Preparation

Tomorrow I have a half day’s shoot, a mix of location and studio.

The Studio is booked and so is the model, I now have less then 24 hours left.  What should I be doing, what should you do to prepare for your shoots.

Well, for a paid shoot, my preparation starts at least a month in hand, for weddings sometimes over a year in advanced.

Tomorrow is just a simple test shoot but still preparation is key.  Obviously at this point the studio is all booked, location checked out and the model booked, what else should you consider.

Well, communication with the studio and model, all should continue.  I generally drop the studio and the model(s) an email a week before and the day before.  Just to ensure everything is clear.  Times, addresses, shot list, themes, clothes list.  Also contact details.  My email and phone number, the studio’s / location’s address, meeting points etc.

Equipment is important, and should start at least week in advance.  Check and clean everything, decide on what lens, what format’s.  For this shoot I will be shooting APS-C cropped DSLR and medium format.  The Digital SLR’s will be a pair of Nikon D200, perfectly adequate for this.  A wide angle zoom, a fast f/1.4 standard lens, a 105mm portrait lens and a standard fast f/2.8 zoom and telephoto zoom.  The medium format will be a Hassleblad, with standard lens and two backs.

The lens I have chosen with the shot list in mind.  I will also be taking two light meters, a heavy tripod, light stand and brolly with infrared trigger.

A week before the equipment was all checked, batteries all charged.  It was at this point I realised one of the batteries for Nikon D200 was starting to not hold its charge, so a trip to the local camera shop was planned, and I purchased a replacement.

The shot list was all written down as was the clothes list, and provided to the model, there is also a few items I will be providing, so tonight as well as packing the camera bags, and lighting bag, a prop bag was also packed.  Things like fans, glasses, hats, etc.

For the IT geeks like me there are computer applications to assist.  I use the simple PhotoAssist.  This is a useful little app for the iPhone and iPad that enables you to create equipment lists, prop lists etc.  I have custom lists for things like Nature, Portrait, Weddings and Travel.  This list the common things I need for things like these.

If there is any advice I can offer it is just this.  Communicate, ensure all parties know exactly what is required of them and when.  Have your equipment ready; cleaned, checked and know how to use it.

If you do not know your equipment, then you cannot focus on the picture.  Remember your equipment and how to use it, should all be second nature to you.  All your attention should be focused on getting the image and keeping your model engaged, and happy to work hard with you to get the image.

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