Improve Your Shoot in 5 Minutes


If you’re like us when you’re shooting a wedding or portrait session, you probably don’t have time to take a five minute break in the middle of the shoot to think about and focus on photography.

That might sound silly. I mean, you’re in the middle of a session, all you should be doing is photography, right?

Well, often the task of interacting with the client takes priority and you end up forgetting to do a lot of the techniques you were thinking about the night before, or last week, or whenever you actually had time to think about your work last!

Start taking steps to ensure that you are mentally prepared for shooting. These simple steps can result in a huge improvement in your work, and the experience of your shoot.

  1. Get to the location earlier than your clients. Sometimes locations will change a bit since you scouted – the light will be different, areas will be closed off, formerly beautiful leaves will now be on the ground, etc. Being early allows you one final look around to make sure you’re familiar with your spot, and to relax a bit before you dive in.
  2. Take the time to rehearse the clients’ names to make sure you get them right during the shoot. I really can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. Know your clients’ names. It’s also useful to know their story, and why they are getting their photos taken
  3. Finally, spend a few minutes quietly thinking about what you’d like to accomplish with this shoot, new techniques you’d like to try, and areas to focus on for improvement. This is critical for getting into the right mindset for the shoot. It takes a lot of mental focus to photograph people well, and ensuring that you’re completely engaged in the task ahead will go very far in creating the best images you can, as well as providing the best experience for your clients.

This all might seem like overkill to just take some portraits, but I think you’ll find that if you spend just a little bit of time before each shoot thinking about photography and your clients that you’ll enjoy the shoot so much more.

You’ll also feel more confident and relaxed, which always translates to a better experience for your subjects!

What do you do before a shoot to get into the right mindset?

Lauren Lim

Hey friend, I’m Lauren! I’m a photographer and head ninja here at Photography Concentrate. I’m downright obsessed with photography, and love sharing it with super cool folks like yourself. When I’m not shooting, or writing, you can find me cooking (and eating!), traveling, and hanging out with wonderful people.


4 Comments // Leave a comment

  1. Once the contracts are signed I do more research on the person/product/location I will be shooting, the more you know the more prepared you are and the more you understand who/what/where you are working with.

    I make sure I have everything I need for the shoot ahead of time and check my equipment using a check list which gets packed if I am not shooting at my location. Having enough assistants for the shoot is also important and I double check with everyone confirming times and dates of shoots. All shoot team members are contacted again 2 days before and the night before the shoot to reconfirm and to discuss any last minute changes. By the time the day of the shoot arrives all team members are on the same page and understand what the end result should be. My trusty note pad with ideas and notes will be with me as well as back up numbers in case a team member has an emergency and can’t make it at the last minute. If any problems pop up we discuss the resolution as a team and deal with them. I have a plan that we will start with but allow for adaptations as we move through the shoot.

    Lunch is planned or catered depending on the size an length of the shoot. Once the shoot is complete equipment is check off the list as it is packed up and all paper work/signed releases are packed. Before disbanding I make sure I speak with everyone involved with the shoot including the client if they are on set and I thank everyone for a job well done.

  2. Wow! Thanks for sharing the details of your prep/workflow. I'm guessing this is for a commercial shoot?

    It's valuable to see how much organization goes into a successful shoot – especially when working with a team.

    Thanks for the fresh perspective!

  3. Great stuff here! I often finding myself flying from one appointment to the next with little or no time to stop and regroup. It definitely goes to show that just stopping for those few moments to gather my thoughts and check over my camera settings, it goes so much more smoothly.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Thank you for sharing such a great post! It is really useful, because sometimes you have no manage your time. Sometimes you have no even a minute to look up and take a breath, especially if you’re shooting the wedding. It also very useful to make lists in order to do not forget anything. Thank you once again :)

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