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What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?

Photographing Architecture either Interiors or exteriors usually involves several steps. I google earth for reference. Have the client send reference material, drawings, existing photos ...etc. I often visit the site to get a sense of the light and movement of the shadows for Exteriors. For interiors I walk the space. In both cases I take notes and make sketches on paper of points of view I will return to investigate later with my camera and lights. I think about the appropriateness of dusk or dawn shots of the subject and discuss them with my clients. 

Usually run outside with my camera!
If I am on a job, I take all my equipment, especially my tripod.
Job photography is always preceeded by an inverview on requirements, conditions, space, expected availability, troubleshoot possibilities & expected delivery. All written down of course! Plus deposit.

1. Consult with client
2. Research the subject
3. Make decisions about equipment I will need to complete the session.

Commercially I make sure their is a brief in place so I and my team know what we are working towards.

There also has to be some ideas/conceptual/brain storming session done beforehand so the client is fully aware of what to expect and that it satisfies their own wants and desires.

If it's personal project work I'll tend to come up with some loose ideas first and then mentally prep myself and jump in: let the creative juices flow!

The only prep is for equipment 

My wife says I stress out for 24 hours before a shoot. It can't be that bad, we are still married. 

A lot of prep work goes into the pre-shoot. Lots of camera gear checks, packing and organizing. Before that I do research on various other things to gain more knowledge of the subject or how I can bring other things into the shoot to make it more creative and interesting. 

I have checklists that I use... they are ones I got from Professional Photographers of America subscription. I've customized it some for myself. 

Sometimes none. Sometimes quite a lot. 

Memory cards are dumped, formatted. Camera bodies are fresh from having the sensor cleaned, hard drives have space, all batteries are new, everything is put together before the shoot and then broken down. Then there's just getting sleep and taking care of yourself to avoid sickness. 

Scout, scout, scout. Location is everything. 

I dont really prepare any, aside from preparing my camera and accessories such as the lights, backdrops etc. If its an outside random photo then I just snap, I let nothing hold me back just switch settings and ISO's as I go along. 

I'm German (or at least my father was), so I am methodiaca. Generally I am a list person so depending on the brief I start at A and end at B.

Everything starts with a thorough equipment check.

Research is critical for agency work, and I insist on a detailed brief, or at least a decent verbal description of their requirements. I need a clear idea of the 'outcome' because without a good understanding of what is wanted nothing good happens.

It sounds simple but often at the end of a briefing session, I ask?... 'so when you walk away from this project, what is the one thing you want to be in the minds of your audience, target market?'

The answer often tells me more about the job than the entire brief!

Understanding the subject thoroughly. 

I listen.....then execute. 

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