Tips for Photographers going on a Shoot

When you start out in the photography world you soon realise that things can get a little complicated when you expect a certain result, but end up with something different! This is also true for some situations where you expect things to go one way and you end up with it going another way. More often than not these things happen due to poor planning and/or you forgetting something which could affect the outcome of a shoot.

Before you start a shoot (the day/evening before):

  • Double check everything

Has it ever happened to you that you arrive at a location ready to start snapping photos and you realise you forgot something at home? If you are lucky it may not be vital, but if you forgot your camera battery in the charger at home or your memory card holder on the desk at you PC then you may have a problem! Make a list of your equipment and check off you equipment the day before a big shoot and again before you leave for the shoot. This may seem like a time waster, but it could save you embarrassment. When you leave a shoot, use this same ensure you packed everything. You don’t want to drive all the way back, especially if it is far, for something small but vital to your photography kit.

  • Scout your location

If you are planning a shoot at an unfamiliar location, go there a day or two before at around the same time you would be shooting and check what the lighting is like and if anything at the location will make things difficult. Visualize as shooting path and where you would like to move your model(s) or other people you will be photographing. Plan how you would like to shoot the shots and what lens(es) you will be using as well as lighting including flashes and reflectors.

  • Empty your memory cards

This seems obvious, but I have heard of so many people starting a shoot only to realise after 40 or 50 photos that the memory card is full and it is too late to do a format!

  • Charge your batteries

Another one that seems obvious, but this is part of double checking. It is not only your camera batteries that need charging, but also those for your flash and any other equipment you may have that uses batteries. It is also a good idea to invest in a battery charge meter. I also like to take along spare non-rechargeable batteries to a shoot, just in case.


At the location (or even in studio)

  • Check your ISO setting

We all change the ISO setting sooner or later and you don’t want to do a high ISO shoot when there is more than enough light for ISO100 adding noise to you photos! Believe me, this has happens.

  • Check white balance

Many photographers shoot in RAW and just opt for auto white balance which they will tweak later in processing, but if possible, set the white balance at the location every now and again as it will make things easier and better looking. Get a white balance card and learn to use it.

  • Check exposure

Most camera have a exposure compensation setting, set it to what is appropriate for what you are shooting and don’t settle for “I will fix is in post-processing.” Checking exposure includes checking you metering method!

  • Check File mode

Check that your camera is shooting in RAW. You never know when you have changed this, or perhaps someone else. Do NOT assume just because it was in RAW the last time you did a shoot it will still be in RAW. If you are not shooting in RAW, look up the HUGE advantages of shooting in RAW on google.


I hope the above few tips help a few of you out there. These things a very simple, but VERY important.

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