I take it for granted, but there is one camera accessory that I carry in my camera bag that has played a central role to my photographic success. The accessory until now was a secret, but I thought after a couple of recent photo trips that I’d share it with those that read my blog. Now that I’ve built up a little anticipation here is why I decided to reveal this secret accessory…
1. It is central to my ability get the right exposure.
2. I use it quite frequently before, after and during photo shoots.
3. It’s often overlooked by a majority of photographers never making it into their camera bag.
4. It’s worth thousands of times its weight
Any guess to what it might be?
Plain and simple it’s my camera user manual.
As the proverb goes “knowledge is power”. Nothing could be more true here in relation to photography. My ability to capture a correct exposure is tied directly to my understanding of my camera body and its functions. With out a solid understanding or knowledge of these functions I’m limiting my creative options.
More times than not before a photo shoot I’ll review key functionality outlined in my camera user manual. Often I’ll have particular types of photos in mind and to be sure I’ll be successful in capturing them I’ll strengthen my memory of these key functions and how to best employ them. We’re often overwhelmed with a laundry list of technical specifications and functions when we read about camera gear and often forget about some of the lesser hyped functions over time. Camera functions to a photographer are the equivalent brush types to a painter. Creating a masterpiece requires awareness to the tools available to you and the knowledge of how to best use them.
Strangely as important as this document is most photographers don’t bother to review it let alone carry it with them. In fact not only do I carry my camera user manual with me on trips I’ll often include the user manual to other equipment that I might use such as my flash or cable release/intervalometer. If I’m going to bother to bring and carry equipment with me then I can’t afford to not know how to use it.
You may be asking, “But is carrying your camera user manual in your camera bag really worth the extra weight?” The answer is “Absolutely!” If I’m concerned about weight or worse water then I’ll leave the manual behind in my tent, hotel room or car, but not before reviewing it the night before. Having equipment only goes so far. Knowing how to use that equipment to capture the best photo possible is critical. If you’re going to spend money, time and effort to get to a location to capture a truly magical scene why risk missing the shot because of a few additional ounces of weight?
[tags]photography, best practice, user manual, secret, camera, accessory, camera bag, [/tags]