6 Dec 2013

Gearing up for a shooting day - a checklist

Tomorrow I will be shooting photos at the "Sinterklaas" day, organized each year at the school of my wife. As usual there is a lot of things planned for this day, happening at several locations during the day. And as usual I try to capture most of the day with my camera and make nice pictures.
This year there are four events planned: sport games for the youngest children, a meeting with book writer, information fairs for the Polish parents living in the Netherlands, a buffet serving specialties of the Polish cuisine. All in the timeframe of 3 hours.
Next to that I got an assignment to make portraits of parents that actively support organization of such events. Usually there are 6-8 people to capture. And not to forget the "Sinterklaas" walking from one class to another.
From experience I know that coming with a camera and just shooting does not deliver the best possible results. So I prepared a checklist of things that help me to organize myself for such day.

Choose the gear

Since the day will be filled with quite dynamic events, some of them organized in the places with not so great light, I choose in this case for fast, light lenses. It will be more gear to carry, but the alternative would be an universal 18-200mm, f/3.5-5.6 lens which might not work well in all situations. Next to that I will most probably shooting with 2 cameras (I will take 2 and make the final decision on location) 

Prepare lighting equipment

Normally I would just take one speedlight with me, just in case. However, to make nice portraits I will also take a softbox on a stand which should give me together with off-camera flash a nice light source. I will take the backup speedlight as well just to have a backup

Arrange enough backup for the photos

This is something I always consider before the assignment. Will it be enough to take just spare memory cards? Should I take a laptop to dump the pictures during the day? For tomorrow I will go for an option with the laptop. The reason is simple: since the sport event will be photographed, it implies a lot of shots. 

Know the agenda of the day

To move efficiently and be on time during most important moments I have noted the agenda of the day. I put everything in my smartphone so I am sure I will get notified on time about next important event.

Scout the location in advance

This is again about efficiency. For the location of tomorrow's shoot I don't need actually to do it since I know the place very well. But in all other cases I would be on location before the actual event starts to orient myself.

Take some sandwiches and water

It is not directly related to photography, but during such intensive day some nutrition is needed to keep the body energized. 

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