While most of the work might lie in clicking the shutter and taking perfect pictures, a photoshoot often involves much more. And that is why it is necessary to be adequately prepared for the occasion. It doesn’t matter how much of a pro the photographer is or how experienced they are in photoshoots. Preparing ahead of the shoot would continually improve things and increase the chances of everything running smoothly. Succeeding in photography goes beyond simply delivering high-quality photos to your clients.
The kind of experience your clients have while working with you on set speaks volumes and would go a long way in establishing you as a photographer who knows their stuff.
This might be your first time having a photoshoot as a photographer. Or, if you’ve done a couple and need tips to help you have a better experience next time, you are on the right page. This post is a well-curated guide on adequately preparing for a photoshoot. It doesn’t matter if it is a photo shoot in the comfort of your studio or a location photoshoot.
Following this guide would make your next photo shoot a lot easier and show that you not only meet but exceed the expectations of your clients.
Top Tips On Preparing for a Photoshoot
Following are eight pieces of advice on planning for a photo shoot day. The preparation process is broken down into two parts: before the day of the shoot and during. Let’s get this party started, shall we?
One or Two Weeks Before the Shoot
Ideally, you should have days, if not weeks, notice before the photo shoot takes place. This means you have more than adequate time to prepare. Do it right by considering the following:
Taking note of what equipment you would be using
The equipment for every shoot often varies depending on what kind of shoot it is and where it would take place. The kind of equipment that would be perfect for an outdoor shoot might not be suitable for an indoor one. So, you should list which ones you would need for the shoot. This would also make packing much more accessible than just putting the equipment together off the top of your head. Go over (in a checklist) the gear you need by asking yourself:
- Where are you taking pictures?
- What time of day is the photo shoot?
- Is the photo shoot inside or outside?
- What will the lighting situation be?
- Do you have adequate lenses?
- Who (if anyone) will be in the photos?
- Will there be any animals?
- What’s the parking situation at the venue?
- What’s the climate like? Are there puddles? Rocks?
- Would it be safe to shoot at? Can you leave your gear unattended
- How many people will be using the space?
- Do you need to bring props?
Equipment to Consider
Now that you’ve answered the questions above, it’s time to think logistically. What you bring will all depend on the type of photo shoot. Here’s what you should consider bringing to your photo shoot:
This is best for shots of outside buildings and in nature. Lots of nature photographers and architectural photographers rely on the wide-angle lens.
Standard Lens/Zoom Lens/Prime Lens
Since wide-angle lenses aren’t an excellent option for portraits (they distort facial features), try these three lenses instead. Standard, zoom, and prime lenses highlight “the good side” of whomever you’re capturing, resulting in better quality photos.
This is an excellent device for producing stunning portraits. This is especially important for portrait photography since it re-lights the light on the subject’s face. It will provide better lighting with fewer dark spots.
Some may believe that flash isn’t necessary during the day. That is not always the case, however. Fill flash eliminates unsightly shadows from photographs for a clearer picture.
What You Should Do the Day Before the Photo Shoot
Some of these may seem obvious, and some may not. Do what you have to do to put a smile on your face for the next day’s photo shoot.
Charge photography equipment
Pay special attention to all the chargeable equipment you would use. Make sure that everything from your batteries to your external flashes and everything else that can be charged is fully charged. Keep in mind that having one fully charged battery might not suffice. Always have some fully charged extra ones too. No one wants to end a shoot early. They could simply prepare in advance.
Clearing your memory card
Imagine how terrible it would be when you are about to take the next shot and get the notification that your memory card is full. There’s no extra one around. Don’t be that photographer. You should always leave as much space on your memory card as possible. Also, always go to every shoot with an extra memory card to be safer. You can never be too prepared when it comes to photoshoots.
Packing the day before
This is a no-brainer as it would ensure you do not leave anything out. Even if the shoot is in your studio, it helps to have everything together shot in a specific location. It would keep you organized and more in control of the whole photoshoot.
Checking out the proposed location
If the shoot is going to be outdoor, as long as it doesn’t involve journeying for many hours, then you’ve got to go there. In the industry, we call this a “site visit.” Take test shots during the hour of the day when the shoot would be taking place, and know what lens would work best and which would not. Pick out backgrounds you would be using and those you would be staying away from. Doing all this would also make you more confident during the shoot.
This will prepare you in advance in six ways:
- You’ll know how much equipment should be fit for the location
- You’ll know the terrain, so no surprises come up
- You’ll find out if you need to use flash
- You can identify the lens filters you need
- You’ll know if you need to pair down the items in your bag for less weight
- You’ll have a better idea of what you can wear
Doing some mental preparation
It always helps to do whatever activity sets your creative juices flowing. It could be checking out your previous work or the work of your photography mentor(s); it could be reading, listening to music, exercising, etc. Whatever it is, you should do just that! It puts you in the right mood for the photo shoot.
Having a good night’s sleep
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep ahead of any event; talk less of a photoshoot. You don’t want to nod off instead of clicking the camera’s shutter. That is unlikely to happen, but you get the drift. Getting adequate rest would make you relaxed and more energized to take on whatever the shoot brings.
The Day of the Shoot
Now, the big day is here, and if you’ve followed the tips above, you should be about 80% ready. Up your readiness to 100% by:
Getting to the location early
You don’t want to be that photographer whose clients must keep questioning their whereabouts. Not only would it ruin your relationship with them, but it would also affect the overall mood of the shoot. Set off for the shoot location as early as possible so that you can be well relaxed and have ample time to properly set up your gear if need be.
Going over all the details of the shoot
You could do this a day before or on the day of the shoot. Anyone that works for you is fine. Do you have any jottings of your conversation with them? Did the client make any special requests while they were booking your service? If yes, you should review all this information and use it to give your clients a fantastic shooting experience. Making your clients feel special is one way to keep them coming back.
Conclusion: Be the Professional Photographer That You Are
Now that you’ve got everything under control, it’s time to get to the day’s business. Put your confidence hat on, do what you know how to do best, and make sure to have fun while at it!
At the risk of sounding cliché, the saying “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” comes to mind as it rings true in photoshoots. A photographer that does not adequately prepare for a photo shoot is simply setting up that photoshoot for failure. That shouldn’t be you.
Before long, you’ll know exactly what you need to bring on all your photoshoots. Making sure you’re charged up and having the camera bag packed will be second nature. All you need to do is put the tips above into practice and set up your next photoshoot for success!