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Tim has been interested in photography for many years. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology and a Master's in Environmental Science. Writing nature articles allows him to combine his interest in photography and nature into one medium.

Five Common Photography Equipment Problems That You Can Fix


Yesterday, I went and did a little nature photography at some of my favorite spots, as well as some new locations that I stumbled upon.  At one spot, I was really inspired by the location, pulled my Canon EOS 7Dout and started taking some shots.  Everything went well for the first few photos, but then, suddenly, my camera just died.  I was able to quickly get it working again (see Common Camera Problem Number One below), but it made me remember other times I’ve had minor issues and the easy resolutions.  So, here are five photography equipment problems I’ve had that were easily fixed:

1)  No power to the camera 

So, as I indicated, yesterday my camera wasn’t responding at all.  No power, nothing, nada – it just sat there staring at me.  My first thought was that my batteries had died (I have two in a battery grip), but that didn’t seem likely since they had very little use since the last charge over a week ago (I usually charge the night before, but was feeling lazy and thought they would be okay).  As I was standing there kicking myself for not charging the batteries the night before, I started thinking of other possible issues – the first thing I did was take the batteries out of the grip and they reinsert.  Still nothing.  As I was walking back to the car with the thought of going home, I started thinking – hmm, I wonder if the battery grip is making good contact.  Yup, that was the problem.  It had become slightly lose and a quick tightening and I was back in business.

Moral:  If you aren’t getting power, go through all possibilities before giving up.  (And make sure to charge your batteries the night before a shoot.)

2)  Photos over or under exposed

So, yesterday after I had fixed the problem with the battery, I drove to another spot, took a few shots, and checked them on the LCD screen.  Total blackness.  Again, my mind went to the worse case, which was that my camera was malfunctioning.  I went through the possibilities.  First, I checked that the lens was properly seated, which it was.  Then I checked the ISO and other settings and everything seemed fine.  As I was driving along, it hit me – I pulled over and checked my mode setting.  I had accidentally knocked the camera from Aperture Priority to Manual (the one thing I didn’t check) and I should have immediately discovered that with the symptoms I was experiencing.

Moral:  Check all your settings if something weird is happening.

 3)  Slipping Tripod Legs

One of the first tripods that I used had locking cams.  After awhile, it started slipping a little bit.  I just ignored it and reset it occasionally.  A while later, I mentioned it to a friend and he said “Just tighten up the screws on the cams, it’ll only take a few minutes.”  And, he was right – I just hadn’t thought of it.  After a little tightening, it was better than new.

Moral:  If you are having a minor issue, think about ways to fix it before it becomes a big issues.

4)  Camera not responding

Several years ago when I had my first DSLR, I was at a Nature Conservancy site photographing birds when suddenly, my camera stopped responding.  It was still getting power, but the buttons weren’t responding.  I was close to a very good camera shop, so I stopped by and asked if they might have a solution to the issue.  The first salesman didn’t know but the second one took one look at my camera and said “You have the power button on your battery grip turned off.  Were you trying to take vertical shots with the buttons on your grip”?  And of course, I had been.  He turned it back on and everything was fine again.  I didn’t even know it had an “on/off” switch.

Moral:  If you add a piece of equipment, read the instructions and become familiar with it before using at a photography shoot.

5)  Forgetting gear

Yesterday, I also forgot my shutter release (it was not a good day for equipment).  Luckily, I’ve done this before, so I’m very familar with the shutter time release on the Canon EOS 7D.  So, with a little navigating, I was in business, although it wasn’t as convenient.  Although this isn’t a problem with equipment itself per se, it is probably my most common problem related to equipment.

Moral:  Check that you have all your equipment before leaving the house, but also have backup plans in case you do leave something behind.

Well, that’s it for now.  Although I have a strange feeling there will be more of these kinds of  list as I do more stupid stuff down the road.

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