Create a mood board
Before you do anything else, it’s always a good idea to sit down and create a mood board for your shoot. Pinterest is great for this, giving you time to focus on idea, styling, colour schemes and narrative. You can even invite others to collaborate on your board and make it a joint effort. Go back over your notes or e-mails from talking with your client and take heed of any specific requests or information they provide. Be sure to proactively remind your clients of their requirement when you meet up – they will immediately appreciate that you remembered and that you’re excited about making “their” photo.
Before you settle on a location, don’t forget to check whether you need permission or a license to shoot there.
Head out for some location scouting
If you’re shooting on location, it’s always worth trying to get there a few days before and have a wander around, making a note of all the best viewpoints so you don’t miss anything on shoot day. It;s also worth making sure you have a back up plan on location, just in case of inclement weather.
Check travel and parking
If you can’t make it to the location for scouting, at least make sure you’ve looked up all the necessary travel information, including rail replacement, closed roads and available parking. Depending on the location, you may also be able to use Google Maps to take a look around in the local area.If you’re not too familiar with where you’ll be shooting, have directions in hand from someone who knows or, preferably, Google Maps. Plug the address into your GPS. Know how long it should take you to get there – then allot an extra 15-30 minutes. If there’s any chance of traffic issues, allow even more extra time.
Pack the day before
If possible, pack your photography gear the day before. This will leave you plenty of time to remember anything you may have forgotten to put in your bag. If you’re shooting outdoors, make sure you bring extra batteries with you, as cold weather can affect battery life.The obvious stuff: charge your batteries (both camera and flash if you use one); dump and clear memory cards; make sure your camera settings are about right for your shoot .
Check the weather forecast
The weather can be unpredictable, but a quick look at the forecast should give you an idea of what to expect if applicable for your shoot. Always pack a waterproof jacket just in case, as well as an extra layer for when the temperature drops later in the day.Check the weather yet again. If you may have to deal with light drizzle, intermittent cloud cover, overcast skies, or bold cloudless sunlight, you want to at least be solving those problems in your head the night before rather than the moment of your shoot.
Set your alarm. If you’re shooting early, set your bedside alarm. If later in the day, set an alarm on your phone with time to get your gear together and get on the road.There’s nothing worse than getting being late to an important shoot, so plan to leave early, factoring in extra time for unexpected delays. If you’re early, you could always treat yourself to a coffee.
Shoot days can be long, so bring some location friendly snacks to keep you sustained throughout the day. Nuts and dried fruit are great for keeping in your camera bag and can be picked at throughout the day.Eat light, drink lots of water, stick to fruits and veggies and salads that you know are easy on your system.
Plan your wardrobe
Having checked out the weather for the next day, pick out what kind of professional but comfortably artistic wardrobe you want to work your shoot in. Your wardrobe style should reflect your personal style and your artistic style.
Preparation = confidence!