My shoots always go 1000x better when I have a plan in mind. If I walk into a shoot blindly with not a clue what my client looks like or will be wearing and how the lighting will be, I can guarantee it will not go as smoothly as it would have if i planned more. 


  • have a clear vision. think about your goal for the shoot and the kind of emotion you are aiming to capture. are you shooting for a company? if so, what kind of feel do their products have? are you wanting to get happy, fun lifestyle shots or more serious/high fashion looks? if you are shooting engagement photos, think of what your goal is. mine is always to capture emotion. what kind of emotion I'm going to capture is dependent on the clients and their personalities, but that is always my ultimate goal!
  • create a mood board. find some photos that really speak to you to use as inspiration. whenever I shoot a model and we have a unique concept in mind, we are always sharing photos and ideas back and forth. I think this is important so you are both on the same page. by no means are we going to recreate those exact photos but it can give you some inspiration for the vibe you want the shoot to have, or maybe some unique poses you think will be cool. 
  • communicate. make sure you and your client are on the same page.
  1. get to know them. ask them questions; find out where they are from, what they do for a living, and why they are choosing you to photograph them.
  2. do a little IG stalking, or ask to see a photo of them so you can put faces to names. this probably sounds silly but i feel like this is vital. going into a shoot with no idea what your client looks like is not a good idea. especially if they are a couple-i like to see the height difference and just get a feel for their style. 
  3. outfit choice. ask them what they are planning to wear for the shoot, and give them advice on what you think will look good. of course you want them to wear what they are comfortable in and what represents them-but there are definitely good colors/combos and bad ones. I will probably be doing another post about just this subject later because I think it is so important!
  • plan your location. for me, this just gives me peace of mind. it stresses me out to take a client or model to a place i’ve never seen before and just hope for the best. granted, it can totally work out. but i always feel better if i plan more.
  • be aware of your lighting. plan your shoot according to what lighting you want. everyone’s preference is different and this might be dependent on the feel you want the photos to have. i normally prefer to shoot near sunrise or sunset. I find that is when the light is the softest. so i will start shooting usually about two hours before the sun sets, or as the sun is rising (and the hour after). However, for fashion shoots in downtown locations, sometimes I actually prefer to shoot mid day because I can get some cool direct sunlight photos and the sun will go behind buildings and allow you to get some shaded shots as well. 
  • check your equipment. make sure your batteries are charged and that you have an extra memory card or two! I also always bring a backup camera + lens as well in case anything were to happen to my main camera.
  • make a checklist. i always make a thorough checklist on the reminder app on my phone before an important shoot to make sure the next day I grab everything I need. it is so easy to forget little things!

The reason all of this is so important is because every photo you put out into the world represents you and your brand. If you want your stuff to be good you just have to CARE about it.