Camera equipment: The headache that never seems to go away

Equipment is organized by type, and masking tape marks the location to make it easy to see what’s in and out on any given day.

Every adviser, no matter how veteran, knows (or at least, will know at some point in her career) the pain of losing a good piece of equipment. It’s embarrassing to admit out loud, but my kids lost a camera… in their very first year. And it stings a little more because it was the donations of friends, family, and parents that made it possible for them to have that brand new camera in hand.

So this year I am determined to do a better job organizing and managing the equipment that we have. I started by searching the archives, and I found this post from Matt Rasgorshek in 2013 describing his checkout process. Our new checkout binder and checkout form looks a lot like his.

The second piece was developing an Equipment Loan Agreement that covered everything and would go home to parents and guardians so they are aware that I am expecting their kids to be responsible with our equipment. That one-page form is linked above, if you’re looking for something similar.

The final piece of the system overhaul is organizing the equipment we have for easy checkout. We are lucky to have a lockable closet with shelves and cabinets that work perfectly for this, and this year I decided to shelf camera bodies, lenses, and other multimedia equipment separately, rather than in bags. Masking tape shows the kids where each piece goes and allows us to quickly see what’s out and what’s available.

I’m sure that this process will be tweaked at some points throughout the year, but I already feel better about sending them out with equipment than I did last year.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind newsmagazine and online news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. She's done some print stuff, some video stuff, and some web stuff over the past 16 years as a student media adviser.

Michelle Balmeo has 66 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Balmeo

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