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All right children, settle down. Uncle Dick is going to tell you how you can have fun on a rainy day with your camera. First go to the camera cupboard and get the equipment out. Then have a good look at it.
a. Is it covered in bits of fluff, cat hair, and Doritos crumbs?
You can spend the morning with a soft cloth, some cotton buds, and possibly a wet wipe. Do not open the camera - gently get all the external crud off it. Then go look into your gadget bag or camera box and see where the gunge came from in the first place. Vacuum, sponge, and brush as necessary to expunge the demons. If you find old film tab ends that say Kodachrome A you might consider doing this sort of maintenance a bit more often.
b. Is the battery dead? Try charging it. If the charger refuses to do anything investigate whether it will boost your spare battery. Some chargers cannot recognise a battery that has been left to go too flat - seeing it as a foreign body. Don't despair - Camera Electronic service department can run a boost charge into your battery that may throw it over into the living again - and then you carry on as before, but with a little more diligence, eh? The best time to get your battery resurrected is during a thunderstorm. Bring it to the service desk and ask for Igor. He'll open the roof and raise it on the table into the elements.
c. Is your lens green? Should it be? Unless you bought a Swedish Army Leica, a green lens is not a good sign. Mould can affect many things and unless they are made of Danish cheese you are in trouble. This is a job for Igor at CE and he will assess whether your lens can be cleaned. In many cases, yes. The storage conditions that breed mould are warmth, dampness, and darkness. Also an infected piece of equipment contaminating everything else. If you've been in the tropics consider having the lens and camera cleaning done as a prophylaxis.
d. Is that the same gadget bag you had when you were courting? Will it last until your 50th anniversary? Will you? Yes, we hope, but consider whether a new bag is in oder. The older faux-leather boxes were bad then and time has not improved them. If your gadget bag is a Benser or Pelican case you may ignore this, but Dubbin the Benser just the same.
e. The roads may be flooded ( and if you are reading this in Claremont or Subiaco substitute " will " for " may ". ) but the internet still works. Dial up CE and order some new gear. The staff are all good swimmers and they'll get the goods to you.
f. If you are anything like this writer you have more possessions than you need. Sell some of them - or give them away - or dump them on someone's verge in the dead of night and run away. In the case of the first option, investigate the local sales apps on your tablet or mobile phone. Provided you are not horrified by humanity, you can often do a good deal with these.
The best sales will be made with good pictures of the items. If you've never thought of yourself as a product shooter, now is the time - it can bring money to your pocket. And you can bring it down to us at CE and spend it on new gear. But for the start, try for some attractive shots.
A good backdrop is 50% of the task done. Superior paper rolls ( CE ) in 11 metre by 2.75 or 1.35 metre size are not cheap, but they can be the very best backdrop for small product. White is fine, light grey better. Pastels can be fine, but beware of strong colours - they can put customers off at first sight. Light it as well as you can - even direct flash is fine if you can diffuse it a little - and try for an accurate colour balance. Your tablet may do this well if you can provide a source of steady light. Again, CE can supply LED panels that are perfect for this sort of illustration.
If you find the tablet or phone a little hard to hold while doing illustration, consider one of the dedicated Joby clamps for it - they'll attach to a tripod and free you up for stylist work on the table. Remember that a good sales picture will boost the price you can ask for the goods. If you are worried about the shooting, do it in RAW but remember that you'll be doing extra work before you can get it to the jpeg size for an ad. I choose a small jpeg with a vivid colour rendition and a boosted sharpness for my ads - and they work very well.