25 Photography Best Practices
Some tips handed down to me by different photographers in random order....some I've met in person..some online...these are their best practices.
its not the only way of doing things...but most of these tips worked for me....posting them here in case they work for you .
1) Silica gel & Tupperware (or Tupperware type) boxes - always use them if you don't have a proper dehumidifier...keeps the moisture out...I don't leave a single camera or lens out ever (unless it's being used). Every single thing goes back into the box the minute i'm done using it. Do not store lenses and cameras in the bag - the bag is for carrying stuff not storing stuff.
2) Dehumidifier cabinets - better than silica gel and Tupperware boxes. Most serious shooters have them...please buy one especially if you live in a place that's near the sea. You get quite a few brands these days....Benro, Alite etc..I personally still prefer the ones made by Kalabhai in Mumbai though they are not fully automatic.
3) Never change lenses in the outdoors (unless you like the effect of dust on your sensor or its an emergency)....go back to your car or indoors and change them..
4) Use smaller cards - use a larger number of cards instead of 1 card of a larger size (what size depends on which camera you use and how large your RAW / Jpeg files are). Its easier to transfer data from a smaller card..you needn't wait forever when in the field...batteries can run out while transferring. In case the card fails you don't lose all your images.
5) Format your card every-time you transfer images to the PC /laptop - format it when you pop it into the camera (meaning you format the card using the option in the menu of your camera)
p.s format the card before you start shooting and not at the end of the shoot :D
6) Take a test shot after you've formatted the card and before you start your shoot - check the preview.
7) Use a card reader or push the memory card into your laptop to copy the images..don't use the USB cable as its slower...unless of course you don't have any other option available or you are shooting tethered (by connecting the camera to your laptop and storing images directly on the HDD)
8) Its important to shoot right the first time...however sometimes you have to shoot in a hurry.... shoot a bit wider than needed...this is really important if you need to correct the horizon later on..you don't end up losing your main image while making corrections
9) If you are not sure about exposure in a tricky situation - shoot RAW as you can do some compensation later. If you are still not confident then bracket the exposure - choose the best one later. I've found this very useful when shooting at sunrise and sunset and you need to make a quick decision on the settings. Old folks like me manually change the settings and take the same shot again...more tech savvy ones simply use the exposure bracketing function on their cameras :)
10) Practice the art of focusing manually - there will be times when even that high end equipment of yours will refuse to lock focus - instead of missing the shot while trying to figure out whats wrong - take the pic first using manual focus and then you can sit and check whats wrong with the auto focus. Manual focus isn't difficult - It just needs a little bit of getting used to...remember there was a time when manual focus was the only way to focus.
11) Risk overexposure as much as you can without blowing out the highlights - Blown out highlights cannot be fixed.
12) Remove that cheap UV filter from the front of your lens if you are doing some serious photography. Keep it on if you are near a place where sand or water may hit ur lens or if you are taking pics of a kid who may just grab the lens. Remember - putting cheap glass in front of good glass is usually a bad idea.
13) Buy a better camera strap - the one that came with the camera works well in telling everyone which camera brand you have. In terms of comfort especially if you tend to hang the camera around your neck, there are better straps available.
If you need a shoulder strap too there are lots of after market ones available. The ones from Black Rapid may be expensive compared to the Chinese made knock-offs - but you get what you pay for in most cases.
14) The lens comes with two caps - one for each end. When you remove them and put the lens on the camera, fix these two caps to each other and put them in the bag. The last thing you want to do is search for your lens caps when you need to change the lens.
15) Carry some water and some sandwiches / chocolates / biscuits with you when you are out on a photo shoot..you may have planned on coming back in an hour...but you usually end up spending more time clicking.
16) Don't shoot everything you see. Walk around....think about the composition..think about the light....think about the settings you should be using..take a test shot...plan the image and the post-processing before you start firing away...take a vertical as well as horizontal shot if you are not sure of what orientation to use
17) If you are shooting with friends - split after you reach the location....focus on the pics not the people in the group..there's always time for networking / dating / discussions / making friends once you are done with the shoot.
18) The only time you ever need to use that flash that pops up from the camera is when you are using it as flash-fill however we usually forget to use the pop-up flash when there's bright sunlight!! Macro shooters using that pop up flash - remember to diffuse the light.
19) Carry a few plastic bags in your camera bag.... just in case it starts raining. You never know how far away you've left your bag and car. You need something to cover your camera till you get to the car or the nearest safe dry place.
20) Don't take a photograph if it will create an adverse impact - environmentally, culturally or socially.
21) When you get back, reset the camera....change all the settings back to whatever your normal settings are. (I'm assuming you don't normally shoot in auto mode do you?).
22) Learn to do a check before you start out on a new trip .....check things that are easily forgotten. Battery - check, camera strap - check, filters - check, tripod / monopod mount / plate - check, shutter release cable / remote - check.
23) Before you start off on your photo shoot remember to check metering mode, auto-focus points, ISO, MF / AF / Macro buttons on the lens, Reset Exposure compensation, reset flash sync / speed / output, reset auto-bracketing, reset white balance and just about everything else that you may have tweaked
24) Remember to clean your camera and lenses when you get back from a photo trip. Blow away dust particles on the glass with a blower...if the lens needs a wet cleaning then do that too. Check if the sensor needs cleaning. Also clean the tripod / monopod legs - I always forget to do that. They need cleaning after you are back from a shoot because sand, mud, saltwater are not supposed to be there on those legs.
25) Carry some news papers in your bag...just in case you need to kneel down or sit down somewhere to get the angle right for a photograph