5 Steps to Prepare for a Photoshoot

When you properly prepare for a photoshoot, they go off without a hitch. That’s because in reality, much of the important work for the photoshoot happens before you even capture a single image. Knowing exactly how to prepare for a photoshoot helps you set yourself up for success.

If you don’t have a preparation process for your photoshoots in place, the steps shared here are really going to help you. These steps are also helpful for the photographer just looking to streamline or tweak the process they already have in place.

Keep reading to learn why you should prepare for your photo sessions and how to go about it in 5 easy steps.

Why Prepare for a Photoshoot?

Have you ever arrived on set for a shoot and realized you forgot something? We’ve all made this mistake at least once and it’s a really sinking feeling. By preparing for every shoot in advance, you can help ensure that none of your important tools get left behind.

Preparing in advance also helps you cultivate confidence in yourself. By having the shoot all mapped out, you understand what you want and need from the shoot and your subject(s), as well as what you plan to deliver. Preparing for a photo session in advance can help you avoid a lot of post-shoot frustration and regret in the long run.

How to Prepare for a Photoshoot

Following these five steps will transform your clunky, pre-shoot process into a simple, easily-executed plan of action.

  1. Get your pre-shoot checklist. A pre-shoot checklist is a must for photographers. It helps you define expectations, deliverables, and the overall goal for the shoot. A great checklist (like the pre-shoot checklist we share for free) covers all of the fine details so nothing gets overlooked in the planning phase of the session.

  2. Create a timeline. Once you’ve completed your pre-shoot checklist, you know what you need to do. The next step is figuring out how you’re going to execute that in the time that you have. Create a timeline of events for your shoot. Even if you don’t stick to it exactly, it can help keep you on track when time is moving quickly during the shoot.

  3. Pack your equipment bag. Make sure you have every piece of equipment you need for your shoot. Check your camera settings. Make sure your memory cards are fresh. Double check your batteries are charged. Ensure you’ve packed any props that are required. It can also help if you create an equipment list you'll need for the shoot and check it off as you go through your bag.

  4. Check the weather. This is most crucial if you’re going to be shooting outside, because you want to be prepared for whatever the weather may hold for you that day. But, even if you’re shooting indoors, it’s important to know what to expect. Poor weather conditions could influence your travel time, the lighting indoors and out, and even how you pack and protect your equipment. Always check the weather in the hours leading up to your shoot.

  5. Arrive to the location early. Arriving early to the photo session location has plenty of advantages. First, it gives you a chance to scout it out and start visualizing in the space you’ll be shooting. Second, by arriving early, you leave ample time to get yourself hyped up and excited before the shoot even begins. Third, being the first one to arrive helps show the client how professional you are. Showing up early is an all-around win for you.

Get Ahead of the Shoot and Start Preparing

Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and put it into practice in your next photoshoot. By preparing properly, you put yourself ahead of the game before the session even begins. You’ll notice a huge leap in efficiency once you put these steps into place.

Are you prepared to carry on that efficiency, post-shoot? For tips on how to manage your workflow, read our blog about Workflow Tips for Photographers.

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