- Bring plenty of memory cards and make sure they are pre formatted. There is nothing like getting someplace to find out that you still have stuff on your memory cards. Having enough memory cards will allow you to pocket them after each day or location. Every day I shoot on a new card. That way if one gets lost or ends up corrupt I don’t loose the whole trips worth of shooting.
- Download your cards every day & bring a back up drive. Not only do I use a new card, but I download them on to my computer every day and also on to an external hard drive. The computer stays with me on the plane and the hard drive goes in my suitcase. Call me paranoid, but I know that I have all of my shots.
- Keep you batteries charged! Always have a spare battery on you and charge them every day. You never want to be caught with a dead battery. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you are sitting there watching a beautiful sunset and all the other photographers shooting it because your battery is dead. Hopefully some kind soul will have your brand and a spare, but never count on it!
- Know your camera. I don’t mean you need to know what every function and button does, but at least know the basics about your camera. We all have a lot to learn (especially me), but at least know the basics.
- Learn about the weather and be prepared for it. I always pack a little something extra for cold nights. I keep a hat and a pair of long under ware packed with me. they don’t take up that much extra space and I know I have them. You would be surprised on how often I’ll don an extra layer. It sucks being cold in the field. I almost always expect the weather folks to get it wrong by 10 degrees. So I pad into my packing for that.
- Bring a GPS for your vehicle and know how to use it. I have one on my phone and it comes in handy more often than not.
- Pack snacks and stay hydrated. All to often people are surprised when they don’t have dinner at a certain time. Sunrise and Sunset are usually the best times to shoot, which are right in the middle of dinner and breakfast. It’s a photo workshop, not an eating workshop. Sure you cane expect to have a good breakfast or dinner after you are done shooting, but it might be hours between them and the next meal. Alway carry some nuts or snack bars with you. They can take the edge off. Also stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water has so many good side effects. Yeah, you might have to wander off into the woods to take a bio break, but it eats ending up in the hospital because of dehydration.
- Come to a workshop with a willingness to learn. Don’t be “that” person who thinks they know everything. If you are coming on a workshop in the first place it’s assumed you want to learn something. I learn LOTS of things every time I go. I learn a great deal from the attendees and love every second.
- Be flexible and have FUN! The instructors are doing their best with what they have. Often times thing happen that we can’t foresee. Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, the county decides that it’s the perfect time to shut down the road for maintenance or you even see something out of the corner of your eye as you drive by and think, that would be awesome to shoot in this light. Have fun with it. It’s your workshop and only you can affect your mood about it.
- Follow the light. Sometimes you need to know when to shoot and when not to. If the light is bad, it’s going to be a bad shot. So don’t shoot it, admire it, but don’t press it. If you see something with great light, shoot it. I have come away from many workshops with images of “Why did I shoot that again?” and “WoW, I wasn’t expecting that, but I really like it!”
- It’s a like a baker’s dozen, I had to add one more. Know your limits. If you don’t think you can hike up that mountain, don’t give yourself a heart attack trying. Let everyone else go ad find something else to shoot. Often times you’ll find something just as interesting. If you don’t think you can make it to a morning shoot because you need rest, then sleep in. It’s not worth killing yourself and wrecking the rest of the trip. I have CPR and First Aid training, please don’t make me use it!
Ramblings of an Amateur Photographer