Everyone loves a photoshoot that goes smoothly. It feels great. Wanting a smooth shoot is a no brainer but it’s harder to achieve than one might think. Gear doesn’t work right, weather doesn’t cooperate, and miscommunications with the client are some common problems everyone faces. These problems can be averted with a little preparation.
1. Location Scouting and Studio Prepping
If you are shooting at a location scouting is important. The time spent will pay for itself. You will be able to plan the images ahead of time instead of using valuable time during the shoot. After completing your planned images there may even be time to expirement. Knowing your location also helps you pack more effeciently. If you are traveling a good distance from your vehicle or mode of transportation, carrying heavy bags of equipment is not fun. Your back will thank you in the end.
If shooting in a studio, prepping light set ups and even doing practice run-throughs with an assistant or friend will save you time. It is a nice confidence boost to have the model arrive and with the first 5 frames you already have exactly what you wanted. When you’re able to work more efficiently you are able to push yourself and produce better work.
2. Check Gear
Preparation cannot be stressed enough. It can be as simple as knowing where everything is stored. How silly would it look if you heard a photographer say, “I know I packed it somewhere.” Familiarizing yourself with your gear inside and out, so important. Having great vision is only half of what makes a photographer good. The other half is knowing how to use the equipment.
Easy preparation includes but not limited to: charging batteries (lights, transceivers and cameras), packing extra batteries, packing a sufficient amount of memory cards, testing equipment and replacing faulty pieces, and a quick check of modifiers.
3. Communication between Client and Photographer
Having the photographer and client/model know what is expected out of them ahead of time makes the shoot go more smooth. To that effect, everyone who will be at the shoot should be on the same page. It is not the only the photographer/art director’s responsibility to know coordinate everything. The model should also know exactly what they will be doing, at least as much as possible. There will always be improvision on sets. When everyone is clearly communicating nothing slips between the cracks.
4. Plan the Execution
The photographer should plan out how they see the day going. Everyone is different with how they prepare but something is better than nothing. If you are a person who maps out to the minute what they expect/want to happen, awesome. If you mentally prepare yourself imagining lighting set-ups in your head, great. When the client is communicated with effectively they then should know what they need to do and that will allow them to prepare. That will allow them to plan their execution (yes that sounds odd).
Even with all the work that goes into a successful photoshoot, nothing will ever go exactly as planned. Flexibility and an ability to not panic are integral skills to keep the shoot smooth. This goes for everyone on set. Preparing is the foundation which is the first step to producing the final image. With a strong foundation more positive results are possible.