Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 231. In this episode I want to talk about the biggest photography bad habits that you need to break.
- Chimping: What exactly is chimping? Well it is the bad habit of taking a shot and then immediately looking at the rear LCD to see how the image turned out. This is a bad habit that wastes time when you are out shooting, you end up missing other shots because life goes on and so does whatever you are shooting. How do you break this habit? Well, understand your gear and how you set up your composition and also pay closer attention when you are looking through the viewfinder. Now that we have mirrorless cameras, the new EVF or Electronic View Finder gives you exactly what you see in it. If you make adjustments to your Aperture, Shutter Speed or ISO, you see those results in real time so there is no need to chimp. Some people seem to do this compulsively as if the world will end if they don’t check their shot immediately in the LCD, but trust me, that is not going to happen.
- I Don’t Need a Tripod: To an extent yes you do. Even the best photographers in the world do not have perfectly steady hands, it’s a fact of life, even if you lift weights every day and look like Stallone your hands will NEVER be perfectly steady. If you want to shoot in low light for example or doing long exposures, you need a tripod. How when considering a tripod, you need one that is solid and steady and can handle the load. This is a matter of getting a high quality tripod with a high quality tripod head. Your tripod doesn’t need to break the bank, there are plenty of companies that make good, strong, sturdy tripods for as low as $150 to $200. There are tripod heads that are better quality than others. I personally recommend the K&F Concept TC2534 66 inch carbon fiber tripod which is a very strong tripod that is carbon fiber which is super light weight and strong. It costs $169 on Amazon. The other nice thing about this tripod is that it comes with a very strong and durable ball head with Arca Swiss quick mount plate system and the entire system can handle 22 pounds of weight. Remember, getting a tripod and head combo you have to be absolutely certain it can handle your heaviest lens and your camera body. If you are not certain what your combination weighs, look up the camera body and lens specs on the maker’s site or go to B&H and look them up. I always recommend you make sure your tripod/head combination can handle more than your heaviest set up. If your body and lens weigh 12 pounds, then this set up will more than work. If you don’t want to spend the money for an inexpensive carbon fiber model like this one, you can save some money by buying an aluminum tripod, but keep in might it will be heavier than this one so if you are lugging it around all day it will take a toll on your body much sooner.
- Not Charging Your Batteries: This is another bad habit that you need to break. I have been out shooting with groups a few times and had someone in the group not able to enjoy the photowalk because they forgot to charge their batteries before leaving for a day of shooting. A really good way to avoid this in addition to charging your batteries the night before you are going out on a shoot is to go to Best Buy or on Amazon and get yourself a small power inverter so you can charge your batteries in your car. The inverter plugs into your 12-volt accessory port in your car and gives you one or more 110-volt house style outlets to use. Many third party battery makers offer a combo with two batteries and a charger that can be used at home or in your car with a simple USB adapter for your accessory port.
- Memory Cards Not Empty and Ready: Another thing I have seen a number of times is photographers forgetting to empty their memory cards before going out to shoot. Every time you finish a shoot and return home or to your studio, you should copy all your images off the memory card and onto a hard drive. I also recommend using the 1-2-3 backup method for your images. Copy all of them to one external drive you keep with your main editing computer. Put a second copy on another external drive that you disconnect and store off-site at a friend or family member’s house.Third, out a copy on some sort of cloud backup system. I recommend Backblaze as they only charge like $60 a year and they give you unlimited storage. Their app runs seamlessly in the background making the backups easy. Once you have your images copied off the memory card, you can delete them and empty the trash before you eject the card. Some people say you should format your card every time but I disagree. As someone who has worked in I.T. as well for over 30 years I just delete the images on the card. I do this because I have multiple cameras and I name each memory card after the camera so I know what is what when I shoot with more than one body.
- Forgetting to Clean Your Camera: Something that many shooters tend to forget is cleaning their camera on a regular basis. If you are out shooting all day in the elements, and especially if you live in a coastal area. Shooting on the beach might mean your gear getting sprayed by salt water. Also consider dirt and dust if outside shooting all day. I would recommend getting some microfiber towels as they are cheap and easy to keep in your camera bag or car. You can get packs of them at places like Amazon or Harbor Freight and they only run around $7 a bag. Wipe your camera and lens down good so that they stay clean and fully functioning. Few things suck more than dirt getting underneath your zoom or focus ring and over time it starts making a “crunching” sound or stops working completely. If your camera’s sensor gets dirty, clean it with a good sensor cleaning kit or take it to a local shop or send it to your maker’s local repair center and have them clean it for you. If your camera gets wet, even if it’s weather sealed, I still recommend putting it in a large Ziplock bag with a Silica Gel Pack, which you can find on Amazon for around $7 a bag. The nice thing is not only will it absorb all the moisture from your camera or lens or both, but they are re-usable!
- Not Checking Your Camera Settings: Here is another area that many of us forget about. Check your settings each time you take your camera out for a shoot. If you were out shooting landscapes or at a botanical garden on a bright sunny day those setting will not work well for a wedding that takes place indoors in poor lighting. Maybe you, like me, love to use the Exposure Compensation dial on or settings on your camera and you forgot to “Zero” it back out before your next shoot. That can mess up your next shoot as well so keep an eye on your settings.
- Underestimating Your Travel Time: Are you going out for a location or wedding shoot? Make absolutely certain you correctly calculate your travel time. There is nothing worse than showing up for a paid gig late as it will anger your client and throw off the entire shoot. If the place you are shooting at is an hour away, I recommend leaving at least 1.5 hours before the scheduled shoot time. This also allows you to capture any opportune shots you come across when driving and will help with time to set up lighting. If I am traveling for a shoot where I need to use lighting, I like to leave two hours early so I have more than enough time.
- Not Protecting Your Gear Properly: Now this one is a two-fold topic, because we need to not only pay attention to our gear when out on a shoot. Make sure you don’t make yourself a potential “victim” since thieves are always looking for any easy “mark” to rob. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and I recommend the Spider Pro holster system to keep your camera safely locked on your hip when not shooting with it. Especially if you are using more than one body for a shoot. Also make sure you have photography insurance including not only business and Liability insurance but also gear coverage as well. I use and recommend Hiscox as they offer very affordable coverage for everything related to your business.
- Getting Caught Up in the Moment: Although this one is more of a skill than a habit you have to learn to not get caught up in the moment when out shooting something like an event or wedding. You need to be able to separate yourself from what is happening in front on your lens and capture the moments instead of using the “spray and pray’ technique. Unless you are shooting some sort of sport, your camera should never be on burst or continuous shooting mode.
- Being Afraid to Delete Images: After a shoot when you are back home or in your studio, make sure you “cull” your images properly. Go through them and mark the ones that are “keepers” or the “best of the best with honors”. Once you have marked your images, delete the ones that don’t make the cut. If you are new to photography, you could keep some of the less desirable ones until you improve your editing skills. Just don’t think that when you shoot and have thousands of images you are burning up disk space and although hard drives are cheap, it’s still no reason to keep everything and waste space.
Alright that is going to wrap up Episode 231 of the Liam Photography Podcast, I want to thank all my listeners once again for Subscribing, Rating and Reviewing on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify. Also remember to check out the Liam Photography Youtube channel. Subscribe to the channel, watch the videos, like them comment on them and hit the bell icon so you can be notified when new content drops. I will see you all again on Sunday for the latest News and Rumors.
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