What you need to kill your next shoot


Come prepared with:


At 19 I felt myself being pulled into a creative direction I had never been before. An iPhone was no longer going to cut it for me, I wanted to build a career as a photographer.

I had always had an eye for how to pose and how to frame a photo correctly. It turns out though, I had a lot more to learn about conducting the perfect shoot.

Through my research and pre-shoot preparations I found that the most important things to have were:

  1. A quality camera

  2. Good lighting

  3. A shot list

  4. A model

  5. A mood board

Having these things puts you ahead of other beginner photographers.

a quality camera

Currently I shoot with a Sony a6000. This camera is a cheaper option with a great lens, and has an easy to learn system. What I do not favor about this camera is that you cannot switch lenses. If you plan on taking on photography with paying clients then I highly suggest moving to a better camera. If you want to stick with Sony, I suggest the Sony a6500.

This is not to say you even have to buy a brand new camera right away. You could buy a used camera or you can also rent one to test it out!

Good lighting

Everyone has heard of the golden hours to shoot. This is about an hour to two hours before the sun actually sets. This is NO JOKE! If you really want the best real lighting then it is definitely important to schedule your shoots around this time. I always say that the second best golden hour is before 10am.

If you cannot find time to shoot during those times, I love getting beautiful back lighting on my models or shooting in the shade. Sometimes the shade can do some AWESOME things for a picture and create a whole new vibe and look.

Avoid between 12pm - 2pm when the sun is directly above a model. Those shadows are not cute.

A model


A mood board


a shot list

Finding a model is key! Unless of course, you are a landscape photographer. If you do plan on using a model it is important that you get to know this person before hand if you do not already. I always suggest getting coffee the week before to discuss each of your expectations for the shoot. This is especially helpful if this client is paying you.

Cannot meet up in person? We are so lucky in 2019 because we have a multitude of ways to video chat! Try Facetime or Skype.

Doing this will break the ice, help with jitters, set shot expectations, and check to see if you will fit with their personal vision.

Creating a mood board on Pinterest is an awesome way to create your vision. This does exactly what it says: sets the mood for your photoshoot. This gives you a vision that helps you find out what your mission is with the shoot.

A shoot without a mission will not do as well as a shoot that has one. The mission tells you why am I doing this shoot? Is this for a brand? What will my caption be? What story am I telling?

Setting this mission in line with your mood board will bring your shoot to life.

Going into your shoot completely prepared for anything is key. One thing to avoid forgetting how you wanted the model to pose, camera angles, lighting styles, is to create a detailed shot list. Having this by your side gets all of the jitters out of the way because you have the exact list of what you want to capture.

Now, this does not mean that this should be a step by step, shot by shot, list. It is instead a tool for you when you get off track during the shoot. Practice makes perfect in this case. Going in with a clear vision of the style will help you to try out poses and move the model in ways that capture the mood of the shoot.