September 30, 2014, 10:03:44 AM

Author Topic: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs  (Read 3565 times)

DCM1024

  • Guest
The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« on: February 06, 2013, 04:10:33 PM »
I have been reading the recent thread "Emergency Wedding" and thought it would be a good idea to talk about the incidence/likelihood of equipment failure at paid gigs. I know a number of people advised the OP to have a backup body available. It is excellent advice that I hope he will take to heart.

I take excellent care of my gear, which is usually purchased new. However, I still experienced two major equipment failures in 2012.

The first occurred at a boudoir shoot, when the Skyport trigger failed. I replaced the battery, no help. I attempted to use the studio owner's Pocket Wizard, no luck. Finally, in desperation, I pulled out my 7D, engaged the built-in flash and used that to trigger the strobes. The camera was tethered to my laptop and the client (a photographer herself) was happy with the results. Now this seems to be a shoot that could be rescheduled, but there would be expenses incurred which would move this from a modestly profitable shoot to a possible loss. Specific expenses would include the possibility of having to pay studio rental again, plus the client had paid for her hair and makeup to be professionally prepared. It turned out that the Skyport trigger had indeed failed, and it was promptly replaced by Elinchrom under their two year warranty.

The second failure occurred at a wedding, using a two day old 5D2. No problem during pre-ceremony, ceremony, formals. At the reception, I noticed that I was sometimes getting correctly exposed images but I was also getting images that were totally blown out to white with no detail. I had no way of knowing whether the problem was with the body or the flash, and there was no time to try to resolve an issue. I just packed it up and once again pulled out the 7d which I used the rest of the night. The bride never knew that anything had gone wrong, so the rest of the evening remained a time of relaxed celebration for them. Canon repaired the 5d2 immediately and it has never presented another problem.

I hope this post helps anyone considering taking on paid jobs without having back up gear. Have a great day.

Debbie

canon rumors FORUM

The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« on: February 06, 2013, 04:10:33 PM »

ChilledXpress

  • Guest
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 05:54:23 PM »
It is enevitable... when paid, that at least something is forgotten or fails on you. Especially seems to happen at weddings. The CF card that is bulletproof has a write error, someone knocks over the strobe and it breaks a bulb, the 7D starts up with Error 30, that battery that was charged drained for some reason,  etc...

This is the main reason why the so much loved 50 1.4 will never be carried in my bag again, great lens that always takes a focus mechainsm crap when you need it the most (it has happened twice). More than 2 bodies, tons of CF, extra batteries, extra assistants (for the flaky)... par for the course these days! Lived and learned ;)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 06:01:51 PM by ChilledXpress »

bvukich

  • Spam Assassin
  • Administrator
  • 5D Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 733
    • View Profile
    • My (sparse) ZenFolio Site
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 06:02:52 PM »
It is enevitable...

Death, taxes...  and hardware failure.

If you don't have backup equipment and a solid contingency plan, please don't take paid gigs that are of any importance.  All it takes is one clown to botch a wedding for photographers as a whole to get a bad name in the eyes of an entire family.

Arkarch

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 180
    • View Profile
    • Karl Buiter Photography
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 06:34:47 PM »
Backup gear is an excellent investment.

My story does not involve a paid gig; but a group photo gig I paid $$$ for - in particular a steam railroad roundhouse evening event and following canyon day event out in the cold and snow.  I set up my 7D and 70-200 2.8 on a large metal plate - thinking that was level and stable.  Then I turned to fetch something in the bag and accidentally discovered a pivot point "hole" under the metal plate, sending my rig backwards into a pile of metal scrap.  Thought everything survived - but as I quickly discovered a hole in the body that wiped out my CF Reader (and later discovered a scuff that warped the focus ring on the long lens) - all before I got my first shot off. 

Fortunately another photographer had a third camera - a T2I - that I was able to use for the weekend.  I was fortunate - but without that I would be down the event cost plus lodging costs plus travel costs.

I sometimes wonder what I would have done if this was a paid gig.  You just cant tell the client - sorry, I dont have a camera.  IMHO, any paying gig requires two camera bodies plus a mix of lenses. 


I now have a full frame 5DIII that pairs well with my repaired APC-C 7D - and both come with me on any significant trip.  And if for some reason someone gets in a bind, maybe I can pay the prior favor forward.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 06:42:28 PM by Arkarch »
Landscape ( http://www.buiterphotography.com )
Motorsports ( http://www.buitermotorsports.com )
5DIII, 7D, EF 300/2.8 II IS USM, ZE 21/2.8, ZE 50/2 ZE 100/2, TS-E 24/3.5, EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM II, EF 24-105 IS f/4, TC 1.4 III, TC 2.0 III

V8Beast

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 978
    • View Profile
    • Stephen Kim Automotive Photography
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 06:37:21 PM »
I've only suffered one body failure of the years, when the mirror fell of my 5DC, but between the bodies, glass, flashes, remote triggers, tripods, light stands, etc. something is bound the fail sooner or later. I try to keep the quantity of gear I carry around to a minimum, but it's simple math: the more gear you have and the more gigs you take on, the greater the potential for equipment failure. It's not always catastrophic, but at the very least if will make your miserable during a shoot :)

Seanlucky

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 06:55:36 PM »
To the OP, I would ALWAYS recommend having not just one, but a pair of hard sync cables as a backup for triggering your strobes. They're cheap, take up almost no room in your bag, and are a simple solution.

But regarding the general purpose of the thread, I'm huge on always having backup for everything.

risc32

  • 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 483
    • View Profile
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 07:02:27 PM »
I have the same exp as you at weddings chilledxpress. Someone tracks me down nearly every wedding i work, and the story is pretty much just as you described. one camera, one or two lenses, a flash, a website, and maybe a few months shooting, time to turn pro! Sometimes it's an uncle or grandfather who just want to have a little chat, and that's cool, but many times it's someone about my age(35) or younger ready to go big.

I also won't get a canon 50mm 1.4 due to all that i've heard about it's reliability.

Actually, i have a much larger peeve.... time to start a new thread.
   

canon rumors FORUM

Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 07:02:27 PM »

ChilledXpress

  • Guest
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 07:06:19 PM »
I have the same exp as you at weddings chilledxpress. Someone tracks me down nearly every wedding i work, and the story is pretty much just as you described. one camera, one or two lenses, a flash, a website, and maybe a few months shooting, time to turn pro! Sometimes it's an uncle or grandfather who just want to have a little chat, and that's cool, but many times it's someone about my age(35) or younger ready to go big.

I also won't get a canon 50mm 1.4 due to all that i've heard about it's reliability.

Actually, i have a much larger peeve.... time to start a new thread.
 

So I'm not alone ;)  I'm more than happy to talk to anyone about cameras and photography, grandpa/ma and uncles/aunts are fine asking about gear for documenting the family.

Yea, You get flamed here when you knock the 50's for a 50L but it's an "L" for a reason and why it sells.

Looking to see your new thread!!!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 07:10:28 PM by ChilledXpress »

V8Beast

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 978
    • View Profile
    • Stephen Kim Automotive Photography
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 07:13:09 PM »
I have the same exp as you at weddings chilledxpress. Someone tracks me down nearly every wedding i work, and the story is pretty much just as you described. one camera, one or two lenses, a flash, a website, and maybe a few months shooting, time to turn pro! Sometimes it's an uncle or grandfather who just want to have a little chat, and that's cool, but many times it's someone about my age(35) or younger ready to go big.

I venture to guess that every photog, regardless of what you shoot, goes through this experience all the time. When I shoot a car, it's usually just me, the car owner, and a couple of his buddies serving as makeshift assistants. Even out of a group that small, there's at least one person that wants to talk about camera gear, and how he/she aspires to turn pro. The funny thing is, 99% of the time the conversation revolves around gear, not technique.

DCM1024

  • Guest
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 07:17:44 PM »
To the OP, I would ALWAYS recommend having not just one, but a pair of hard sync cables as a backup for triggering your strobes. They're cheap, take up almost no room in your bag, and are a simple solution.

But regarding the general purpose of the thread, I'm huge on always having backup for everything.

Thank you, that's a good suggestion. I did purchase a 2nd more elaborate Skyport but the hard sync cables would work great "just in case". The studio and I use the same strobes, so I always take my own and leave them in the car. A tube could always blow, and the studio owner typically is not there, so I'm on my own.

ChilledXpress

  • Guest
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 07:39:20 PM »
I have the same exp as you at weddings chilledxpress. Someone tracks me down nearly every wedding i work, and the story is pretty much just as you described. one camera, one or two lenses, a flash, a website, and maybe a few months shooting, time to turn pro! Sometimes it's an uncle or grandfather who just want to have a little chat, and that's cool, but many times it's someone about my age(35) or younger ready to go big.

I venture to guess that every photog, regardless of what you shoot, goes through this experience all the time. When I shoot a car, it's usually just me, the car owner, and a couple of his buddies serving as makeshift assistants. Even out of a group that small, there's at least one person that wants to talk about camera gear, and how he/she aspires to turn pro. The funny thing is, 99% of the time the conversation revolves around gear, not technique.

I actually love to talk about gear and techniques... I'm here in this forum. Even with aspiring photogs.

It's the ones that haved moved on from aspiring to active "pro" after 28 days with a rebel that worry me  ::)

For more of that just head over to the thread "Emergency wedding, of sorts."
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 07:43:43 PM by ChilledXpress »

V8Beast

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 978
    • View Profile
    • Stephen Kim Automotive Photography
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 08:14:42 PM »
I actually love to talk about gear and techniques... I'm here in this forum. Even with aspiring photogs.

I don't mind talking gear as long as the person I'm speaking with realizes that gear is just part of the equation. Lots of people I run into wonder why their new Rebel isn't producing images any better than their iPhone, and conclude that if they had a 1Dx they'd be ready to turn pro.

Mt Spokane Photography

  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 8746
    • View Profile
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 08:41:58 PM »
Out of 20 or more bodies, I've never had a failure, but I still take a backup with me to important shoots, even if its my wife's G1X.
They day I don't have a backup is the day my main camera will fail.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 08:41:58 PM »

curtisnull

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 89
    • View Profile
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 08:58:50 PM »
Having a backup for everything is what separates the men from the boys, or the pros from the amateurs. Not that you have to have a duplicate of everything, but always a second body, extra batteries, extra flash, extra lenses.

If my 24-105 were to fail, I can get by using my 17-40 or my 70-200. If my flash remote fails, I can use a wired trigger. Or like someone said, use the pop up flash on the 7D for a trigger.

Always have a backup plan.
1Dx••5D3••300/2.8L IS II••135/2L••100/2.8L IS Macro••24/1.4L II••70-200/2.8L IS II••24-70/2.8L II••17-40/4 L••600EX-RT••lots more Canon stuff.

bycostello

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 910
    • View Profile
    • London Weddings
Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 09:15:11 PM »
never had a problem yet... but equally i would never go to a wedding with just 1 camera...

canon rumors FORUM

Re: The need for backup equipment for paid jobs
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 09:15:11 PM »