How to keep all your camera, flash and other batteries charged and organised.

Like most photographers, I currently have a seemingly endless supply of different batteries, all of which need recharging, and there’s quite a potential for mess and confusion.  A few years back I was determined to sort this out, and here’s what I did, for less than £20:

Charger 1
The magical charging station, without batteries

Shopping list:

  • A multiple socket adaptor – pick any you like, but I’d suggest spending slightly more than the basic and getting one with surge protection just to be on the safe side.  Get as many sockets as you think you’ll need, plus maybe one or two more!
  • A pack of velcro cable ties, in a range of different colours.

It’s really simple this, just gather together all your chargers and associated cables, coil each cable up and secure it with a velcro cable tie, ideally a different colour for each.  This massively reduces the risk of cables getting crossed over and tangled, although it can never be truly prevented.  Plus it makes it easier to grab a certain charger in a hurry.  I’d also suggest plugging the adaptor in somewhere it’s not going to get in the way – mine slides back into the bottom shelf of my storage unit, so it’s nice and hidden when not in use.  I pull the whole ensemble out and plug in what I need when it’s time to charge stuff – I like to be able to see what’s fully charged, and what’s still charging, plus on quite a few jobs I’ll need to plug in more than one of each type of battery in succession.

Charger and batteries
Nearly fully loaded, and in action

2 quick points about batteries in general.  First, get in the habit of recharging them AS SOON AS YOU WALK IN THE DOOR OFF A JOB.  Not moments before you need to leave on a shoot.  If you’re in the habit of always doing this, you’re almost certain never to face that horrible situation of starting a shoot and realising you’re out of power.  I can say that whilst I’ve done some stupid things in my time, this hasn’t been one of them.  Yet.

Secondly, remember that rechargeable batteries lose charge over time.  Like me, you might keep sets of AA or AAA batteries in the camera bag, or flash kit.  If you charged them up last month, and haven’t touched them since, you may be alarmed to find them almost dead when you need them on tomorrow’s shoot.  I’d suggest roughly once a week giving batteries like this a top-up.  I realise that over time this kills them, but that takes years, and I’d rather buy new ones (having placed the old ones in the recycling bin!) from time to time, than run the risk of turning up to shoot without power.

Not the most exciting blog post that one, but hopefully quite a useful tip!

Mystified by any of the technical stuff in this post, or by photography in general?  Head over to my Technical Foundations course for lots of useful insights.

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