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Preparing For a Model-Shoot

Preparing For a Model-Shoot

By Micheal Charles

No matter what type of shoot you're planning, it's always a good idea to have a pre-shoot checklist. Over time, a simple list will save you a great deal of time and effort. Since most of my photography includes working with models, my pre-shoot checklist includes some things that wouldn't be necessary for a photographer who isn't working with models.

It's important to leave enough time between going over the checklist and the start time of the shoot. By giving yourself enough time, most problems that the list identifies can be solved before the shoot. What follows are some actions that I typically include on my pre-shoot checklist:

CONFIRM WITH THE MODEL

If you have any question in your mind regarding the reliability of the model, this is the time to take care of it. By this time, you will already have discussed the basics of the shoot with her and given her directions to the location. Still, it is often a good idea to give her a call on the day of the shoot to make sure everything is still on as planned. Fortunately, I can say that most models (whether professional or amateur) are responsible and will arrive within five minutes of the scheduled time.

STRAIGHTEN UP

I like to give my models a very clean environment where they can do their hair, makeup, and work with their wardrobe. It's a fairly simple thing to do, and I guarantee that the models will notice it. Over the years, many models have told me that very few photographers take the time to do this, and how much they appreciate the photographers who do.

GET THE PAPERWORK IN ORDER

Getting the necessary paperwork taken care of at every shoot is of prime importance. Without a signed model release and two forms of ID from the model (at least one of them being a photo ID), you won't be able to sell your work. To make sure everything gets done, it's a good idea to put the paperwork in a spot where it can't be missed (along with a reminder note to make copies of the IDs).

CHECK BATTERIES

Most of the equipment you'll use during a typical shoot will require batteries. All rechargeable batteries should be fully charged when you begin the shoot. In addition, I highly recommend that you have a fully charged spare battery for your camera. Other pieces of equipment - such as light meters, remote controls and sync systems also require batteries.

CHECK CAMERA SETTINGS

Make sure that your camera settings are appropriate for the specific shoot you're preparing for. A few things you'll want to check are white balance settings, ISO settings, and proper file format and size (JPEG, Raw, etc.). At this point, you should also check your memory cards to confirm you have enough memory for the upcoming shoot.

CLEAN LENSES

Modern lenses possess amazing optics and are capable of producing images with extreme sharpness and clarity. However, no matter how well they are designed, you are still responsible for keeping the outer glass clean and dust-free. If there are smudges, fingerprints, or dust particles present on the exposed glass at the time of an exposure, all the technology in the world won't be able to correct it. To give you the best chance of capturing the sharpest images possible, it's a good idea to clean your lenses before each shoot.

TEST LIGHTING EQUIPMENT

An hour or two before the scheduled shoot is a good time to check that the lighting equipment you plan to use is working correctly. You'll want to do this well before the shoot so you'll have enough time to fix anything that isn't working properly. Lighting equipment can be very temperamental and delicate. Often, what may initially seem to be a major problem can be fixed simply by tinkering a bit with the cords or the connections. This is also a good time to check that all sync and remote systems are working correctly.

ARRANGE THE FIRST SET

It will save you a great deal of time if you prepare as much as possible for the first set of images before your model arrives. This includes arranging the set and setting up the lighting layout for that particular set.


About The Author

Michael Charles is a professional photographer based in Los Angeles. For over a decade, Michael has been shooting exclusively in the world of nude, erotic, and adult-oriented photography. His work has been featured in hundreds of national and international publications and appears on a wide variety of prominent websites.

From his years spent photographing the world's most beautiful women, Michael has acquired a definitive knowledge regarding what it takes to succeed within the field of erotic photography. For more information, visit Money Shot Books

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