When I dedicate a weekend to just making photos, I try to make it as easy as possible to prepare. First, I come up with an idea of where to shoot, check the weather, pre-visualize, and prepare the necessary equipment such as memory cards and batteries before the day of the outing.
I’ve run into many situations where I arrive to the location and have forgotten an important piece of equipment; Batteries, memory card, lens filter.Even though my shooting locations are nearby 10-45 minutes away, I never bring myself to head back home to pick up the missing equipment and go back out to shoot. I just change my game plan and sometimes I will walk away with a nice photo.
I’ve created a process to help reduce those instances and help me become a better planner and photographer.
I use a free app called Microsoft OneNote for iOS that has the ability to create a check list. I thought I’d share my checklist and how I pack my gear to offer some suggestions to others who may have experienced the forgetfulness that I once did.
This list works for about 90% of my shooting situations. However, it’s easy to add different lists in OneNote under different tabs for various shooting situations. Below is my set up for landscape and wildlife photo trips.
Screen shot of the Microsoft OneNote app screen:
I have the ability to check each item off as I’m packing. Before I leave my location, I go over the list to make sure that everything that was checked is still in the backpack and nothing is left behind.
Below is the complete list of the gear I take for most landscape and wildlife photos and a photo of how I pack it. You can also make a printable copy from OneNote for those that like hard copies.
Printable Checklist from Microsoft OneNote
Gear after packing:
(The tripod fits in two straps under the backpack)
I’ve stopped bringing lens covers with me because they are easy to misplace while out in the field and that leads to unnecessary re-purchases. I also keep silica gel packets in all of my camera bags to absorb moisture. You can purchase them from EBay at a really low cost.
I’m sure later on down the road my process will change. In the mean time, I have found this to be very beneficial to me and I hope that you have gotten some ideas on how to create your own process for planning.