Learned from my own mistakes and experiences, this checklist aims to help you to get ready for any photography session.
Charge your Camera Battery
Before any session, whether in studio or on location, this is probably the most important checkpoint. Always charge your camera batteries one day or evening in advance! As it happened to myself, an empty battery can cause you serious disappointment when you arrive at the location and realise that you cannot even use your camera. This is a no-brainer.
If you have multiple batteries, charge them all. Especially if you are planning shooting a video or you use the display on your camera instead of an optical viewfinder. These are the battery drainers.
Finally, check whether you have packed the battery with the camera. To be sure, I always pack the charger as well so no battery is left behind and I also have the option to charge them.
Empty or format your memory cards
The second most important checkpoint is your card or cards if you are using more than one. Sometimes you cannot expect how much photos you will take as you arrive at this interesting location and get carried away with capturing the scene. And right at the moment when the scene changes into something really precious, your camera will flash ‘Memory Card Full’ message. I would bet that you did not clear your card after your last photography trip. Although you can delete photos from your card within your camera settings, it is not that easy. Especially if you want to remove large amount of specific images at once. Plus that precious moment is gone. Another no-brainer that many people miss to address. Best to clear your card while you are charging the batteries.
Prepare a list of accessories
Think about your planned photography session in detail. Sometimes you arrive at the location too light and miss few accessories that would make that perfect shot possible. Other times you would prepare for any possibility and arrive too heavy to move freely without assistance. You can never be 100% sure, but thinking about the ‘session’ in advance will prevent many disappointments.
So think about the location first. Is it indoor or outdoor? Would you need a flash, strong studio flasheads or would you be ok with the available light from the sun or indoor lighting. Would you need any light modifiers such as soft boxes or reflectors? What is the subject of this session? Would you need wide or telephoto lenses? If you are shooting outdoors, what is the expected weather and what time of the day is your session? Sunrise, early morning, late morning, midday, evening, sunset or night? Would you need a tripod and external shutter release? Would you need modifying filters and what possible kinds? On foot, by car or a hotel stay? And don’t forget any non-photographic accessories that might also consider. Bottle of water, high protein food, rain cover, storage, money, passport etc.
The list is exhaustive, so just give it a thought and once again ….