There’s no use crying over broken lenses

Ever had a kid come to you with a lens that looked like it got into a fight?? SAME. 

Had this exact thing happen to us once! Poor girl was UGLY crying when she came to me (it was a 70-200). At first glance I was like “Yikes, yeah, no bueno sister…” but then we looked closer and realized it has a lens filter on it (I forgot about my previous genius self putting it on there). I unscrewed it and while THAT crumbled in my hands, the actual lens was just fine! 

Here is what the lens looked like once the filter was removed – (almost) good as new!!

We used compressed air (outside in the grass) for the shards, and then a microfiber to clean her up. She was in the “lens hospital” until I could get a new filter on her, but she was back in action very soon! 

Your initial reaction to a potential expensive accident can go a long way to set the tone for your staff culture. Thankfully, this could have been much worse – and more expensive – so, be sure to use this as a teachable lesson! 

  • Accidents happen – come to the adviser and be honest about what happened
  • Do what you can to prevent damage (always put a filter on!)
  • Buy cheaper lenses (like Tamron or Sigma) because you are working with kiddos
  • …and thank your previous self for putting that filter on!

Lens filters are super cheap and easy to put on all your lenses. Even nifty fifties and kit lenses – everyone gets a filter! Here are a few of our faves, as well as some must-have items for every publications staff’s photography arsenal: 

  • Lens filters – they come in a lot of sizes, be sure to order the correct size for each lens. You can buy plain (UV) filters which I use primarily for protection, but also look into color temperature filters and creative filters for some cool effects!
  • Compressed Air – also very useful for cleaning keyboards, battery and card slots on the camera, and dust bunnies out of hard to reach places
  • Camera lens cleaning kit – this has everything you need for regular maintenance, also great for cleaning other electronics like those nasty AirPods, cell phones, etc.
  • Lens tissue paper – gentle paper for cleaning dust
  • Lens wipes – for smudges when someone touched the glass (even though you told them not to)
  • Microfiber cloths – these are also the BEST for cleaning around the house and dusting storage cabinets. I also use them to wipe smudges off my glasses.
  • Lens cloths – smaller and softer than regular microfiber. Throw one of these in every camera bag. 
  • Cap Keeper – these are honestly hit or miss. Kids don’t like the lens cap dangling, but I don’t like missing lens caps… so… adviser wins. 
  • SD Card Organization – there are lots of ways to do this, but tackle boxes are easy, if your staff keeps them in your classroom. Label each “cubby” with a number or staff member’s name. 
  • Battery Charger Station – be sure to get the right station for your specific batteries, but being able to charge multiple batteries at a time is a game changer!

Photos by Mareena Emran. Used with permission.

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