Photo Tips Friday: Practical Tips for Being Prepared to Take Great Photos

by Mary Denman   @MaryDenman

Lake Como, Italy by Mary Denman Photography
Since you're reading this blogpost, I'll assume for the moment that you've been taking pictures for a while. And, like the fishermen that talk about the one that got away, you, too, probably have a story of the picture you almost got, but then. . . . 

I have both: the story of the large mouth bass that spit the pink lure back at me while he happily sailed through the air and returned to freedom in the lake and the story of the wedding pictures that were done as a favor for a friend in college that didn't come out. 

What did I learn from my mistakes? Tips that were hard earned!

All it takes is one moment when you can't take the amazing, important shot right in front of you that helps you realize how critical being prepared is. So here's a quick list to help you be prepared. 

TIP ONE:  Take your camera. Whether it's your phone, a point-and-shoot, or your DSLR, keep one handy. I carry my Canon with me regularly. To doctors visits, to take my kids somewhere. It's amazing what pops up by the side of the road, going into a building etc. that catches my eye. It may seem obvious, but you can't take a shot without a camera! Be prepared!

Check your Battery Charge and # of Shots

TIP TWO: Check your battery power beforehand. There's little that's as frustrating as taking pictures only to have your camera shut down! Look at how much charge your battery has. Especially the night before a big event. But there's a second way to help prevent this. 

Spare Batteries 

TIP THREE: Buy good spare batteries. If your camera uses double AA's, then stash extras in your purse, in the car, or in a special drawer in your house. If you have a DSLR, splurge and get a second battery from the manufacture. I've tried to go the cheaper route with non-Canon batteries and was terribly disappointed. I've learned to pay up and get a spare Canon battery. In my experience, they work far better than the cheap ones. They hold a charge much longer. 

TIP FOUR: Make sure there's enough room on the memory card. Again, this is a mistake I've made. It's no fun to have to delete pictures to make room for more shots! 

TIP FIVE: Keep an extra memory card with your camera. I understand most people don't take as many pictures as I do. But having more than one card is important. In a pinch, you can put in the second clean card and have plenty of room to take shots until you can download them from the first card.

BONUS TIP 1 to having plenty of extra memory: When my husband and I traveled to Italy for an anniversary trip, having multiple memory cards made the trip easier. Why? We didn't have to take a computer with us to download the pictures on. That made our luggage lighter. And, we shot to our hearts' content and put them on the computer when we returned to the US. We spent time enjoying Italy, taking pictures. We did no editing or deleting until we got back. That meant more time for exploring and enjoying the country! Would you rather sit in your window watching the activity on the Grand Canal in Venice,  or hover over a computer screen, deleting pics or editing them? Give me watching the Grand Canal!

BONUS TIP 2 FOR YOUR MEMORY CARDS: Once you download photos to your computer, don't delete them while in your photo program. You will see a message at the end of putting them on your computer. It might say, "Delete photos from card/camera?" Click "Keep them on the card" instead. THEN delete them from the memory card once you're back on your camera. WHY? It helps protect the formatting of the storage card. What does that mean? You'll have fewer glitches in the long run and the card will last longer. They do eventually fail, but keep them running healthy for a longer life. 

BONUS TIP 3 FOR YOUR MEMORY CARDS: If you can insert them directly into your computer, instead of using a USB from your camera to the computer, the better it is. WHY? It saves your camera battery strength and it's FASTER! I was thankful when the Apple guy told me this trick. Downloading is so much easier now. 

FOR BLOGGERS: How in the world does this apply to blogging? Well, I'm a seat of the pants writer. I like to be inspired and then write. But now that I've blogged for a while, my free spirit sees the need for preparation. For planning ahead. All these tips to help you be ready to take great shots apply to blogging. 

Tip 1: Take your camera. Blogging: Take your blog with you mentally and look for posts. Take a pic and there you go! 

Tip 2: Check your battery power beforehand. Blogging: Know when you have to post and give yourself time to do it.

Tip 3: Have good spare batteries. Blogging: If you get inspired and can write multiple posts, do it! So write your part one and part two blogs st the same time. Ask others to guest post for you so you can have a break. 

Tip 4 & 5: Make sure you have enough memory. Blogging: Keep a list of topics (that serve as your memory) available on your computer or notebook so when the well runs dry, you have ideas ready to inspire your next post. 

FOR CELL PHONE USERS: Check the charge on your phone before you leave your house. Get an extra cell phone charger for your car to help you keep it up and running while driving around. Download your pics to a computer regularly. If your phone dies, you may not have everything stored on the Cloud. 

Do you have any ideas for being prepared? Please share in the comments!

Hope these tips help! 

Keep on clicking!


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  1. These are great tips, thanks! I look for certain things that illustrate blog posts, such as a path, or an open or closed door. Even having pictures of some kind of obstacles helps because it's something that regularly comes up when I'm blogging.

    1. I like the idea of the path, doors etc. Those would be good stock photos to have!

  2. Thank you, Mary. These tips are so helpful. I have recently started collecting photos for future blog posts, and I appreciate your counsel!

    1. That's awesome Robin! It always helps me when I see a picture and get inspired! You're very welcome.

  3. I appreciated these. I got a new camera for Christmas, which I'm loving. I take all my own photos on my blog, and try to be prepared. But I'm still learning. And I have many things to learn in using the camera itself. Thanks!

  4. Very useful tips. I learned the hard way about #2, check battery charge, at my son's law school graduation, yikes. Fortunately there were others with cameras. Also helpful blogging tips. Thanks