For a photographer, their camera and other equipment is their weapon, their tool of the trade. We’ve said before that data is our most important capital, but without the camera, there is no data. So as photographers, it’s very important for us to take care of our photography gear and keep them in good shape. This is one of the things that separates the professional from the amateur. A smudge on your lens or a spot on your sensor can ruin an image or increase post-production time. Careless use of the camera near water or keeping it in humid conditions can reduce its life. If your camera works, you work.
We don’t talk a lot about taking care of our photography gear, so this time we thought we would take this opportunity. And talk about some do’s and don’ts, best practices to keep your gear in good shape so that you can make the best of it in your work. If you haven’t thought about cleaning your gear or where you store it or how you treat it while you’re shooting, we hope this post will give your thoughts a kickstart. Let’s get started!
#1 Get your gear professionally cleaned
You don’t have to do it after every shoot. But it’s important to get your camera and lenses cleaned every few months. Of course, if you’ve just shot on the beach or a typical Indian haldi holi, you should clean your gear as soon as you’re back to your studio after the shoot. But be very careful while cleaning so as to not cause more damage. We have some DIY cleaning tips for you later in this post, so be sure to check that out if you want to clean your own gear every now and then.
At Twogether Studios, we use mostly FujiFilm cameras. And one of the perks to being a Fuji brand ambassador is that they arrange a service camp every few months in our office and clean our gear. Even if that doesn’t happen, we would still be happy to send our equipment to the service centre every now and then.
#2 Use a dry cabinet to store gear
When you’re shooting and not shooting, or travelling, where is your gear? Are you storing them properly to safeguard against humidity, dust or the wear-and-tear of travel? The answers to these questions are very important in determining the life of your gear.
At Twogether Studios, we store our cameras and lenses in a dry-cabinet that controls humidity and temperature and is dust-proof. But if you cannot for some reason get a dry cabinet, try and find a place that is dust and humidity free. And where your camera or lens won’t be knocked off with a careless hand. You can even make a DIY dry box by using a big airtight plastic container and silica gel packets.
#3 Protect against physical damage
When you’re travelling for your assignments, use good quality camera bags that provide protection from a few hits and bumps on the road. If you are shooting in a crowded street or on the dance floor or perhaps a haldi with all the family members squeezing in and running around, like it always happens at an Indian wedding, use your lens hood to prevent scratches and fingerprint marks. When shooting on the dance floor, remember to never shoot directly into the laser beams that run across. You run the risk of damaging your sensor.
Saltwater is death for the camera, so you should be extra careful when shooting on the beach. The same goes for sand on your equipment. You can use a plastic rain cover then. And although it doesn’t sound like it would do much damage, don’t leave your camera gear or bag in the direct sunlight.
#4 Push your gear… within limits
Most cameras these days are weather sealed. So they can handle a little rough handling. So be fearless while shooting and push yourself to be better. A little water, rain, champagne, or haldi won’t damage it much. The key as we said before is to take care of any dirt or smudge carefully.
But while cameras are weather-sealed, they’re not completely damage-proof. So don’t submerge your camera in the water or be careless when shooting around wet/coloured/sticky things.
#5 DYI Cleaning Tips
The best way is to use regular soft tissue with a lens cleaner solution. While shooting, resist the urge to wipe your lens with a t-shirt or tissue. Remember, dust scratches. So if you’ve got some dirt on your lens, once you’re back in the studio, use an air blower to get rid of the dust and then wipe the lens with soft tissue and lens cleaner. For the camera body or lens body, you can use a soft microfibre cloth with a lens cleaner or a multi-surface cream. Also, remember to spray the solution on the cloth first and then wipe your gear. Never directly spray the solution on your equipment.
As for your camera sensor, we suggest you don’t try doing it yourself as you can damage and ruin your camera. It’s best to leave that to the professionals and not use YouTube as the standard go-to for DIY tutorials.
Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!