Photography Article Background

Get ready, get set, shoot?

So in my travels throughout the world and locally, there is one thing I notice of amateur photographers and that is this:

THEY ARE NOT READY TO SHOOT!

What do I mean by this?  Today’s DSLR cameras are fast and ready at a moments notice to shoot, but often the photographer isn’t.

But before I get to the point let me digress for a moment.  I was in Brazil with infamous photographer Jay Maisel from New York City (www.jaymaisel.com).  If you don’t know of Jay’s work you are best to check out his work.  Anyway, I recall this one fellow coming up to Jay and saying “Jay, I love your work (after viewing some of Jay’s portfolio).  How can I get better as a photographer?”.  Jay looked at him, looked behind him, around the room, and then said “Where’s your f***** camera?, don’t you need that?”.  I think it was a defining moment for this fellow.

But, let’s get back to the point I was going to make.  Let’s break this down to some simple things you can do to be ready for that once in a lifetime shot.

  • Photographer readiness – If you want to get pro results you have to think like a pro.  Have your camera ready and continually look around you for that next shot.  Look in front of you (most of us have this nailed down), behind you, beside you, above you, below you.  You never know where that next shot will be.
  • Camera readiness – Ok this one really gets me.  Let’s start with some of the basics:
  1. Turn your camera ON and leave it ON!  Today’s DSLR’s will automatically turn themselves off after a period of time and when you press the shutter they will turn themselves on in a 0.1 seconds.  Certainly much less time than it takes you to find the power switch and turn it to the ON position. The ONLY time I turn my camera off is when I store my camera in my travel bag or backpack for travel purposes.  When I get to my destination and pull my camera out of the bag, it gets turned ON and and is left ON!  PERIOD!
  2. After you turn your camera on, take that lens cover OFF and leave it OFF until you put your camera back in your bag for storage and travel.  When I get to my destination and remove the lens cap, I immediately store it in a pocket for safe keeping and don’t look at it again until I’m ready for travel again.  Until then, the lens front is naked of a lens cover.There was a time yesterday when the glass surface of the lens was much softer than today’s lenses.  Today’s lenses are much more durable to the everyday handling, bumping, and scuffs that often occur when having the camera hanging from our shoulders.
  3. And finally, lens hoods!  Use them!  I kinda snicker when I see someone with a good lens, with the lens cap on and the lens hood in its reverse position.  Take that D**** lens cap off (see #2 above) and install that lens hood in it’s proper position and LEAVE IT THAT WAY.  The purpose of the lens hood is to protect the front surface of the lens and to help block stray light from hitting the surface of the lens (lens flare).

So what do I do?  I get to my destination, turn on my camera (and leave it on), take off the lens cap (and store it), and finally, install the lens hood (and leave it that way) until I’m ready to leave my travel destination or finish my shoot and ready to pack my gear away.

You will be surprised just how many more photographs you get when you and your gear is ready!

~RoTP team

Rule of Thirds Photography Article End

3 responses to “Get ready, get set, shoot?”

  1. Kelly Bolin says:

    Hi Vrinda,

    Good point on the lens hood, we published the article before we were completely finished. Let’s call it a late night posting. I’ve expanded the point in the article.

    The point with the lens hood is this. I’ve seen people shooting with it in the reverse stored position. That’s not going to protect the lens at all. With the lens cap removed and the lens naked on the front the lens hood is an ideal method of protecting the front of the lens.

    As for using a UV filter? I question why one would spend over $1,000 for a good quality lens only to put another piece of glass in front to increase the possibility of lens flare. I personally only carry one filter (Polarizer) with me these days. I used to carry a graduated neutral density filter but with the advent of HDR that filter stays at home now.

    All personal preference I suppose.

    Thanks for your comments,
    Kelly

  2. Rob Lowry says:

    When your camera supports it, I’d add one more thing to this list: Create and store defaults, and always begin there. When I turn my camera on, I know my ISO is always 200, my WB is always Sunny, my Metering is Manual / Center, etc … I have ‘indoor’, ‘outdoor’ and ‘handing it to somebody else’ settings stored in my 3 memory positions and it makes it simple to get going. I have also found that it forces me to think about the situation as I’m getting ready, and proceed more thoughtfully from the onset.

  3. Kevin says:

    Love this! Great advice!

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