Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting Ready For A Shoot

So what do you do when you are getting ready for a shoot? That's a good question, and I'm going to answer that briefly from my own list of things to do before an important shoot.

1. Make sure my gear is ready:
The first thing I do before any shoot is make sure my gear is ready. There are several steps to having your gear ready to go, first step I take is to make sure to charge any batteries I need. That means camera batteries, flash batteries and my phone as well. If you use wireless flash triggers make sure the batteries for those are charged up as well.

The next step is to check the settings in my camera. I don't want to show up at a shoot with the camera set to ISO12800, the way it could have been for the hobby shoot I was doing the night before. I generally set my camera to the base ISO sensitivity and move up from there as needed. Depending on the type of event I'm shooting I decide whether or not I'm going to use auto ISO sensitivity control or not. There are several reasons to use auto ISO, although I prefer not to use it more than necessary. First reason to use auto ISO, when shooting in quickly changing lighting conditions. If I'm shooting an indoor event using natural light, which I tend to do, I don't always have time to switch ISO settings to get the shutter speeds I want. Example, I was the backup shooter at a family members wedding, and I couldn't ask the wedding party to stop the precession so I could change ISO settings! In that situation using auto ISO allowed me to focus on getting the shots I wanted, vs thinking about what my camera was doing! If I'm not shooting any action then I'll leave ISO settings to manual selection.

Another thing I do before heading out to a shoot is to make sure I have at least two or three blank memory cards. It would be embarrassing if I showed up to an event and didn't have enough memory cards ready to go to get the job done. Finally, I think about the lenses I need to use, and pack them into my camera bag. For the wedding shoot I mentioned earlier, I looked at my lenses and realized I'd only need two or three of them. My thoughts were right, and I shot the entire wedding with the AF 20-35mm F2.8D, AF-S 60mm F2.8G and AF-S 70-200mm F2.8G.

2. Think about the kinds of shoots I want/need to get
Having an idea of what kind of shoots you want to take is important, without any forethought you'll ended just taking snap shots most of the time. Planning your shots is not easy, depending on what you are shooting. Some types of shooting, such as wildlife shooting is a hit and miss business where you work off the seat of your pants. Event shooting, such as a wedding tend to have a series of activities that take place. If you understand the flow of an event you can start to think about what kind of shots you want to get, and then shoot from that list, while also grabbing other ones as well.

I have you find this list helpful!