things photographers must do

5 things photographers must do before every photo trip

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So, you’re getting ready to head out, maybe to the coast, or hiking, or a state park, etc.  And you’re taking you camera in hopes of getting some great photos.  Or maybe you are going to an event and want to take some photos there.  Whatever the reason you and your camera are about to embark, here are 5 things photographers must do before every photo trip.


Charge your camera battery and your spare. You do have a spare right?  My spare battery has saved my bacon more than once.  You don’t want to feel that sinking feeling of turning the camera on and seeing the empty battery icon flashing at you.  It always seems to happen right when you are standing there in front of something awesome!


Another one of the things photographers must do before leaving, check your camera bag for everything you normally take with you. Or for special accessories need to take with you.  Extra lens and lens hood, check.  Filters, check.  Cleaning stuff, check.  Whatever is on your must have list, and that you need to have with you for this trip.  Personally, I have a bad habit of taking stuff out and not putting back.  Just make sure it’s all there and ready to go.


Clear your memory card. Make sure you’ve downloaded all the images you want to keep and then erase the memory card to make sure there is plenty of space.  I occasionally fall victim to having images from the previous session on my card.  I usually discover this AFTER I have taken some images.  Now I have to go in and hand erase each file to make sure I don’t blow away anything new.   Don’t let this happen to you.  It’s super annoying.


Check your camera settings. Did you have auto focus turned off on your primary lens from the previous session?  Is there anything else that out of normal?  I always turn on my camera before I leave and make sure it is set up the way I want to start out.  Whatever your normal is, make sure that’s how the camera is set up.  This is certainly one of the things photographers must do before every photo trip.  It will save you some day when you jump out of the car excited to grab a fleeting moment and discover everything is out of whack.


Make sure everything is in the car. You made sure all your camera gear is ready for action.  Now don’t forget to put all of it in the car.  Camera bag, tripod, lights, whatever.  Make sure it’s all in there before you drive away.  It seems a little silly to type this out, and I probably wouldn’t if I hadn’t been bitten by it before.  Maybe it’s just me, but somehow I don’t think so.

Bonus tip: 

Personal items.  So, here is another set of items that can actually make or break a photo adventure.  If its fall or winter, make sure you have warm clothes, socks, gloves, cap, etc.  Same thing for spring and summer; short pants, sunscreen (VERY IMPORTANT), a hat to shield you from the sun.   I’ve run into the cold weather thing, trying to snap pictures while you shiver to death, hands freezing.  And the only thing you can think about is getting in the car to warm up.

A pair of good walking shoes or hiking boots can certainly make things more comfortable.  Here is a link on hiking tips

Also remember plenty of water, some snacks, and probably a little first aid kit.  Also, if you are going out in the boonies to shoot landscapes, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.


I hope this list of things photographers must do before every photo trip helps you get your head around preparing for a photo trip and increases the likelihood of coming hope with some great photos!  Enjoy.

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If you have any questions, comments, praise or other information to share, feel free to put it in the comments section below.  I’d love to read what you are thinking, what issues you are having, what topics you want to see covered or corrections that are needed.  Your input is valuable in helping me to help you and others learn and improve this thing we call photography.

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