Spring Cleaning Tips for Photographers
Peter Lik and the LIK USA team share some simple spring cleaning tips for your camera and gear
When you spend your whole life – day after day after day – dedicated to capturing and sharing the most beautiful places on earth, there is barely a moment to spare. Yet, even photographer (and proud workaholic), Peter Lik, makes sure to take time out every year to do a little “spring cleaning.” For Peter, there is no room for error when lining up to shoot that epic sunset over Maui, or that perfect ripple formation on Lake Tahoe. All of the Artist’s valuable gear, from tripods to card-readers, needs to be prepped and in excellent working condition. While begrudgingly cleaning out your junk-filled basement, or throwing away your ridiculously large stack of old birthday cards in the coming weeks, this is also the perfect time of year to go over your technical inventory and get ready to capture the incoming warmth of spring. Read below for a few tips that might help you get things in order:
The Camera Bag “Purge”
Assuming you have an actual passion for photography, one that transcends the world of selfie-obsessed millennials and braggarts on Instagram, you most likely keep all of your precious camera gear packed neatly in a decent storage bag with solid padding and various compartments. You do, don’t you? Well, it’s time to empty it out and take stock of what you are working with. After you have very carefully removed the bag’s contents, try not to be disgusted by all the dust, hair (yuck), and crumbs that have accumulated over the year. Just grab a hand vacuum and don’t look back until the job is done. *This is also a good time to charge your batteries if necessary.
Dusting Off the Gear
No instrument in your arsenal is immune from tiny particles, lint, and finger marks that seem to build up over time – no matter how anal-retentive you might be. As every professional photographer will tell you, the only way to wipe down your camera is to use compressed air or fine microfiber cloths, which are cheap and can be easily purchased at many stores that sell home goods. Stay away from rags, paper towels, and whatever you do, DO NOT use any cleaning solvents (save the Fantastic for your basement.) For lenses, most professional cleaning kits work well, and can be found online with tons of helpful reviews *You may want to give your sensors a cleaning, although there are services that will do this for you. Aside from procuring quality swabs or blowers, you will need to use extreme caution, as this is one of the most delicate areas of your camera. Click here for an online step-by-step.
Another year has gone by, plenty of time for the fast-paced photography industry to release a hundred upgrades and innovations that may make some of your aging equipment appear on the geriatric side. Whatever you will no longer need, or wish to replace, can easily become for-sale items on various sites, such as eBay and Craigslist. Use your profits towards that fisheye lens you have been dreaming about or for renting equipment you will only need for specific shoots. Perhaps take note of your gear’s overall value, and if you haven’t yet, consider getting the more expensive items insured – especially if you plan on shooting a lot in the upcoming months. Finally, are you missing anything? Where did you put that memory card???? NEVER assume it’s all there. Before you finish up, make sure you have created a detailed list that you can reference without having to dig around in your bag in the future.
Don’t Forget About Your Cluttered Hard Drive or Your Metadata
Along with the rest of your gear, the hard drive requires just as much maintenance and care. All those blank, uncategorized, and repetitive images are doing nothing but taking up valuable space you will need for your masterworks. And you can certainly get rid of those pics of your insane ex-boyfriend (doesn’t he still owe you money?). Once you’ve done your deleting, be sure to back up your entire catalog; you never know when a “crash” is just around the corner. Finally, update your copyright info an all cameras and make sure the dates and times are set correctly (especially if you have moved to a different time zone). You may also need to account for daylight savings.