Keeping Up

I remember when I was a little boy. My dad and I would go on long walks behind our house in the fields and woods. It was difficult for me to keep up with dad. His legs were longer and he was stronger. My little legs worked okay but just couldn’t keep up. My lagging behind might also have been attributed to any number of distractions that sidetracked me, too!

Keeping up with one photo shoot after another is not always easy. Good intentions are not enough. Part of the problem is time. You get back from a photo shoot and are tired and hungry. You need a break, so you put your equipment in its place, kick up your feet, and relax. Or you get a bite to eat, start talking with your family, and completely forget about the flash cards that need uploaded.

Two days ago I had to upload several flash cards that were well overdue for attention. It turned out that I did upload about half the batch, but it was a pain to take the time to go through them to double-check and upload the previously forgotten cards.

Getting into a routine is the best approach. It is similar to how we actually approach a photo shoot. Before we leave the house we go through a checklist to make sure we have everything. Then, on a photo shoot, we again step through a well-planned routine to help us capture the right moments. So why do we get so lax at the back-end of a shoot?

Prudence is the key for a successful photographer. Don’t be lazy. Do it now or you going to have to do it later, and it will be more difficult and take more time.

Keeping up isn’t always easy, but it is important! Just ask my dad!

Success is in the Planning

When you go on a photo shoot do you just grab your gear and go or do you make extensive plans ahead of time?

I actually enjoying the planning stage. Researching subjects and locations is lots of fun to me. I read magazine articles, books, search the internet, look at other photographer’s galleries, and watch television programs that are pertinent. I also se a spreadsheet to help make sure I don’t forget anything important. I use the spreadsheet to track my checklists and compile my research notes. It works for me!

I am currently preparing to get ready for the baseball season. The local high school has asked me to shoot some of their games and assemble a presentation for their end-of-the-year banquet. So I just sat down with the baseball schedule and marked the games I am free to attend and photograph. Then I entered these games into my PDA calendar. This is just one step in the planning. Previously, I emailed the contact person in the Booster Club and created a “plan of attack” for the season. I also will have more planning to do, and this is important. Closer to the game days, I will follow more detailed checklists for charging batteries, reformatting flash cards, and taking all the gear I need to each game.

Some people look at all this planning as a big chore and a big bore! I do not. I actually enjoy the planning stages because in my mind’s eye I can envision myself at the photo shoot and I know I will have a much better chance of getting the shots I am after thanks to all this planning.

After all, success is found in the planning!

Mental Checklists

When you are on an important photo shoot getting the shot is important. There is little room for mistakes, which is why shooting in RAW is so helpful. We all know that. But there is nothing better than getting the shot from the camera to begin with.

That’s why a mental checklist can help us capture the shot we are after. Your mental checklist might include things like White Balance, ISO setting, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. This morning I was shooting in very difficult stage lighting. I couldn’t figure out at first why I kept getting blurry shots. Then I realized that I had not set my aperture properly. Obviously, I did not cover my mental checklist.

What is onĀ  your mental checklist? Do you have a standard operating procedure to use this checklist? Plan ahead, create a mental checklist and use it!