Tips, Tricks and Observations

Before you go out:

 

  1. Plan your shoot – Know where you are going and what time of day you need to be there. Check online for sunrise and sunset time or Moon rise and Moon sets for the location. timeanddate.com  or Photograher’s Emphemeris at www.photoemphemeriess.com . Check the times for any transport you are photographing or need to use to get to location. Check the weather. There are many apps you can put on your phone or android and they are free. Write down a list of things you what to take a picture of when on the location. Go on goggle and find other photographers images of the same location and see if you can think of a different and better image.
  2. Camera Cards- Always format cards in camera not on your computer this can corrupt the card when done on computer. Always buy the best and fastest cards available. Check that you have a camera card in camera and spares in your camera bag. Have a place in your camera bag to place used cards or a gadget to hold them. If you worry about losing images from less reliable cards buy small cards such as 8 or 16Gbt instead of the larger 64Gb and above.
  3. Batteries – always buy the manufacturers camera batteries, other brands may not hold the charge and will empty a lot faster than the manufacturers. Check that your batteries have full charge in them and that you have a battery in camera and spares in your camera bag. Keep batteries in the dry, warm and waterproof place.
  4. Put your camera on auto and/or its equivalent, just in case that when you get on location the image you want is right in front of you and you need to take an image at that precise moment.
  5. Check that you have the right lens for the images you want to take and always take a mid range lens as back up for example 24-105 and/or the equivalent.
  6. Polarisers – always buy the best glass available, cheap Polarisers may degrade your image. Keep to the same brand of filters sometimes matching different types results in colour casts.
  7. Take some tissues with you.
  8. Take some silver foil, it acts as a good reflector for close/macro shoots for that little bit of extra light.
  9. Make sure you clean your lens before you put them in your camera bag and take a cleaning cloth with you.
  10. Have a compass, large bag for lying on or for covering your camera in wet weather or a towel, a pen and note pad to record where you went and what was there and anything of interest.
  11. Take your business card with you.
  12. Have a back up plan just in case the location is not what you thought it might be.

On Location:

 

  1. Have a walk around the location before you take out your camera; see what is there and what the conditions are. Make a note of what you see and where, so that you can come back to the spot again.
  2. If you have come with a partner, spilt up you don’t need to take the same images.
  3. When taking your camera out of the bag make sure you put the camera strap around your neck as well as the camera bag. A good camera strap to have that doesn’t slip off your shoulder is by UPstrap pro upstrap-pro.com .
  4. Check your settings on the camera. If you have it on auto and like using auto take the shot or set your camera to a shutter speed of 1/200, a F stop to suit the location and auto ISO and the camera will change the ISO to suit, otherwise start to assess the image you want and change the settings to suit the image required.
  5. Make sure you have a Polariser on your lens,
  6. When the camera is up to your eye, look around the frame is everything you want in the image there and check your exposure meter, is it in the right place for the image you want to take
  7. Don’t crop too much in camera; come out a little you can always crop again in software but it is very difficult to put something in.
  8. Don’t be afraid to up your ISO it is better to get a shot than not get the shot.
  9. If in doubt press the shutter and TAKE the SHOT.
  10. Focusing – remember to use the Hyper focal distance rule to determine what you want to be in focus. Photopills has an app for android and phone photopills.com and they also explain what it is and how to calculate the distance.
  11. Turn your camera off when changing the lens, camera card or battery just to be on the safe side.
  12. When you camera card is full or your camera battery is empty, put it back in your camera bag or a gadget away from the camera cards or batteries that have not been used. Mark the card/battery as used with a piece of paper or elastic band or other means of identification.
  13. Be careful of condensation for example in and out of hot or cold environments as your lens will mist over and you will not get the correct image. Also the sensor can get damaged by continuously being in and out of hot and cold situations i.e. air conditioning in the car on a hot day.
  14. When taking a picture of a group of people set out the chairs/location and get someone to sit in the middle or stand so that you can get your settings in camera correct and take a sample shot, then get the group to pose and take the shot.
  15. If in a cold climate, keep your camera and flash batteries in a warm place, for example in a shirt/blouse pocket close to you, so that your body heat keeps them warm.
  16. If photographing a wedding and you have just taken images inside the church and then moving outside, turn your camera settings to AUTO when you are outside take a few images and then change the settings to suit to the lighting conditions. At least you will have an image and not a white wall of nothing.
  17. If it is a sunny day and photographing people make sure that the sun is behind them and use a flash in front of them to balance out the exposure difference.
  18. If your shoot has a number of different themes for example like a wedding or a fashion shoot, change your camera card after each theme, that way if one of your cards fail you have only/or may only lose one part of the shoot rather than all of it.

After the shoot

 

  1. Turn off your camera and put your settings to auto.
  2. Make sure you have all of your equipment have you left anything behind.
  3. Refer back to your notes, did you go to all the location areas you wanted and did you get the images you wanted.
  4. Put your camera equipment in the boot out of sight.

Back home

 

  1. Download your images onto your computer into a new folder and on an external hard drive, make sure that you have at least 2 copies of the raw data. Keep the camera card in a safe place DO NOT format at this time.
  2. There are numerous places where you can store your images that are Network Assist Storage (NAS) for example Icloud or Amazon Prime. With Icloud there is a search facility that you can use to quickly locate your image(s) by name or keyword. Be careful read the terms and conditions, make sure no-one has access to your images without you knowing.
  3. If your card fails to download there is software available online that will recover your data at a cost, or you can buy a gadget that will do the same thing.
  4. If you are using large capacity camera cards then the download make take some time depending on your computer capabilities, smaller capacity cards will be quicker.
  5. If using LightRoom (LR) use the keyword facility when importing, this will make things easier to find your images at a later date.
  6. In LR Develop module use the AUTO button in the basic setting panel to give you an idea of what the image could look like then you can change it to suit your tastes click again and LR will make another suggestion.
  7. Write down your favourite processing steps, so that you can refer back to them for the next time.
  8. Format your card in camera when you are happy that your images raw and processed are safe and in at least 2 locations.
  9. Clean your lens, camera and filters and set your camera to Auto
  10. Clean your camera bag, service your tripod occasionally.
  11. Replace any used items such as large bag and towel etc.,

 

Observations

 

  1. Don’t offer to take someone else’s images in for processing, you don’t know what is on them and you could get a surprise.
  2. You could put your name and address on a piece of paper and take a picture of it on your camera card(s) then if your card was to get lost, whoever found it would know who it belong too.
  3. Don’t be in too much of a rush to take the picture when you first get to a location.
  4. Always have a back up camera if possible, even if it is only a point and shoot.
  5. Always take a portable flash with you, even for landscapes you as you might want to take some macro shots or close ups.
  6. Always take some Full & Graduated Neutral Density Filters when doing landscapes to allow for longer exposure time shots or to even out any exposure issues.
  7. Give yourself plenty of time when travelling
  8. Always have a back-up plan should the location turn out not to be what you expected.