Getting Started: Tips for On-the-Go Photography

BlogHer Original Post

I'm gonna lay this baby out like a good sermon - 3 points, ya'll! Organization (ish), Preparedness (which is really the first cousin of organization), and Creativity ... all for the purpose of getting us out there and capturing the goodness of summer!

Get Organized!

I'm a mom.

Due to above condition, I have more often than not, found myself unorganized and unprepared for awesome photo ops.

So, what is a an unorganized mom who loves to take pictures supposed to do???

Employ a simple, achievable plan to combat said unpreparedness!

My organizational strategy?

1) Two camera batteries for my DSLR. I always have a charged battery on hand, and my charger is always plugged in and ready to receive the powerless battery. This has cured a great deal of "OMG, THE BATTERY IS DEAD" grief.

2) Transfer pictures from camera to computer daily. For me, it's kind of like making one's bed every day. Except I don't make my bed everyday (shhh, don't tell my mom ... ). I like knowing if anything happens with the camera, I am covered. One time something DID happen. User error caused my card to reformat. But because I transfer daily, I only lost one day of pictures. I was still bummed, but it could have been worse.

3) Keep camera gear in one place. Some exceptions apply (see "mom" above). I keep gear in a big drawer in my office ... cords, the manual, and all the bits and pieces. This sounds obvious, but I didn't live that way for a long time. Just give it all a home so when you run out the door for a last-minute afternoon at the park, you will BE THE BOSS.

Now that we are organized ... we are 99% prepared, right?

RIGHT!

Be Prepared!

This is how I stay prepared so I can capture summer fun at ANY moment (except the moments I am called to lick dripping ice cream off a cone or tie a shoe ...)

blue bubble gum ice cream


1) Speak softly and Carry a big purse. There are some fancy/spendy photo bags (I COVET), but I have not been able to justify the purchase of a legit camera bag-purse ... SO ... I carry big purses. Big camera ... big purse.

2) Be sure your bag has a DESIGNATED camera pocket. Goldfish crumbs in my purse do not bother me unless they make their way into my CAMERA.

carry a big bag

By the way, I have found a fabulous red bag goes with eeeeehhhverything.

I do not usually carry all my camera gear ... just the camera and a pretty charged-up battery. That's prepared enough for me.

3) DO NOT underestimate the power of the camera phone! Overall, I prefer my DSL. However, if the Big Kahuna can't make the trip, the camera on most smart phones are TOTALLY LEGIT. Don't get hung-up on what gear you may or may not have. There's a book by Chase Jarvis, the title sums it up perfectly:

The Best Camera is the One That's With You!

If you have your phone with you, THEN YOU ARE PREPARED! I mean look ... I took this one with my phone:

itsy bitsy spider

BOOM.

*EXTRA SPECIAL SUMMER TIP FOR BEACH GOERS: Plastic. Baggie. Y'all!!! We frequent a local beach ... Which means SAND ... which means DANGER! In an effort to keep the sand where it belongs (not in my phone) I slip my phone in a plastic baggie to help protect my Precious. SAND IS OUR ENEMY!

save the phone - use a baggie!

See? Ain't no sand gonna take me (or my camera phone) down!

Get Creative!

There are a TON of inspirational tips all over the web when it comes to photography. I want to share two of my personal faves.

One shapes my philosophy and approach, the other has given me some fun pictures with unique perspectives.

1) You have to MISS a great shot to GET a great shot. Me Ra Koh (Oh I adore that woman!) said that. Let me tell ya, TRUTH! I am learning photography is not just about how I handle the camera, but how I approach the subject. It's about the joy of capturing the life we are in ... not regretting the great moment I didn't catch on camera.

2) Shoot from the hip. Or on the ground ... or overhead ... or ... Some of my favorite pictures are ones I shoot with my eye NOT anywhere near the viewfinder.

From my hip:

shot from the hip. literally

 

Set on the counter:

rainbow cupcake painting nails

 

Set on the ground:

Hula hoop or bouncy ball? sidewalk chalk

 

shoes our dog kevin

IT IS SO FUN! Like a really good grab bag from the county fair!

I'll be honest, probably 94.8% of those shots go straight to the trash, but the other 5.2% are just so stinkin' COOL! And one more tip, sometimes I put a finger or two under the lens when I go for the surface-level shot, especially when tall grass in involved.

And sand. Maybe don't set your camera in the sand.

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