Getting ready for a shoot is the perfect time to get in the zone (its football season so the lingo is in full force! ha!)! Being prepared will not only make your client feel comfortable but it will show them how professional and prepared you are. Since we are all busy and a lot of us are going back and forth between parent duties and photog duties, taking a few minutes before each session to get your mind ready and your bags packed will help you before every single session.
Here is my Top Five Things to do Before Every Senior Shoot:
- Check your equipment and pack your bag! Now I think this is probably obvious but it can’t go without saying. You need to make sure your lenses are clean, memory cards are free and batteries are charged. I don’t actually take every lens with me so I have to think about the shoot and what I want to accomplish before packing my bag. Generally I take my 85 and my 35 with me but sometimes I may need my 24-70 or even my 70-200. So thinking about the shoot will help me pack accordingly.
- Read (or reread) the Senior Questionnaire. When I book a senior client, one of the first things I do is to send them a senior questionnaire. This helps me get to know them before their session and plan their session according to what they want. I usually read it when it hits my inbox but by the time the shoot arrives I may need to reread it so I am familiar with that client. I use the questionnaire as a way to start conversations so knowing what the senior’s answers were helps me. I sit with my senior clients at hair and makeup because it is a great time to chat and continue to get to know them so by reading their questionnaire right before the session I know what to talk to the client about.
- Create a Shot List. I like to go into each session with a plan. I may not follow the plan exactly but by making one I feel organized and ready for each session. A shot list is my plan. I refer to the questionnaire to see what it is my client is interested in purchasing such as prints, digitals or an album. Depending on their answer, I will create a shot list accordingly. I feel that an album requires shots that tell more of a story than prints. In other words, detail shots help tell the story and fill the album in order to create a feeling of who that client is when others look at the album. Creating a shot list for both mom and daughter is also very important. I will get the mom shots out of the way and then get more creative. I always get a laying down shot where the client is laying on their stomach with their fit up behind them and their chin resting on their hands. This shot is a must for me because I know mothers always love it. What is your must have shot? Here are a few types of shots that I get on every shoot: Head Shot, lying down shot (on stomach), squatting shot, sitting down (either on ground or something I find on location such as stairs or a wall or even a tree stump), details shot (especially if client is interested in an album), laughing shot/candid shot and a profile shot. I always try to remember to get close ups, far away, 3/4 shot, full body, horizontal and vertical.
- Determine Locations. Again, the questionnaire is a great resource for this because I ask my clients what type of location they would like. When they first inquire about a session, I send them information in a Welcome Magazine and locations are detailed in this magazine. There are photos of each different type of location such as urban versus country or a park versus downtown. This gives my clients choices and when they fill out the questionniare they will know what to respond with. I then take into consideration their outfits and what they mentioned wanting for a location and plan accordingly. Be sure to know your locations before the shoot so they will be comfortable with you and know you are choosing the right spot for their shoot.
- Text Client. Teenagers love to feel comfortable with you and if you show them how excited you are by texting them before the shoot they will be excited too! I find the more communication I have with my clients before their session the better their session goes. I don’t like to have them worry at all about anything so communicating everything is key. I try to answer all their questions before they even think to ask them so they are going into the session confident and ready! A quick text letting them know just how excited you are about their session goes a long way!! Be sure to be bubbly and excited through your texts so your vibe rubs off on them!
Whatever your pre-session to do list includes, make sure you are ready for each session and take a little time to think about each individual client before their session. I like to make sure to personalize each session so all of my seniors feel like I am giving them the best possible experience so taking a little time to read over their answers from their questionnaire and creating a plan just for them really helps me accomplish that!
We would love to hear from you! So if you have steps you take before every shoot, comment and share below! And because every post is better with photos, here are few of my must do shots for every senior session.
Looking away/profile shot