Commercial Photography: Tip Sheet for Location Work

by John H. Siskin

Kitchen
Kitchen
© John H. Siskin
All Rights Reserved
1) Work with an assistant. Not only does this make your life easier, it gives you time to concentrate on the client. Remember that sweating and swearing as you take two hundred and fifty pounds of lighting gear in and out of the location will not make you look more professional.

2) Donít lose your temper. Just donít.

3) Bring as much back-up gear as possible. Now I understand that you may not have a second laptop computer, but you can have an extra sync cord and a back-up cord to connect the camera to the computer.

4) Always bring tape, at least gaffers tape. I have tape all over my cases, so I can always grab some off the case.

5) Always have extra batteries. While a charger is grand, extra batteries are better. You donít need to wait for them. And donít forget extra batteries for the computer and lighting equipment.

6) Extra memory cards, even if you have a big one.7) If you bring food you donít need to take equipment down or lock it up. Still delivery pizzas are tasty!

8) On any job communication with the client is the best way to keep the client.

Bulldozer
Bulldozer
© John H. Siskin
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9) Even when you have an assistant, donít pack any equipment case you canít lift. Better to have several small cases that one you need help with.


10) At least some of your cases should be tough enough to stand on. It is simpler than bringing a stepladder.


11) A laser pointer will give you camera something to focus on when the target has no contrast.


12) A compass will tell you where the sun is going to go.


13) Make sure your sensor is clean before you leave.

14) Bring a flashlight. Packing up at night can be a real problem.

15) I always pack my gear so that it is ready to go out on the next job. I prepare for the next job as the current job is ending. Also this enables me to be sure I havenít left anything. MY gear is always stored in the location cases.


Horse Running
Horse Running
© John H. Siskin
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The job isnít over when you get back to the home or office. I donít relax until certain things are taken care of:


1) First I copy the images onto my hard drive. If I have been shooting tethered the images are already on the drive. Next I copy the images onto a second hard drive.

2) I start charging the batteries. I always take care of the tools as soon as possible. The next job is as close as the next phone call.

3) I pull out any gear that didnít perform well. Either for repair or replacement.

4) Pay the assistant. I like to do that AFTER the gear is unloaded.

5) Catch up on my blog and critiques.


Hammering a Truss
Hammering a Truss
© John H. Siskin
All Rights Reserved

More on John Siskin...

John teaches three excellent online photography courses here at BetterPhoto.com:



About Author / Instructor / Photographer, John H. Siskin
Photography Instructor: John H. SiskinJohn Siskin is a commercial and fine art photographer who makes architectural, portrait and macro images. He has worked for General Motors and Disney Studios. He teaches the BetterPhoto course An Introduction to Photographic Lighting and is the author of the book Understanding and Controlling Strobe Lighting: A Guide for Digital Photographers.

In addition, he teaches studio lighting black and white photography at Los Angeles Mission College. His studio is in Reseda California and more of his work can be seen at www.siskinphoto.com

His work has been part of many exhibits. His photographs have been shown at the Brand Library, 2nd City Art Gallery, Haroldís Gallery, Farmani Gallery, and The Atelier. He has been a participant in the Valley Studio Tour several times.

John has published quite a number of technical articles about photography. His articles have appeared in Photo Techniques, View Camera, Studio Photography and others. He has written about photographic lighting, building lenses, framing, photographic lab work, building cameras, as well as some more speculative photographic subjects. Since he is so well versed in photographic subjects, he is often hired as a consultant by businesses.