5 min read

Camera Maintenance Advice that Every Beginner Must Know

5 min read

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camera gear and accessories maintenance

There is probably nothing more infuriating as the slightest of inconvenience. Be that a runny nose for the doctor or getting stuck in traffic for a tinge of Chipotle for the driver. But wait, there seems to be one for the photographer—malfunctioning camera equipment. 

Your camera and associated equipment are bound to malfunction if you don’t take proper care of them. If longevity is what you seek, and malfunction is what you despise, keep the following in mind. Here is some camera maintenance advice that everyone should know—especially if you are a beginner. 

1. Dust is Your Enemy 

Perhaps the most basic rule of them all—at all costs, keep dust at bay. The simplest aspect that amateur photographers fail to understand is that cleaning and maintenance are as important as taking that shot, capturing that moment. 

Fret not, for now you know. Dust is a known enemy of the electrical device, and you have to make it a point to ensure that it stays afar from your equipment. Invest in good-quality cleaning material. Be it a soft brush or a manually operated air blower—invest in a good quality cleaning apparatus. 

You can obviously also find alternatives like microfibres that you use for your spectacles, but as long as you ensure periodic cleaning, you should be good to go. 

2. Conserve that Battery 

Oftentimes as a beginner, you might not realize how electrically taxing it can be to run and operate a camera, that too for long hours. Sure, there are newer battery technologies on the horizon, but those will take time to be implemented in precise devices like cameras. Which means conserve your energies. 

A good way to implement this is to turn off your electrical viewfinders when you are not using your camera. While external flashes work on separate batteries, for the most part, ensure that you have the appropriate toggles there too. The other major battery-draining element is your autofocus system—bid that an immediate goodbye and see massive battery longevity. 

You can also consider turning off image stabilization, especially if you are not shooting videos per se or if you have steadier hands. Sure, while the latter requirement might require you to take classes to be more dexterous, the former clause is pretty pragmatic.

3. Use Protection While Swapping

You need to be very protective about where you change or swap lenses. While you might know the intricacies of the camera lens, what you might not place into account is the role of gravity here. 

What do we mean by this, you might ask? When you are swapping lenses according to your environment, place your camera at an angle. Sure, while gravity has its own sets of benefits in keeping you grounded (bad joke alert), it is pretty deleterious if it is the same reason why dust swoops into your camera. 

Additionally, while swapping lenses, be extremely wary about the fact that you should avoid making physical contact while detaching the electronic parts of the lens. This becomes extremely quintessential as it can hasten your camera’s senescence by years. 

While you are changing your lenses, make sure to do it in a protective environment too. You can use your shirt or apparel to do so if you are outdoors, but it would be wiser if you did the same in your camera bag. Get a bigger pair of bags now, will you?

photographer outdoor

4. Insure to Ensure

For someone who is a beginner but wants to venture into the spheres of capturing moments, you ought to ensure its safety and longevity too. It is pretty common that your camera might come across natural abrasions if you indulge in external photography or more anthropogenic causes such as theft and vandalism—insure to ensure. 

Sure, but do companies actually have camera coverage? The answer is an astounding yes. In fact, you can also cover your gear along with your camera itself. While some providers cover it under homeowner’s or renter’s policies, there are a lot more specific coverages that you can obviously do your homework on.

The point is, if you want to ensure a long-lasting effect of your photos on your viewers, you also have to ensure the same for your equipment and gear. Remember, once your files are lost, those become only a figment of your imagination—something that you can possibly never recover. Be smart, because insurance is assurance. 

5. Silica Gels

For the photographers who tend to take shots in perilous conditions, this becomes a must. If you happen to be an amateur photographer who is looking forward to the floral aspects during monsoons, ensure to carry silica gels in your camera bag. 

The science behind it is pretty astounding, though. These small packets will not only hold their own in terms of water-holding stances, but also ensure that your equipment is protected from getting drenched. As an amateur photographer, you cannot afford to ascertain technical issues in your equipment. Taking as many precautions should be your utmost priority, and silica gels ensure that goes a long way.

The only thing to keep in mind regarding silica gels is their potential toxicity. It is recommended that you refrain from opening such sachets, as the potential toxicity can be across both respiratory as well as neurological. Just keep them in the said protective casings, and you should be good to go. 

6. Rains are Your Greatest Foe

Continuing with the idea of rains and you taking the best shot during monsoons, you absolutely have to invest in good rain gear as well as other protective means to ensure minimum risk to your equipment. 

As an amateur photographer, we do not expect you to have the greatest means to replace or repair— and pragmatically, you should not either. Having the most appropriate rain gear is something you should be concerned about for the most part, and rain gear would be here to save the day. 

When it comes to rain gear, the two things you should ideally look into are a rain sleeve and a camera bag. The rain sleeve would be there to serve to act as a ziplock of sorts for your lenses and camera in general, and the camera bag would be there to ensure the safe and sound packaging of your camera equipment when you are taking shots outside.

To Conclude

Now that this article has shed some light (pun intended) into your insight, you will not be making amateur mistakes at all. You might as well claim to be a professional, for you are more than halfway there already—as long as you keep the aforementioned ideas in mind.

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Catherine Gaither is a professional photographer and bioarchaeologist. She has traveled the world photographing archaeological sites and artifacts, and studying human physical remains. She has written numerous professional publications. She continues to work as a forensic consultant and author.
Catherine Gaither is a professional photographer and bioarchaeologist. She has traveled the world photographing archaeological sites and artifacts, and studying human physical remains. She has written numerous professional publications. She continues to work as a forensic consultant and author.

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