and realized it was on Aperture Priority for a night shoot instead of fully manual for a day shoot. Aim to always shoot manual – this will assure you will always check your aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc.
  • Check the white balance. The auto feature is fine, but in some cases, you will need to set the white balance to get a desired effect. It’s easy to forget to reset it.
  • I always make sure the focus is on Auto unless I’m working on a specific project or am doing a low light or macro shoot.
  • One thing I often forget and am trying to remedy is bringing a tripod. I finally found a collapsible tripod that somewhat fits in my bag, so hopefully I’ll start having it with me more often.

This has now become routine so I no longer need to keep this list with me, but you might want to either have it saved on your phone/laptop or keep a printed copy in your bag.

Happy shooting!

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