When I go on a photoshoot I like to have my mind focused on the creativity and the best way for me to not get distracted is to prepare my camera bag a day ahead following my ultimate checklist !
I usually carry a very small backpack with everything for my photoshoot inside, here is the model I carry. It's not a photography bag but I adapt it and found it perfect.
To make it easy for you I created this checklist you can download and keep on your phone or print and keep in your camera bag.
It sounds stupid but it happened to me in the past to simply forget it at home by simply trusting it was in the bag when it was not. Obviously without it I’m not going to go very far so I simply always check it’s there first.
There is nothing worst than arriving on the spot, turning on the camera to realise it’s flat. I always check my battery is charged one day before and I always make sure to charge all the other spare batteries I have.
💡 When I shoot in places where the weather is cold or extra hot my batteries run low faster than usual. I always make sure I am prepared.
💡 If I leave for a few days I also take the charger with me and an adaptor if I go to a foreign country.
There are a few things to think about when you plan to use your drone
- Same as the camera I first check that it is fully charged, that all the spare batteries are full because some flights require more battery than others (if it gets windy or cold for example)
- ⚠️ I also like to make sure the software on my phone to pilot it is updated while I am home. I always check this before I arrive on the spot where I will no longer have access to wifi. It’s quite simple No update - No flight the drone will not take off.
- I like to stock on propellors as well because they are quite fragile and can easily break during my flight I always carry spare ones with me.
- ⚠️ And most importantly I make sure I have all the permits or my license that could be required to fly my drone. To check the rules and legislation I use 2 different platform :
- UAV Coach if I go to a foreign country it will tell me what is needed to fly my drone there.
- I use the app Drone-Spot before my flight. I open the app when I am about to fly the drone to see if I am in an area that is allowed or if there are restrictions where I am located.
4. Memory Cards
One of the biggest part of the preparation is to make sure that what’s currently on my memory card is backed up on my computer or hard drive.
I double check that and then I format the card from my camera to start clean with lots of storage.
If I have any doubt I just change the memory card for another and format it.
💡 I also make sure to carry extra memory cards with me in case I run out of space or if it stops to respond for any reason.
5. Is the sensor Clean ?
How annoying is it to do a photoshoot and realise you have sensor spots on every photo. It’s extra work to clean up in post editing and can sometimes ruin the details of a photo.
I clean up the sensor using a blowing pear, my trick is to make the sensor face the floor blow air with the pear and let gravity do it’s job, it also prevents more dust to fall on it while I clean is as it’s uncovered. Then I turn on the camera and I look for spots on the sensor and repeat until it’s clean. I always do this step as quickly as possible the less the sensor is exposed the better. Once a year or so I also bring it to a professional to be deep cleaned especially if I took photos in a dusty/sandy area.
I refer myself to my shot-list and mood-board of the shoot and analyse what lenses I am going to be using. I make sure I only carry the ones I am going to use. I don’t like to carry extra weight for nothing. I do a strict selection on my lenses and I check that they are clean. I remove any finger prints/ dust / fibres that are on it and pack them.
7. Cleaning tools
I always carry with me microfibre cloths for glass surfaces and the blowing pear in my camera bag. When you change lenses dust / fibres can come in the sensor and I want to have equipment to fix it in case it happens.
8. Polarising filters
I also analyse if a the time I will do my photoshoot ND filters / Polarising filters will be needed. If I think I will need to be in control of the amount of light coming in my sensor then I make sure to pack them and to only take the ones that I will use for the lenses I packed. Again I don’t want to carry extra weight for nothing. I feel I won’t need it I simply won’t take them.
And finally will I need a tripod ? Basically will I take auto-portraits, take long exposure photos, landscape photos ? If yes then I make sure to take it. If I will have a car nearby I usually take it in case, that’s probably the only thing I take « in case of » because a tripod can make a massive difference on my photos. If I am exploring by foot and will keep all of it on my back I only take the tripod if I am certain I will need it.
These are the steps I follow to be fully set up to make content. I figured going over the list is my ultimate trouble shoot to avoid any frustration.