Before I grab my camera and set off to a photo shoot, I always attend to this list before I leave. Too many times, I’ve realized on location that I have left half the stuff I need back at home. Or worse, your camera isn’t in your bag.

  • Don’t ever forget chargers for anything you need, and do always take some spare batteries with you in your bag. You don’t know when your batteries runs dry, or for how long you are going to shoot, better be safe than sorry.
  • Make sure your memory cards are empty and formatted before your start a photo-shoot. Also check that you have copied your previous images to your computer. It’s extremely embarrassing to have your assistant run like a crazy person to buy some more cards because your other clients images still is on the ones you have. Equally important, don’t just bring ONE card. Bring many cards. They don’t weigh anything, and the same thing here, better be safe than sorry.
  • Take as many pictures as possible. It’s not like in the past, when you had to pay for film-development. The more pictures you have, the better the chance that you really captured the image you intended.
  • If you are out on-location on a shoot – always bring many business cards in your bag. Or a digital one on your iPhone or iPad. Market yourself to every person you meet! Maybe they will be the new customers who turn you into a millionaire. Moreover, don’t forget your ID-card at home. You never know when you might need it.
  • Bring an assistant along. Maybe it doesn’t feel that important, but you couldn’t be more wrong. An assistant could be of so much use to you! An assistant makes work easier and more fun. Remember that you only have two arms! You can’t do everything during a shoot your self. In addition you will look more professional in front of your client.
  • Clean your stuff thoroughly. You don’t want to do it on location. Then probably your stuff is going to get more dirty than there were before.
  • Before a photo-shoot on location empty your bag completely and repack it. Bring only the stuff you need. It’s also common that you have removed something from your bag, that you later on would need. So many times I just grabbed my bag believing that everything would be there. But it was not.
  • Reset your camera before a shoot. If you use your camera on a daily basis, you probably don’t remember what settings you’ve made. If you just take up your camera and start shooting, the risk is that your result is going to look kind of weird. The most important settings to check are ISO, exposure compensation and the JPG/RAW settings. Maybe you are going to ask yourself if someone is that stupid to forget that. Yes, they are. I completed a full portrait-session with ISO 1600 and did not realize my mistake until I sat in front of Lightroom. Not good.
  • Regarding my tip above, don’t trust your LCD-screen. It lies. Everything looks great on your camera. On a 2-inch screen everything looks like your best shot – ever. The truth is something else. Zoom in thoroughly to really check if everything is okey.
  • If shooting outdoors, always have rain poncho with you. Simple and inexpensive – does not matter. Use it for your own protection or for hiding your camera and your bag. You never know when it might start to rain. Camera-gear and water don’t go to well together.

As an end to this very long tip I will give you the most important tip of them all. It’s more like a rule than a tip. Maybe you think for yourself now ”Oh my good, can he shut up, this tip is too long, I’m fed up with this”. There in lies the rule. NEVER be fed up as a photographer. NEVER say that something is to hard or to much work. These are some expressions that don’t exists for a good photographer. If you don’t allow things to be hard, difficult, annoying, sticky, wet, too cold, too hot, and so on, you never going to get that perfect picture.

Good luck!

A Swedish photo genius
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