Over-prepare - SunStar


By Albert Pedrosa


THE big question is always what camera equipment to bring to a shoot. You know what you need, but what if the condition changes and you need another set of equipment? You can’t bring your entire arsenal of gear especially when you’ll be traveling and weight is an issue. Are you willing to take the chance of missing a shot because you didn’t bring the gear needed for that shot?

There are times that I’d raise the argument of “don’t shoot it if you don’t have it.” When I started shooting, I only have one lens, the nifty 50. It’s mounted on a crop sensor so it’s a bit narrow, but it also lacks the magnification of a longer focal length. There were many times that I see an angle but my lens can’t frame it so I just have to let the shot go.

With only one lens, I won’t even bother framing a shot if I know I can’t fit it in my one and only lens. After two years of shooting with just one lens, my next lens was a versatile 24-105. It can cover a lot of angles and this time I added a full frame camera body to my arsenal. Now I have the gear that I need to cover any shot that interests me.

Five years after, I have 10 lenses and 4 camera bodies with a ton of lighting equipment. This is the part when you can’t figure out which one to leave behind when traveling for a shoot. Should I bring two battery operated strobes or just one? Will the standard reflector be enough or should I bring the beauty dish as well? What if the weather is not good and we have to shoot indoors, should I bring the softboxes? How many lenses should I bring?

In this location shoot, we brought two hard cases of equipment, a heavy duffle bag for the light stand, and a big suitcase full of outfits. I and one assistant carried everything to the site.

During the time when I don’t have enough equipments, it was never an issue of what to bring. You just have to be creative enough to find your shots and make it work with what you have. Should you over prepare and bring more gears just in case the shooting conditions changes or should you just cross your fingers and rely on your creative instincts to get the shot needed.

In my case, I always over-prepare, especially if it’s a commissioned shoot. You will have to deliver images that the clients want and not just alternatives because you don’t have the gear. Back in the days when I only had one lens, I can afford not to take the shot because I was only shooting for myself.

Even when I’m doing test or portfolio shoots, I still over-prepare. If you have the gear then use them to get the best shots, even if you have to bring loads of equipment to the site. All it takes is one perfect shot to wipe away all the hassles and effort of bringing all the equipment.

There was one time that we were fully loaded with equipment and we end up using just one lens and didn’t even use the lights we brought. Sure, it’s a wasted effort but I’d bring the equipment again in the next shoot just to make sure I have my options ready. It’s how much you value your shots.
Keep on shooting, everyone!


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