I am currently preparing for a photo shoot that is going to happen this Saturday. it has been a while in the making and I am really looking forward to it. I can't say too much about it but I can say that it will be one of the larger under takings I have faced. That being said, I love an opportunity to wow my customers and I know it's going to be a Big Wow for all involved.
I thought I'd share the process I go through when I'm planning a shoot.
First off I meet with the individual(s) that hired me and we sit down and see what the end goal is (family outside in a special spot, full day wedding coverage, commercial images for particular media, etc...) and what their "must haves" are. During this meeting I'm gauging their needs, tastes, personality and trying to get to know them so on the day of the shoot things will go more smoothly. If I was to arrive on the day of the event with out getting to know either the people involved or the expected goals of the shoot then I will waste a lot of time trying to shoot what I want rather then what the people involved need.
Once I have established what the general idea for the shoot is I can begin to plan how I am going to exceed my client's expectations (the wow factor). this takes the shape of contemplating locations, lighting or special post production to name a few. In the case of my upcoming project, one of the wow factors is the end product will be in the form of large prints... very large prints!
Some of the things we all need to consider when making photographs are who, what when, where, why and how. I say "making photographs" because I prefer to build or construct an image rather than just pointing my shinny black camera at a scene hope I get something good.
Who: who do I ask when I need answers? For example, Who at the wedding who do I talk to when I have questions (I really try not to bother the bride/groom so they can enjoy themselves).
What: What am I shooting? Sports, a family portrait, a really large wedding party, fine art etc...? Each of these demand different gear. Do I need to bring more lights or an extra wide angle or telephoto lens? Am I going to be shooting in a dark church or in the middle of a meadow at high noon.
When: I am never late (and if I am it wasn't my fault). another thing to consider about "when" is if I'm shooting in the meadow at high noon I will need to address the blaring sun beating down on my subjects and causing harsh shadows under their eyes.
Where: Location, Location, Location. Where are the photos going to be made? Am I establishing the location? Does the family have a special place they have in mind?
Why: Why are we making the photo(s)? Are these images going to be used for advertisement purposes or for personal viewing?
How: How am I going to get the shot and are there things that I need to bring, make or buy to ensure I get the shot? Do I have the ability to over power the ambient light if needed?
Something to remember
99% of the cameras that the major manufacturers are putting out now are better then the individuals that use them. People can take one of these marvels of technology and take some really bad photos with them (I know because I've done it countless times). It's not the camera that makes an image it's the person operating it. Just like it wasn't the pen that wrote the classic novels we read to day. Planning is the key to having less problems in the day of any shoot.