The Ritual Before Going to Make Photos
Here's how I prepare before going to make photographs. I've done this with Canon and Pentax and I don't see why this can't apply to Nikon, Sony, or Olympus. There are a whole bunch of steps that I do only once or twice a year, some of these steps I do them every time, religiously.
First of all, I prepare my bag the evening before. I do it over a desk and the bed because I need a lot of space.
- Empty the big camera bag and make sure that everything is back into its place. The camera bag is not a storage place, I have a old chest and half of a closet for that. So I almost always start with an empty camera bag.
- One or two cameras? Basically, is it for work or not?
- Camera, remove any lens attached and place the camera with the lens cover and all the lenses, that I will take with me, on the desk.
- Clean all the lenses and the cameras with my Giotto rocket.
- Clean the electronic contacts on the cameras and on all the lenses, that I will take, with an LCD screen cleaner.
- Do I need to clean the sensor? So far, never. I say this as I touch wood (superstitious).
- I put the cameras, with the mostly likely to be used lens, in the bag.
- New job, empty memory card. I do not reformat my memory cards, I only move the photos from the memory card to the computer.
- Turn the camera on and check the battery level. If it's below 50%, switch the batteries and charge it so it will be fully charged by the next morning.
- Switch the camera to Av, then check the Quick Screen to verify the settings. Where some changed during the previous photo session? It should be: Raw, Low speed, ISO 400, Zone focus, White balance to daylight/cloudy, f/stop close to wide open, AI Servo, and Evaluative metering.
- I use orientation linked AF points, make sure they are set correctly.
- If it's an “important” session, verify the MFA and do a quick focus test with all the lenses. What's an “important” session? Something that will not be repeated, an event or a very expensive… with no possibility of redoing it again.
- Verify the date and time. Does it need to be adjusted for timezones or drift? The time drift is especially important when dealing with multiple cameras and/or multiple photographers.
- Tripod? Panoramic Head?
- Flash? Then swap the flash batteries and charge the batteries. Also bring the extension cable, remote, Gary Fong Lumisphere.
- Light Reflector?
This seems like a lot, but by doing this religiously, it's almost automatic and takes me about 10 minutes unless I want to recheck the MFA. Then it's another 30 minutes and most of the time is spent aligning the chart and the camera.