There’s nothing worse than getting to an event and realize you forgot something. Event photographers usually (religiously) use checklists to make sure everything is ready on event day.

Here is a version of my Event Checklist, modified for photowalks (and includes a few added items for point-and-shoot camera users). Everything on the checklist seems common sense. But without running the checklist before leaving the house, you might forget something — like your tripods quick release plate (guilty).

Advance Prep:

  • Charge (or buy new) batteries for
    • Camera
    • flash
  • Clean lenses
  • Dump and Format memory cards
  • Test all equipment
  • Good walking shoes

Photowalk Packing:

  • small flashlight <- Do not forget this!
  • Camera (Bodies and lens(es))
  • Memory cards
  • Lens cleaner cloth
  • At least 1 bottle of water per 2/hours in moderate temperature
  • Baggie for gear if it rains (Wal-Mart bags)
  • Business cards (to hand to someone when you take their picture)
  • Cash money (parking, tips for street performer, etc) Can’t rely on credit cards
  • Stuff it all in a small camera bag
  • Comfortable camera strap
  • Use bug spray just before walking away from your car!
  • Optional: Flash gear
  • Tripod AND the tripod mount bracket
  • Optional: camera release cord or remote trigger

Other items suggested by fellow photowalkers:

  • camera bubble level 
  • polarizer 
  • (split) neutral density filters + holder + adapter ring 
  • remote control 
  • compass 
  • DIY flash diffuser (Cut out of a milk carton. A few weeks ago, I tried to shoot a photo of a small temple in Hong Kong, but I had to use the camera flash. Since I traveled light that day I didn’t bring the external flash. Who could have guessed I would need an external flash on a sunny day. I think I scared off the ghosts, and a flash diffuser would have helped.) 

Getting Ready, Heading Out

This isn’t a fashion show, make your walk fun and comfortable:
Pants or shorts that either stretch as you kneel down or are baggy.
If its hot: a shirt that is thin and breaths
A good hat on sunny days
Small towel for sweat

Arrive early. Important info is discussed before the walk begins, give yourself time to find parking
In hot weather, drive with your windows down!
helps lenses get used to the outside air and prevents lens fogging
helps you acclimate. If you step out of a car with the AC on high, you’ll instantly be uncomfortable.

Walking around with sunglasses on will modify color and sometimes even perspective. You might miss an interesting shot because it wasn’t clear in your sunglasses.

So print this out and tick the items off so you’ll be ready and not disappointed!

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Joe Lippeatt

Event Organizer at HoustonPhotowalks.com
Joe is a Houston-area photographer and Project Manager for the IT / Software development company 24Moves Consulting.Joe provides software, web development, SEO and marketing consulting in the day, and photography events on the weekends.
Joe Lippeatt
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