|What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Of course, the biggest thing is to make sure all the gear is ready: batteries charged, cards formatted, lenses cleaned. I also research the subject by scouring the internet for information - some kind of background story or history, perhaps some inspirational photography from one of the masters as well. I will sometimes scout out locations at different times of the day to check on the lighting. Working in the tropics means I endlessly am in battle with the very strong sun. Sometimes it works in my favour but generally it forces me to use flash to compensate for the harsh shadows.
This vary by assignment, but I try to find out good spots and see how the lightning are at the time for the shoot. I always try to get into touch before so the client and I know each other.
Exploring good places, gathering inspiration and ideas through flickr and other websites. I also look at lighting diagrams, to see if I can improve my lighting skills.
finding the right place
I roughly sketch out my ideas and source any models/designers etc that are needed and organise times/dates etc. On a shoot day I'll get to the studio 2 hours before anyone else to set up and get things sorted, then I'll drink around a gallon of tea.
I tend to look through old magazines to get inspiration
By the time I shoot something specific, it probably has floated about my mind for a period of time, two or three years in some cases.
I don't really do "photo sessions" so I put no preparation into anything before grabbing my camera other than to make sure I have the lens I want and a full battery.
Sometimes nothing, other times there is a lot of scouting and choosing props etc. It depends on the shoot.
Not much really.
Charge the batteries
Find my stands, cables, flashes etc.
I do like to talk to my subjects though and shoot a few frames you don't expect to turn out. It helps you to get used to each other.
For street shots I carry my Canon G9 pretty much all the time in the expectation that something will turn up, like when I ran across Gordon Brown during the election campaign (http://www.karmabrown.com/chunkysoup/2010/04/prime-ministe (...) )
I just happened to be going to the shop next door when I saw the Police outriders parked up and assumed somebody important was nearby. So I hung around for a while when Gordon Brown came out of an office after an election visit. My first few shots were of him exiting the building but I saw the crowd taking pictures on camera phones so I turned around and photographed him being shot by a man with a camera phone. I thought that was much more interesting
I gather my thoughts for each themed shoot, make sure my camera is on all the right settings and scout locations for each theme.
I'll make sure I have all my batteries charged with spares and get all my equipment together and sorted. I'll also try to get a good nights' sleep and rest my eyes.
I try to erase all photos on my cell phone before I go out. This way I keep track of my sessions. I also listen to music, this way I do not look like a photographer.
Depending on assignments we will prepare accordingly. In general, ensure all batteries are charged, CF cards ready, equipment packed and all props and other requirements in place.
It is a physical process of checking and verifying that everything is in order. Mentally running through different scenarios and light setups depending on how much prior information I have available for the location/assignment.
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