Preparation: Basic Tips When Going Out to Take Pictures

Here are some things to consider before going out to take pictures.

Batteries and charger

Take your camera charger with you. Especially if you are going to travel.

Get an extra battery. If you can buy an extra battery, do it. I’ve been in trips where I’ve been shooting all day, thousands of shots and then an indicator of low battery starts blinking telling me that soon I won’t be able to take any more pictures. Fortunately an extra battery has saved the rest of my day. And if possible, charge the empty battery while using the spare one.

Tripod or monopod

Do you need one? These are great if you will be using a long telephoto lens or if you plan to take pictures at night.

If you don’t know what a tripod and/or a monopod is you should read this section, otherwise, please jump to the next section.


Tripods are 3 legged stands used as platforms for your camera. They are used to keep cameras still or in firm and stable motion. When using telephoto lenses you most likely will need one of these, especially for very long distance subjects.

Example of a tripod:

Tripods are best used for pictures with very slow shutter speed options (you will learn about shutter speed soon in this blog). It is also great for group shots where you would like yourself to be included. Good for nature shots, studios, and night shooting. They are widely used.

A tripod is very stable for any shooting environment. It can be adapted to most types of grounds. Not only that you’ll be able to customize the extensions of the legs to your shooting environment so it stays even on uneven surfaces.

Some people don’t like tripods though. For them it is because they take some time to deploy all three legs. They may be heavy in some cases and they can take space when the legs are extended.


The monopod is similar in use to a tripod, however, it has only one leg. Yes, it is like a stick. Monopods are not as stable as tripods, but they also help prevent or minimize camera shake for stills and videos. A monopod is easier to arrange, a lot lighter compared to the tripods, and it takes less space.

Example of a monopod:

Monopods are not necessarily better than tripods, they are less stable than tripods.

Take many pictures

Sometimes subjects or surroundings change. The more this happens the more pictures of your subject you should take. If you are taking pictures of someone who is going to jump into a lake, get ready and take pictures one after the other of all the sequence. If your camera has continuous shooting then leave the shutter button pressed down for some short actions. Don’t hesitate. It is easier to delete all the pictures you don’t want and keep one or two than recreate the action to capture the picture you want. Pictures are free, and don’t worry about space, you can always delete those that you don’t like later. Some of my best pictures have been taken this way.

Look at your pictures later

Some photographers would say “don’t chimp”. This is a common phrase used among some photographers. It comes from the word chimpanzee. A chimpanzee would be jumping, pointing, and acting excited when looking at things. Some people would act that way right after taking a picture and immediately looking at their LCD screen to see the picture. Please don’t do that. It’s okay looking at one picture once in a while just to make sure you have the right settings, but looking at each single picture means missing important opportunities in front of you. Imagine you see a deer, you take a picture, and while you are looking at that picture, the deer makes a graceful exit jumping some logs here and there. You would have missed taken those shots. The same goes for so many other circumstances. I can also think of a wedding, imagine the bride is about to throw the bouquet, you take a shot, look at your camera to see your photo and then the bouquet goes on the air and it’s grabbed by… who? who knows, you were looking at your camera.

Get extra memory cards

Yes, pictures are free, but you never know when you will have the time to download them all and/or erase the ones you don’t want. It is for that reason that you would greatly benefit from some extra memory cards. Try to get those with larger capacity. A 2GB memory card probably won’t be enough for all what you want to do, especially if you take pictures in the native picture formats (we will talk about picture formats in this blog).

Memory cards are extremely important. Don’t go out without several of them. In case one if full, you can always take out an extra one. The good news is that memory cards are getting cheaper with time. You can see some examples of memory cards and prices right below so you have an idea how accessible they are.

Cases and bags

It is good to have a case or a bag for your camera, and for your lenses if you have them. Cameras can be really expensive and you probably don’t want to scratch or break them. Moreover, you don’t want to be always seen with a camera. Besides bags are also a practical way to carry them around, right? However, I tend to carry my camera out and ready for pictures. In my case it is a worthwhile risk, I have taken some good pictures because my camera has been already out. But I still use a case, especially when I don’t want to take more pictures (yes, it happens sometimes).

Here are some samples of cases and bags. You can click on any image if you want to see the name of the product, description, reviews, price and more.

You will actually need to decide for yourself how much of the time your camera will be in your bag and how much out of it. If you camera is in your bag, it will take you longer to pull it out to take spontaneous shots. You may even feel like thinking twice whether a picture is worth the effort to grab your bag and pull your camera out. In other circumstances you may want to keep it safe because of the place or circumstances you are in at the moment such as in dangerous cities and neighborhoods, during unexpected storms, swimming, mowing the lawn, etc.


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