Process 077 ☼ My Pre-Shoot Checklist
Plus my digital set up for small shoots
In this week’s letter I share my pre-shoot checklist for small to medium-sized editorial and corporate shoots. To break up the text I’ll share some shots from this past summer when I stumbled upon the famous Holland Beker rowing contest.
Before we dig in I’d like to say a quick hello and introduce myself to all the new subscribers who joined after a kind shout out over at Feature Shoot this week.
My name is Wesley Verhoeve and I’m a photographer and curator based in Amsterdam after two decades in New York City. I started Process to share my work and behind-the-scenes lessons in more intentional way than social media allows.
Five issues from the archives to check out if you’re new around here:
I recently did a client shoot for an upcoming new show on the Discovery Channel called Make Yourself at Home which will air soon. When it does I’ll be able to share some behind-the-scenes from the day with presenter Maddie Moate.
My Digital Set Up For Small Client Shoots
Today I will share my digital set up for small to medium-sized client shoot like the Discovery Channel one above. One of my favorite things about living in Amsterdam is that I can ride my bicycle to pretty much any shoot in the city since I can fit it all in a camera back pack. See below.
From left to right and top to bottom we have here:
Godox V1c flash for Canon
Godox Flash trigger
Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens
Canon 85mm 1.2 lens
Pelican case with memory cards
Extra Fuji battery
Extra Canon battery
Canon 5D Mark IV (main camera)
Fuji x100F (back up camera)
To check out my full set up of both analog and digital cameras and what I use each camera for check out Process 047.
My Pre-Shoot Checklist
Before I head out to a shoot I always run through my pre-shoot checklist to make sure I have everything I need. With so many moving parts it’s easy to forget something small yet important. This week I was rushing out the door to a shoot without making time to run through my list and I forgot to bring my flash trigger, which I definitely was planning to us. Thankfully I didn’t end up needing it but it was still a good reminders to always make time to run through the list. Here is my list:
1. My Prepared Notes
Before most shoots there will have been a brainstorm with the client to go over the creative direction and a shot list. For some shoots this is a minimal amount of information while for others, like the Discovery Channel one, it will be very specific and extensive. I always take notes and confirm with the client that we’re on the same page and then bring those notes along to the shoot just as a guide to look at and make sure we cover everything we agreed on.
Depending on the shoot there may also be logistical notes like schedules or a call sheet prepared by the producer that covers locations, transportation, a schedule, and contact information for everyone involved on set. Sometimes it’s just myself and the subject, but for my bigger commercial shoots it can be a list of 20 people including hair and make up, assistants, location manager, agency contact, etc.
2. Check My Primary Gear
Do I have everything I need to succeed in terms of my primary gear? The night before the shoot I make sure all my batteries are charged, my memory cards are formatted, and my lenses are clean. If I am bringing a film camera I make sure the film I need is already out of the fridge to adjust to room temperature.
3. Check My Back Up Gear
This is the same process, but for the back up gear. I prefer this as a separate point on the list to make sure it gets proper attention and isn’t an afterthought.
For shoots with a bigger budget I rent a second Canon Mark 5D Mark for but in lieu of the extra budget I just bring my Fuji camera in case of emergency.
4. Check My Settings
Since I prepared for the shoot and would know the light circumstances and our shotlist I should be able to adjust my settings before the shoot and save some time and brain power during the shoot itself.
Is my flash set to the right program? Is my ISO bandwidth set correctly? Is there a memory card in the camera and is it freshly formatted? Is my focus mode, exposure, and white balance set right?
5. Extra stuff
Do I have my note book and a pen and a sharpie? Did I clean out my camera bag and pack my business cards, phone charger, mask, id, lens cloth, and bounce? Did I check the weather so I can wear weather appropriate clothes and shoes?
That’s it! If I make sure to check these five categories before a shoot I can confidently walk onto set knowing everything is set up for success and that’s when we can get the most creative and be the most effective storytellers.
All film was developed and scanned by my friends at Carmencita Film Lab. Use code “PROCESS” at check out to get a free size upgrade for your scans.
That’s it for this week! Next week I’m back with an issue about one of my favorite shoots for National Geographic Traveller. And the return of the Process Giveaway!
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others.
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