Spring is a great time to not only clean your house, but also your photo gear. After all, weddings, senior and family shoots will soon be in high demand and you want to be prepared. For the most part, it’s recommended that you clean your lenses as little as possible to decrease the risk of scratching your lens.[gap size=”5em”]
Always start by cleaning the lens with your air bulb blower. You don’t want to go right in with a cloth in case there is any debris that will scratch your lens. After you have blown out both ends of your lens, check again for any hard to remove dust or debris. After using the air blower, you can use a brush to remove any dust the air blower may have left behind. The kit I have came with some cotton swabs that I have used to “pick up” a piece of dust rather than scrub them in with my cloth. Lastly, you will want to use a microfiber cloth if your lens is still dirty. In case of hard to remove fingerprints or anything else, you may need to use alcohol. Please use caution when using alcohol and put it on your cloth rather than the lens itself for you may get too much inside and cause a bigger problem than just a little dust. I also dust out my lens caps to make sure they are free of debris and keep them on when I’m not out shooting.
Another good idea is to take a look at your filters and see if you see any dust or smudges on those and follow the steps above. Filters do not need to be cleaned as often and too much cleaning may damage the coating on the filter. Again, it’s recommended that you clean them as little as possible.
Your tripod, on the other hand, should be cleaned whenever it is dirty. If you are anything like me, mine is stuck in dirt and sand, gravel, water and mud. It’s pretty rare that it’s not even slightly dirty after using it. The best way to clean it is to extend all your legs fully and rinse it off. I usually do this in my bathtub if it’s too cold to be outside. Then I take a cloth with some mild soap to clean the remaining visible dirt off. Be sure to pay attention to any screws or areas that are covered up by the collapsible legs. If not dry, you may end up with a rusty mess. I also double check all my screws and fittings because I learned the hard way that they can become loose and fall off and leave your tripod useless while on a trip!
I take the time to clean my bag out from time to time as well. I have often put my bag down in sand, dirt and the open environment. On a windy day, a lot of dirt can end up in your bag so now is a great time to empty it out and take a vacuum to all the compartments and make sure everything is clean and free of dirt. I also wipe down the outside of the bag and check for rips or tears.
When you are all finished, make sure bag is packed with filters, memory cards, spare batteries and anything else you personally need to have a worry free shoot.