Quick Tips

This edition of Sharp Shooter's Tips is going to focus exclusively on tiny tips; simple ideas to make your job easier that don't require a lot of explanation.

• Glue a small circular level atop your camera where you can see it. This makes it easier to keep the horizon horizontal when shooting with the camera in your lap or on the ground.

• Use the earbuds that came with your iPod for monitoring audio more closely than the camera's built-in speaker allows.

• Number your camera batteries and use them in sequence. This prevents one from becoming an orphan at the bottom of your bag and helps ensure that each gets charged after use.

• Place a small tab of colored tape on a battery when it is fully charged; this makes it even easier to keep track of which ones are dead and which aren't. If you want to get really fancy, use a Sharpie to jot the date on the tape. Just don't place the tape over the battery contacts unless you want to see what a little leftover adhesive will do to electrical contacts.

• A strip of tape over the little plastic tab that protect the terminals of bulk-packed, 9 V batteries keeps the tab in place and the battery from shorting out and discharging before you are ready to use it. Batteries that come in blister-packs or small boxes should stay in their original containers for the same reason.

• When you're shooting available light, slip a few sheets of white paper, poster board or even foamcore atop the table or lectern to provide a gentle facial fill for shadows thrown by overhead lighting fixtures.