Preparation…something so overlooked, yet vital to the success of any shoot. From storyboarding, charging batteries, making sure your gear is working properly…there’s tons of things to do before a shoot. Whether you’re doing it outside, in a studio, in a large-scale shoot, or just a simple photo walk, here are the steps to preparing the night before a photo shoot.
1) Communication is key
There are a lot of aspects that are important in a shoot. Since there are so many moving parts, it’s vital that you make sure everyone is on the same page. Communication is key. This will mean emailing, calling, and texting all of the other shooters, models, videographers, etc. If you’re shooting at a location and you need to be in touch with the manager of the venue, make sure to confirm with them your shooting date. Things can go a long way by simply double checking. Having a Google spreadsheet of everyone’s name and number can be helpful and can clarify any miscommunication that could happen.
2) Gear, gear, gear
You’re a photographer…this should be your favorite part! The night before a shoot, empty your bag. Go through every piece of equipment and make sure it’s cleaned and that your batteries are charged. Format cards and have them ready for your shoot. Clean your lenses for dust or smudges on the glass. After inspecting, cleaning, and charging, find a place in your room to lay out all of your gear you’re bringing with you. The reason why you should do this is because you can get a cool Instagram pic and also make sure that you’re not missing anything. You’ll have marketing material AND you’ll be prepared. What’s better than that?
3) Review, review again, and review once more
There can be a lot of stuff to review before a shoot. For wedding photographers, take the time to review the names of the family members and wedding party. Granted remembering all of these names can be tough, just make sure you know the bride and groom, parents, maid of honor, and best man. By simply knowing someone’s name shows how attentive and professional you are. Not to mention, it also shows that you care about them. The same applies for all kinds of other shoots. Know the names of everyone you’ll be working with. No one likes it when you forget their name.
Make sure that you along with everyone involved knows how to get to the location. This is especially important with weddings where the reception is somewhere else. Always take the time to review routes to and from each location the night before.
Other than knowing how to get there, make sure you have the appropriate permits and paperwork. Know when the sun will set and where. Lighting situations dictate the quality of your work.
Other than the technical aspects above, make sure your bring snacks and food just in case. I like to bring bottles of water, energy bars, fruit, and sandwiches. Stay away from stuff that can be messy. Keep it simple, you’re not feasting. Also make sure to get some good rest and set up several alarms. You can have coffee ready to go the morning of and have a good breakfast that’s not too heavy or too light.
At the end of the day, preparation at all levels is very important to a successful shoot. As they say, “you prepare to fail when you fail to prepare.”