Photo Notes A place to talk about making images.

August 2, 2009

Location Tips

Filed under: Commercial Photography — John Siskin @ 10:29 pm

Shoot From Different Angles!

I’ve been doing a lot of location work recently, among other things this has put me behind with this blog. I thought this might be a good time to say a few things about working on location, before I go back into technical stuff. Consider this a sort of tip sheet for location work.

1)   Work with an assistant. Not only does this make your life easier, it gives you time to concentrate on the client. Remember that sweating and swearing as you take two hundred and fifty pounds of lighting gear in and out of the location will not make you look more professional.

2)   Don’t lose your temper. Just don’t.

3)   Bring as much back-up gear as possible. Now I understand that you may not have a second laptop computer, but you can have an extra sync cord and a back-up cord to connect the camera to the computer.

4)   Always bring tape, at least gaffers tape. I have tape all over my cases, so I can always grab some off the case.

5)   Always have extra batteries. While a charger is grand, extra batteries are better. You don’t need to wait for them. And don’t forget extra batteries for the computer and lighting equipment.

6)   Extra memory cards, even if you have a big one.

7)   If you bring food you don’t need to take equipment down or lock it up. Still delivery pizzas are tasty!

Closer is more dramatic!

8)   On any job communication with the client is the best way to keep the client.

9)   Even when you have an assistant, don’t pack any equipment case you can’t lift. Better to have several small cases that one you need help with.

10)   At least some of your cases should be tough enough to stand on. It is simpler than bringing a stepladder.

11)    A laser pointer will give you camera something to focus on when the target has no contrast.

12)   A compass will tell you where the sun is going to go.

13)   Make sure your sensor is clean before you leave.

14)   Bring a flashlight. Packing up at night can be a real problem.

15)   I always pack my gear so that it is ready to go out on the next job. I prepare for the next job as the current job is ending. Also this enables me to be sure I haven’t left anything. MY gear is always stored in the location cases.

The job isn’t over when you get back to the home or office. I don’t relax until certain things are taken care of:

1)   First I copy the images onto my hard drive. If I have been shooting tethered the images are already on the drive. Next I copy the images onto a second hard drive.

2)   I start charging the batteries. I always take care of the tools as soon as possible. The next job is as close as the next phone call.

3)   I pull out any gear that didn’t perform well. Either for repair or replacement.

4)   Pay the assistant. I like to do that AFTER the gear is unloaded.

5)   Catch up on my blog and critiques.

All pretty obvious, I guess, but these things have helped me a time or two.

Details Are Important!

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