We all know that photography involve quite hectic periods. Even though it’s a time where many of us find peace, it’s also a place that may be equally stressful. There are multiple factors that needs to be considered, equipment that’s easy to forget and tons of unpredictable elements that may affect your photography session.
During the years I’ve been photographing I’ve developed a set of habits to make photography a little less stressful and more enjoyable when the light is great and time is tight. By having these habits I’ve been able to capture images when I thought all hope was gone (ok, I needed to add some drama!) and dodge a few bullets.
Here are 5 habits every photographer should develop:
Clean your Equipment
The importance of cleaning my photography equipment is something I learned the hard way. Most of us prefer to import images straight away when we come home and we easily forget to clean the lens or filters that was used.
It might not be fun and most likely there’s a million things you would rather do but it’s something that needs to be done. Especially after photographing in harsh conditions or by the ocean.
Something I always recommend my clients to bring is a microfibercloth and cleaning spray, or pre-moistened cleaning wipes, and an air-blower. It’s smart to have these tools with you when photographing in windy or challenging conditions. Yet, the more you clean at home, the more time you have to photograph when you’re out.
By making sure that your equipment is clean when you leave home you’ll have one factor less to worry about when you’re out photographing, plus it will save a lot of time in post production!
Charge your Batteries
This might be a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many times I’ve met people that have arrived at location with empty batteries. Perhaps you’ve done it yourself (don’t worry, I have too..)?
Forgetting to charge the batteries is something that happens to everyone, both beginners and professional. Last summer I did it myself on what was supposed to be a great weekend tenting in western Norway. After seven hours of driving I arrived the area location I planned to photograph the sunrise. One hour later my first battery died and I realized that all my spare batteries where empty too.
Since I was camping I did not bring a charger.
In deep frustration I ended up driving the seven hours back home, as I did not want to spend the weekend in some of Norway’s greatest nature without my camera (Yes, I should have stayed and enjoyed the nature – but my mind was not rational at the time). Luckily I managed to pull off one descent shot from that evening, which I did not realize before weeks later when I finally looked through few shots I managed to capture.
Charging your batteries after each session is the number one habit I recommend you. Making this habit will ensure that you always have charged batteries and won’t miss any golden opportunities. After all it’s quite difficult to photograph with a dSLR if you have no batteries.
View Weather Radars Daily
In photography light is everything. Well, not everything but one of the most important factors – if not the most important.
By paying attention to weather forecasts and radars, even when you’re not planning on photographing, you’ll learn to better understand the weather. While I’m definetley no meteorologist I’ve learned to slightly predict a sunrise or sunset by reading forecasts and radars and looking at the sky.
It’s always good to have a basic understanding on how the cloud cover will impact the color in the sky, or how heavy rain and openings in the cloud can lead to rainbows. Obviously it’s hard to predict the weather accurately but having a basic understanding will give you an idea of what the conditions will be like.
Don’t leave before it’s actually over
Unlike the points above, this is not something I learned the hard way. In fact, the day I learned this remains one of my most memorable evenings photography wise.
After a rather dull sunset at the coast of Northern Spain I began packing my equipment and preparing to walk back to the car and drive towards the hotel. I was standing on a narrow ridge overviewing one of my favorite beaches in all of Asturias and honestly I was a bit disappointed that I would be going back to Norway without a descent image of this spot.
Just as I removed my filters and laid the camera into my backpack I noticed a sudden clearing in the sky. Within moments of packing my gear I had the camera back on the tripod and by now parts of the sky was glowing red.
It might not have been the most impressive sunset I’ve ever witnessed but it was a keeper. Not only was it a keeper, it also served an important lesson to myself; don’t leave before it’s really over.
Even though it doesn’t look promising it might have a moment of glory, and since you’ve made all these habits you’ll be ready to photograph that moment! It doesn’t always work out this way though but parts of the fun with photography is the chase, right?
Photography might be one of the most expensive hobbies to have. Equipment is expensive, softwares are expensive and travels are expensive. Very few are able to make a full time living of traveling and photography and most don’t want it to be their main job either, so setting aside some money each month might be clever.