Photographer’s Handy Checklist: Camera Prep

Pre-photoshoot: prepare, prepare, prepare!

For a smooth photoshoot and a happy client, we have put together a handy print-off checklist to use before you head off to a shoot. Whether you’re a season professional or a greenhorn beginner, a checklist is an indispensable tool when preparing for any job. By keeping this list to hand, you can be sure that you will be ready for anything. While some of these checks may seem obvious, it’s much better to be safe than sorry; you will never regret being over prepared! When working as a photographer, time is literally money. So, get organised and you’ll be raring to go and ready to start snapping!

Before the shootFormat your memory card

Before setting off to a shoot, be 100% sure that you have formatted your memory card properly. By formatting, we mean removing all the previous data from the card. Even when you manually delete images, residual information can remain, which will take up data. You may have a huge card and think you’ll be fine, but it is good practice to do this. By formatting your card immediately after every photoshoot, you are protecting yourself from losing any data. This also guarantees that you’re starting with a fresh card and lots of space to work with every time you start shooting. Seeing the “memory card full” icon in the midst of a shoot is the last thing you want to be thinking about and may mean you miss important moments because you are busy trying to manually free up your memory card. Ideally, you should also take spare formatted memory cards so that you can capture everything and more!

camera lens closeup

 Get charged up

Yes, it does seem very obvious, but it is so important; be sure that, before packing your equipment, you have fully charged your batteries… and remember to pack the charger too! If you’re using non-rechargeable batteries, make sure that you take more than enough spares to keep you going. There’s no harm in having spare spares too. The first thing you want to see at any photoshoot is your camera switching on!

camera on a tripod

Make sure your camera is good to go!

Before arriving at a photoshoot location, take time to look at your camera’s setup. Check that you have the correct shutter speed and that your camera is shooting in the mode you want. Although this may seem straightforward, it is easy for any photographer, especially at a live event, to get caught up in the action and forget this. There’s nothing worse than hitting the shutter at the perfect moment only to discover that your camera is in self-timer mode. By doing this small bit of prep, you are ensuring that you won’t miss any crucial shots.

a close up of a camera

Take your tripod and shutter remote

Whether you’re shooting a wedding or wildlife, you will be able to capture a variety of images by alternating between handheld and tripod shots. It is always a good idea to take a tripod and shutter remote with you. After all, it is better to have them and not need them, than the other way around. Tripods are especially useful if you need to use a low shutter speed. This equipment will minimise the risk of losing your images to blurs and aberrations. woman cleaning camera

Clean your lens

Ensuring that your lens is spotless before arriving at a shooting location can save time, and you can start prepping your shot instead. Use proper cleaning equipment and make sure the lens is smudge, water, dust and dirt free. Anything on the lens could spoil an otherwise fantastic photograph. Give your camera lens regular TLC to ensure it has a long and happy life. It is a good idea to use lens cleaning fluid, a soft microfiber cloth, a retractable brush and air blower, and always keep them with your equipment.

Before setting off on your next photography adventure, take two minutes to stop and ask yourself these five questions.

1. Have you transferred your recent work from the camera and formatted your memory card?
2. Have you charged and checked that your batteries are working?
3. Is your camera ready to start taking pictures?
4. Do you have all the equipment you need?
5. Have you cleaned your lens?

If you are interested in photography you might also enjoy our Tips on Interior Photography and our blog Amazing Dog Photographers Share their Secrets.

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