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October 30, 2017

6 Ways to Be Prepared for Gear Malfunctions

Last week I was with one of my couples, and they asked me, “have you ever had your camera break during a shoot?” Thankfully, I was able to answer no! But I am always prepared just in case! I have had cards freeze on me and lenses act strange, but I’ve never had my camera break or lost any images. Because nobody wants to be stuck during a shoot with a frozen card, I’ve actually come up with solutions for minor malfunctions like that, too! So, I figured I would share how I prepare for weddings to ensure that I never lose images and know what to do in case my gear malfunctions!

Weddings are serious business because there are no do-overs! Plenty of photographers shy away from this area of photography because they fear messing up the couple’s special day. Aside from the scheduling issues that can happen on weddings, what about technical difficulties? What if your camera freezes? What if your card malfunctions? Focusing on these questions can start to make your head spin! I actually LOVE shooting weddings and I’m not afraid of gear malfunctions! Why? Because I have backup systems in place to ensure that I can always capture what I need! Today I’m sharing 6 ways to be prepared for gear malfunctions!

1. Have Backup Gear

This one is a no-brainer. It is SO important to have backup gear on a wedding day. Always be sure to bring a second camera body, especially if you are shooting alone. Even if you have a second shooter, I strongly suggest having a backup of your own as well! Not only does it make shooting fast-paced events easier to have two cameras, but it also prepares you in the event that something happens to your main camera. You also must have more than one lens if you are going to shoot a wedding! I actually bring two 50mm lenses in addition to my other gear because the 50mm is my favorite! If something happens to one, I don’t want to shoot the whole wedding without one! I always bring a backup camera, lenses, and flash so that I’ll have everything I need!

2. Shoot with Two Cards…and bring extras

Plenty of cameras these days have dual card readers! In my opinion, these are SO important for the wedding day. I always shoot backup images on a separate card in case something happens to one of them! I never want to lose images, but especially on a wedding day! Extra cards come in handy too, just in case you run out of space or something happens to a card!

3. Have your backup camera settings ready to go anytime you’re shooting critical moments

Imagine you’re shooting the first look or you’re getting ready for the kiss during the ceremony and suddenly… your card freezes or your camera stops working! You have a second camera on you, but it’s not on the proper settings so you have to spend a few seconds adjusting it… Well, in those few seconds you missed the kiss, or you missed the groom crying when he saw his bride for the first time! Scary, right? Well this doesn’t have to happen! During critical and fast-paced moments of the day such as the first look, ceremony, cake cutting, and family formals I always have both of my cameras ready to go so that I can switch between them freely if needed!

4. Make sure you have enough space on your cards!

If you don’t have a card that can store a large amount of files, this is something that you have to check constantly! You don’t want to run out of space during critical moments and have to waste time switching cards! I shoot with a 128GB camera card with a 64GB backup in my second card slot. Since switching to these larger cards, I have never run out of space during a wedding! If you use smaller cards, be sure you’re checking up on how much space you have left after each thing you shoot!

5. Bring extra batteries

This is another no-brainer. Make sure you arrive to your shoot with your batteries fully charged and spare ones in your bag. I have two cameras with fully charged batteries and two spares in my bag on each wedding day. I also have to bring spare batteries for my flashes, because they require AA batteries! Make sure these are charged and ready to go before your wedding! Because I bring a lot of AA batteries, I always start charging my batteries two days before the wedding!

6. Backup your images in more than one place until you’ve delivered the final gallery

All of us have probably had a hard drive crash or know someone who has. Always store your files in more than one place until you’ve delivered the images to your couple! I keep my images on my card, my hard drive, and my desktop until I’ve edited and delivered the images.

Weddings do not need to be scary! If you have the proper backup gear and precautions in place, you don’t have to be afraid of a gear malfunctions!

Happy Shooting!

– Christi

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