I did an engagement shoot on Monday – nothing terribly out of the ordinary with that statement. I love getting to work with our couples and take some pretty amazing pictures for them, plus it gives us a chance to blow off some steam and have fun and laugh together! Usually this type of session is easy, but what happens when camera gear doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to?! This can really make or break you as a photographer, and you need to be prepared to roll with whatever is happening – while still making it seem like you have total control… no easy feat!


What Happens When Camera Gear Doesn’t Work?

So image this: here we are, out at a gorgeous location in Pungo, the couple is ready to start shooting, I’m ready to start shooting, so I turn my camera on and get ready to fiddle with the settings. Now I always (and I mean ALWAYS) shoot in Manual – no judgement to others who shoot in different modes, but I like to have maximum control of what my camera is doing at all times. But when I turned on my camera in Manual mode, the settings said BULB mode – which means the shutter would stay open too long to get a clear picture when handholding.

No pressure – I’m a professional – I can handle anything…. right?

I started fiddling with the mode dial and no matter what setting I turned it to, there were only 3 options available to me: Program, TV, and BULB!

Keep in mind, I’m still trying to calmly chat with the clients and not (outwardly) freak out over the fact that my camera is malfunctioning.

succulent plants

At this point, I am confidant that there is nothing that can be done about the camera situation, so I started thinking about what my options were from that point: run home and get another camera, reschedule the shoot for a different day, or try and make it work. In case you were wondering, I chose option C!

I turned the camera to TV mode where you have control of the ISO and Shutter Speed, but the camera controls the F-Stop. I’m not going to lie, it definitely took some getting used to in order to make that setting work for me. Usually I use pretty low F-Stop (like 3.5 or lower), and it was a whole new challenge not being able to set my F-Stop and still create an image that is consistent with my work.

The good news is that I was able to make it work, and we were able to create some amazing pictures for my clients. And the best part? They never had any idea something was wrong. So if this happens to you, what happens when camera gear doesn’t work? Here are a few bullet points to help you through the scenario:

  • Stay Calm!!! If you aren’t freaking out (at least not outwardly), your clients won’t either.
  • Analyze your Options – what can you do based on the present circumstances?
  • Make a Plan and Go for It!

Even if things don’t go exactly as you planned, it is still possible to salvage the session and create some great images. Don’t believe me? Check out this awesome photo that we did at Lauren and Kyle’s session (you know, the one where my camera didn’t work)!

PS: I sent my camera back to Canon yesterday, they’re going to get my gear fixed and get it back to me so I can keep rocking and rolling. Gotta love that CPS Membership!

Blue Pete's Restaurant Engagement Shoot


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