It’s easy to grab your pack and go take some photos, but better results are guaranteed if you actually pre-plan your shoots.
Pre-planning will clarify your idea, prevent you from carrying a ton of equipment that you are not going to use, and make for better overall results. Pre-planning doesn’t have to take all day and can be divided into a few steps.
Scout the location ahead. This one is a huge. It doesn’t matter what kind of shoot you are doing, scouting the location is like giving your idea a foundation to sit on. Once you have seen the spot, jump or feature you can start thinking about the shots that you want to get. You can also determinate what the best time for the shoot is, early in the morning, late in the evening or maybe even midday. You can even grab a shot with your phone if you don’t have much time, and analyze it later.
Be gear smart. Now that you know where and when the shoot is going to happen, you should have a good idea of what kind of shot you want to get. By knowing the location of the shoot and the shot you want, you can determine the amount of gear that you have to bring with you. Obviously if you have to ride a bike for and hour to get to the spot, you won’t be able to bring all your studio equipment right? So think about what you really need, and how easy it is going to be for you to take it where you need it.
And last but not least, spend some time thinking about your idea and specific shots. Do you need detail shots? Lifestyles? Are you trying to convey something with the shots? Or are you just shooting some mad action. Think about it, think about it all!
Now that you know what it looks like, you got the right gear with you, and you know exactly what you want for this shoot, you are off to a much better start. And at the end of the day, remember to forget about everything and just experiment a little bit as well.