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What to Do When Things Go Wrong at Photo Shoots

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

No matter how well you plan, there’s always a chance that something might go wrong at a photo shoot. Mother nature can get in the way, your subject matter may not be cooperative, or your equipment may malfunction. While these can put a damper on your shoot, if you take the right actions, they may not get in the way of you getting terrific photos.

Here’s a list of some things that can go wrong at photoshoots and how you can deal with it.

The Problem: Equipment Failure

Equipment failure is a common problem. A lens can break, a battery can die, you may forget something…and the list goes on.

The Solution: Take Back Up

I know most photographers like to travel light but bringing back up is better than no shoot at all. Be prepared with back up lenses, a back up camera, charging gear, batteries and more.

The Problem: The Weather

If you are doing an outdoor shoot, it’s likely you are aiming for a clear day, but that doesn’t mean it can’t suddenly start raining. Alternately, a high wind can pick up making it impossible to get the images you were going for.

The Solution: Get Creative

There are many ways for you to get creative when it starts raining or getting windy. The most obvious solution is to look for shelter. Even if you are in an outdoor space, you may be able to find a covered structure that will offer protection.

Another option is to make the most of it. As long as you can find a way to keep your equipment safe, you can get some great shots by being open minded. For instance, rain provides terrific reflections that can be picked up in images. If you have the proper equipment for capturing motion, a windy day can turn into an opportunity for getting excellent shots.

The Problem: You Lose Work After Your Shoot

Picture it, you just got back from a long day of shooting, and you are all set to download your photos…and they’re gone. Or maybe you’re in the middle of editing and you somehow lose the files.

The Solution: Back Up, Back Up, Back Up

With the right amount of back up, your pictures will be harder to lose and easier to retrieve. Here are some recommendations for equipment that will ensure your images are saved:

• A RAID network drive with RAW files converted to DNG

• A portable 1 TB hard drive with RAW (DNG) files and finished JPEG files

• Cloud storage with finished JPEG files

• Send clients finished JPEGs as back up

The Problem: Issues with the Live Subject

There are so many issues that can arise if you are shooting a human being. There are many that will be out of your control. They may be having problems with wardrobe, or they may just be in a bad mood.

The Solution: Be Willing and Able

It is up to a photographer to make clients feel as comfortable as possible If they are having wardrobe issues, have things on hand like safety pins, etc. if they are in a bad mood, tell jokes. If all else fails, work with what you have by using a bit of creativity and ingenuity.

Sending clients a check list in advance may also prevent unpleasant situations.

What to Have on Hand

Here are some items every photographer should have on hand to avoid crisis situations.

For Outdoor Shoots:

• Insect repellant

• Rain umbrellas

• Sunscreen

• Towels

• Camera protectors or plastic bags

• A collapsible backdrop is you’re unable to find a natural backdrop

• Towels

• A microfiber cloth to clean the camera lens

For Indoor Shoots:

• A variety of tapes including duct, masking, gaffers, packing and electrical

• Rubber bands

• A flashlight

• A tool kit

• Spare batteries

• Assorted clamps and clips

• Ties like rope, string and bungee cords

• Electrical adaptors and extension cords

For the Client:

• Visine

• Safety pins

• A portable iron

• Bobby pins

• A small sewing kit

• Props

• Baby wipes

• Stick pins

• Pet treats for pet photography

For You:

• Snacks

• A first aid kit

• A change of clothing

• Aspirin or antacid

• Water

There are many things that can go wrong at a photo shoot. The tips in this article will get you prepared for the worst. What do you do when your shoots fall apart?


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