Photoshoot Checklist

I’ve never been the list type.  In fact,  I often get to the grocery store and either grab too much of one thing or forget the REALLY important thing we needed in the first place because I refuse to carry a list.
Even though I hate lists, with the pressure of a wedding day (or any shoot for that matter) here’s a list that I make myself go through every single time I have a session.  I have to check off every item…or I don’t allow myself a post shoot beer! (Ok, I lie…I enjoy my post shoot beer)

The night before: (I’m kind of a night owl, so I wait until everyone’s asleep and do the following)

  • Speedlight Batteries all charged – every speedlight tested and has at least 2 sets of batteries ready to go.
  • Camera Batteries Charged, one FULL spare set for each body ready to go.
  • PW’s (Poppers etc…) all batteries charged and tested for every piece
  • All dust/dirt blown/wiped off of Camera Bodies and they are spotless and ready to shoot.
  • Lenses are cleaned spotless and packed. Lens Hoods are counted and cleaned.
  • Memory cards all formatted in Camera, and in their Individual cases (6 x 4GB, 6 x 8GB and 4 x 16GB)
  • Check Modifiers Case: Softboxes, reflectors, octaboxes  along with all Diffusion/Gels. Check for any tears or missing diffusers or Gels. Check at least 2 full cuts of Orange, Blue and Green for each light as well and 2 Stop ND Gels for each light
  • Check Stands Case for all boom stands and C-Stands.  Count, check all screws, bolts and  joints.
  • Check Brackets Case for all cold shoes, Umbrella clamps, Speedrings, and adapters.
  • Make sure all correspondence is signed and ready and in the client folder on MAC.
  • Shoot Storyboard or Shoot Plan printed or on the iPad/iPhone ready for reference.
  • Laptop Charged and ready. EHD Packed and ready for onsite backup.
  • Google Maps or MapQuest directions to the shoot printed.

My vehicle:

  • Full of gas.
  • Tire pressure checked and ok.
  • Oil checked and ok.
  • Windows clean.
  • Exterior Clean.
  • All lights working. (Brake, Head and Signal Lights)

These are all things that can be taken care of the night before your shoot, so you can go to sleep knowing that you have planned as well as you possibly can, and dealt with factors that are within your control.  And face it, getting a lacklustre nights sleep, will leave you unprepared and under-equipped to deal with task at hand.  So do as much as you can in advance! You’ll thank me for it.

Shoot day:

  • TWO Alarms set! (I’m a heavy sleeper)
  • Phone fully charged (You never know)
  • Gear packed (Did that last night so I could sleep)
  • Starbucks!! (Yes,  in the form of a Quad Venti Latte)
  • A good breakfast. (I should practice what I preach)
  • A positive outlook on the day ahead (Create it!)
  • Wallet and Keys by the front door. (I forget a lot!)
  • Comfy Shoes (18 hour comfort…seriously)
  • Enough layers to deal with temps from 90 down to 30!

I may have forgotten a ton of stuff that you think is important! So your chance is below. Comment and tell me what you think I’m missing.   Help your fellow photographers NEVER forget anything again.

Special thanks to Jay Gough for this article.

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