Always have a fully charged battery
This is the most obvious of them all, however, sometimes it happens that you assume your camera battery is fully charged while it’s really not. Perhaps you only use your camera over the weekends so it’s normal to assume the battery can still last a whole shoot, but this is not always the case. Therefore always check the night or day before your shoot to make sure your battery is fully changed.
Tip: Invest in a battery grip, that way you have more than one fully charged battery and you do not have to worry about running of out battery half-way through your shoot. You can get a generic battery grip for a really affordable price if the branded ones are out of your budget.
Always have your tripod for portraits
Not many people like the admin of carrying a heavy tripod every time they have a studio or portraiture shoot. However, shooting without a tripod requires extensive practice so the images always come out straight. If you don’t get enough practice to ensure straight images without a tripod and if your intention is not an abstract portrait, then do not forget to pack your tripod.
Tip: If you do not have a tripod as yet, a trick you could implement is using your soundings to level your camera on and use that as a ‘tripod’ of sorts. For example; you could use a barstool, chair, table, wall or the floor – you get the idea. If not, see the image below.
Always carry extra memory cards (SD/CF)
There is nothing more annoying than having to go back through your images to look for ‘bad shots’ to delete to make space for more shots. The easiest way to avoid this annoyance is to carry extra memory cards because as you look for images to delete to make space for new ones, you are missing the moments you could be capturing in that time.
Tip: If you shoot in RAW then buy between 16GB to 32GB. If you shoot Jpeg then 2GB to 8GB. It is more advisable to buy smaller memory sizes if you shoot frequently because the constant plunging-in and out from camera to computer makes the cards more prone to corruption. However, if you shoot once in a while then larger sizes are not an issue for you. Also, if you realise you are about to run out of space while shooting in RAW, switch to Jpeg, that way you can squeeze in a bit more images. If you are shooting in Jpeg and you are about to run out of space, take it as a hard lesson to carry an extra memory card next time.
Use the appropriate lens
Not many people enjoy switching lenses during a shoot unless they really must, depending on the type of shoot. If you have the choice, that one lens should more than just adequate, unless you also want to experiment with different lenses. For every shoot there is an appropriate lens; if you are shooting standard portraits the best way to go is a telephoto lens or a prime lens [50mm]. With these lenses, no lens distortion will occur but if you are aiming for abstract images then any lens you use will do. If you are shooting events, the prime or telephoto lenses are also a win. If you are shooting landscape, telephoto, wide angle or zoom lenses are a definite yes.
Tip: Always get a detailed brief on what the shoot entails so you can carry the most appropriate lens and overall gear. If the brief seems lacking or your client is not really sure what kind of images they want exactly, just carry all your lenses [and gear] to be safe. One lens may do the most but they wouldn’t be so many other lenses if one lens could do it all. Though limited equipment pushes you to be more creative with what you have, sometimes to get the best shot you may need to hire the right equipment.
Dress comfortably, dress appropriately
With the fashion crazed world we live in, we always want to look as good as we possibility can. However, fashion forwardness does not always equate to comfortability. You do not want to be in an awkward position where you cannot bend down or whatever else because your jeans are too tight, your skirt is too short or your clothing brand shouldn’t touch the floor – no. Sometimes to get the shot you must get into all sorts of weird angles and positions so you ought to be prepared for that. Fashion has to come secondary to getting the shot during a shoot. Lay on that floor if you must then worry about your clothes later.
Tip: If you are a beginner at doing a paid shoot dress in all black and all cotton. Black conceals the most stains should they happen and cotton is comfortable especially when it’s stretchy, so you can literally twist and turn all you need to without much constraint.
By Cleopatra Shava