By James Booth
Take a page from the Boy Scout Handbook and, "Be prepared!" Murphy's Law affects pretty much every aspect of our lives, and photo shoots seem to invite Murphy to come out and play. Photo shoots can be difficult enough as it is, you don't something going wrong and putting a fly in the ointment. With a little foresight and preparation, you'll get the best images possible from every photo shoot, whether you're just taking snapshots, or playing the roll of a paid professional photographer.
Preparation begins at home. Adequate preparation prior to any photo shoot is one thing that I can't stress enough. Check all of your equipment before you leave. Test it, and then check it again.
First, you'll want to make sure your camera is clean. I won't go into a long description here of how to clean a camera, because I've already done that. For more information on how to clean your camera, I'll refer you to my earlier article, "Keeping your camera clean" in the March 2005 issue of Connected Photographer Magazine at http://www.connectedphotographer.com/issues/issue200502/00001505001.html.
Next, make sure you have enough of the supplies you'll be using. If you're shooting film, make sure you have enough. However much you think you'll need, double it, and then triple it again. It's better to have too much and not need it than to run out. Besides, it's not like you can't use the extra film later.
If you're using a medium-format camera and have more than one film carrier, load them all before you leave. It'll save time when you've finished a roll and need to reload. Even better, enlist an assistant to reload them while you're shooting to ensure a continuous flow of film.
If you're using a digital camera, make sure you have extra media of whatever kind the camera takes, (i.e., CompactFlash, SD card, Memory Stick, CDR, or whatever). Again, it's better to have too much than not enough. You never know when one of those cards or CDs is going to be corrupt, and you don't want to be stuck without extras.
Speaking of corrupt cards, verify the read and write capability of the cards on the computer before the shoot. And just because you can buy cards in ridiculous capacities, like 1GB and higher, that doesn't mean you should. You may be able to put an entire shoot on one card, but what if the card corrupts or is damaged before you download the images? They're gone that's what.