I know this is still a few weeks early butttt I’m already in 2019 mode. So here are my tips on how to always be prepared for a shoot.
Visualize it. In general, I hate surprises. Believe it or not, I’m a very risk adverse person. I always like to know what’s coming so I can be prepared. The best advice I ever got from my photography teacher (Steve Anderson) was to visualize your shoot— envision all the steps of setting up, going through the shots, all the locations, so that when you’re actually shooting that day, it would actually be your second time going through the day. Don’t underestimate the power of visualization. Visualizing your shoot for the next day could also bring up equipment that you might have otherwise forgot to pack, which is usually what happens to me. I’m also super neurotic so visualizing also helps gives me a peace of mind to know that I’m 100% prepared and have all my bases covered. I usually shoot in my studio so I never have to location scout and I’m already familiar with all the lighting and equipment in the space, but if you’re shooting in a new location, it couldn’t help to scout the location before hand. If you can’t scout beforehand, then show up extra early! Which brings me to my next point …
Be early. I like to show up early (usually 30 mins before call time) and have everything set up before the clients get to my studio. There’s usually a designated set up time for photographers on the call sheet, but I like to show up early and set up so I can use that time to network and get to know the team better. (Or just relax and drink coffee before the day starts.) The worst thing is if the client is waiting on you to get set up while everyone else is ready. You also seem more professional and put together if everything is prepped and ready to go (even if you’re nervous on the inside.)
Do your homework. A photographer’s job is not just to take pictures on the day of. A photographer’s job actually begins weeks before the shoot. Always ask your client for a shot list and mood board. I hate shooting without one because you just have no idea what you’re going to be shooting on set—which brings me back to my “I hate surprises” bit. Familiarize yourself with the shot list so you know exactly what you’re going to be doing on set. Follow the list on set so you’re on track of shooting all the looks and you don’t run over time.
When clients shoot with me, one of the things they always tell me is how fast I am. I think I’m fast because I do little things like visualize the shoot, show up early, and I know what I’m shooting when I’m on set. These little things help me to always be prepared for my shoots. What do you do that help you prepare for a shoot? Share with me in the comments below!