Getting gear back to baseline...

Ever pull out your camera and start to shoot and wonder why what you see on the display just isn't right then realize that your ISO was at 1600 or you were using the custom white balance from a previous shoot?

Yup, me too. Unless of course you're a client reading this, then I NEVER do that!

So I put together a “back to default” list to go through after each and every session, so that when I grab my gear for the next shoot I’m ready to go.

I do this after a shoot rather than before so I can be concentrating on the task at hand, the shoot (NOT resetting gear).

This was not an “original thought” on my part but an idea I got from the list Scott Bourne uses for himself.

So here’s my list:

1. Remove any and all filters (NOT lens protector/UV filters)
2. Turn off VR on all stabilized lenses
3. Set all lenses to autofocus
4. Set white balance to AUTO
5. Set ISO to 200
6. Put camera on MANUAL set shutter @ 1/200 & f11
7. Put camera on APERTURE priority and set @ f2.8
8. Put camera on SHUTTER priority and set @ 1/125
9. Reset focus point to the center
10. Run camera auto sensor cleaning
11. Turn camera bodies off
12. Remove and recharge all camera batteries
13. Set all flashes to MANUAL (1)
14. Flashes off
15. Remove all flash batteries (2)
16. Break out goat hair brushes, cleaning cloths, and canned air (3)
17. Remove all equipment from camera bag and my “bag of light”
18. Thoroughly vacuum both bags
19. Clean all parts (4) of all gear
20. As it's cleaned, return it to its appropriate bag/place (5)

(1) I use my flashes in manual 99% of the time which is why it's my default setting, if you use your flash in a different mode then that should be your default setting.

(2) I take these batteries home as there is plenty of life for game controllers and remotes. I start each shoot with new AA batteries (incorporated in my pricing). I have had just enough problems with rechargeable batteries that I no longer use them. Plus they won’t hold a charge for very long at all, so recharging 36 batteries just before a shoot is a task I do not need.

(3) Don’t grab just any can of air, get something made specifically to be used with cameras (like Beseler).

(4) By “all parts” I mean ALL PARTS - things like brushing both sides of the lens cap, removing (and cleaning) the screen protector, and using a rocket air blower in the cameras battery chamber.

(5) If you shot with me last year or shoot with me next, you will find everything in the exact same place (not only in the same place but positioned the same way too), so that when I need it during a shoot I know exactly where to find it (some would call that anal, I call it organized).


CMurray said...

LOL - Happens all the time, forgetting to reset the camera settings. Sometimes that first shot is a doozie and gets earmarked for the trash-can.

Chris Christie said...

Definitely sounds like a good plan to follow post-shoot.

It doesn't sound anal at all. I generally follow the same mindset myself. I follow the '6 P's' principle. P-re Planning P-revents P-iss P-oor P-erformance!

If you pack your own photo-bag then you will know where all the items you need are, that they've been checked and are stowed correctly. I've heard some real horror stories from some pro's who let their assistants pack for a shoot only to find that a critical item has been left behind in the studio!

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