April 20, 2009

Tips On Planning A Photo Outing

Having been around and involved in photography for many years, sometimes we get complacent and kind of dry up on new ideas. Sometimes we can get so busy, that when we do get some free time at the last minute and want to grab the camera and shoot something, we just don’t know what? Does this happen to you? With a little planning and forethought you can avoid this.

Fortunately I belong to a photo-club and we exchange ideas for new shoots. It’s usually a lot of fun getting together with other photographers for a day of shooting, especially when we have some location all planned out. If you don’t belong to a photo-club I would definitely recommend it. Not only will it help you to improve your shooting techniques, but it can be a lot fun to hang out with other photographers. Plus you never know when you’ll pick up a few good shooting tips or get some new creative ideas. Being out with other photographers you can compare shots either by ‘chimping’ on the spot (looking at your LCD screen) or by emailing shots afterwards. Comparing photos can always open you up to new ideas and helps to get the creative juices flowing. Perhaps you happen to live in a scenic area anyway, that can always be helpful. Even when shooting solo, with a little planning you can usually come up with some pretty good locations to shoot.

Over a period of time, every photographer will usually find his niche, something he loves to take photographs of. I’m a big fan of lighthouses and I enjoy just about anything to do with water. Fortunately I live on the New England coastline and there are tons of photo opportunities available.
If you’ve been shooting awhile, you already know that the best light is around daybreak or in the late afternoon and early evening hours. These times of the day the light is awesome and your photos will almost automatically improve just by shooting at those times. This is where planning really comes in handy because most of these little road-trips will take a little forethought. With a little effort you can make your day much more enjoyable.

Most of the time when you’re shooting something or someplace new, you’ll need directions. This is where maps (or your trusty GPS if you have one) can come in handy. Sometimes you might get the opportunity to scout out the location beforehand or go with someone who’s been there before, so that you’re better prepared. For photo shoots it’s a good idea to carry a comfortable backpack with a sturdy tripod strapped that to that. Most of the time it’s nice to have a small cooler or thermos with you also. Depending on how long you’ll be there, it might be a good idea to carry a snack or a lite lunch. It’s always nice to have a flashlight handy also. Learn to carry one in your bag all the time and you won’t regret it. They come in handy for checking trails or paths, or for just viewing your camera settings when it’s dark. Just make sure the batteries are charged. It’s a good idea to charge everything the night before your shoot, and get in the habit of using a checklist just to make sure you remember everything.

These are just a few little tips and I hope you find them helpful. Oh yeah, and last but not least, have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography