Twenty+ Years of Architecture and Large Format HABS/HAER Photography taught me this:
My top 12 gear lessons learned exposing thousands of 4x5 and 5x7 sheets for work:
• I always use a geared head.
• I have a cable release on every lens.
• I have a LEE filter ring on every lens (for 100mm glass filters).
• The edges of my lens boards are color coded so I can recognize a lens from color and so can my assistant. (White=55, Yellow=72, Black=90, Magenta= 120, Green=180) (300 and 450 are black but on a separate long camera)
• I Put a carpenter's nail bag on my tripod that fits filters or a meter or whatever.
• I use a film-pouch that holds 2-3 film holders clipped to the tripod to keep them out of the light while I get ready (this is a 10" laptop pouch, but finding one that zips on the top is tricky).
• I put a Post-it note on my ground glass every time I execute a swing or tilt (so I remember to zero my camera for my next photo)
• I no longer hit my film holders with the bare side of my dust brush, I now have wrapped the brush with a multiple layers of electrical tape. (I have many old, dented holders from back at Brooks)
• I put cold shoes all over my camera to hold flags and accessories.
• I wrapped my bellows with an extra white fabric wrap to keep it cooler and protect my bellows from getting skewered by a branch, etc. (I'm trademarking it the BellowsCondom)
• I often travel with a Burro. (Or a wagon will do)
• I always wear an orange surveyors safety-vest and have an orange dark-cloth to stand in the street and look official. (less important for portrait and boudoir shooters)(The surveyors vests have a huge pouch on the back that is perfect for the dark cloth)
Most of these tips come from my on-location HABS/HAER photo workflow where I will capture 20 to 30 views a day.
These tips won't be for everyone, not for every genre, probably not relevant in the studio.
PS: If you have never heard of HABS, check out the Historic American Buildings Survey collection at the Library of Congress here: [just search your town or county or a landmark like Golden Gate Bridge
I'm looking forward to your opinions and observations and I hope to pick up some more tricks from all of you!
Read responses in largeformatphotography.info