Gig Photography Tips

So you’re getting ready for a photo-shoot gig and you’re at a panic. Do you have everything you need equipment-wise? Have you played in your head the shots you want to cover? Here are some tips on what to be ready for before your photo gig.

Lukas Rossi by Suzen

1. Location Location
If possible, visit the location of the photo-shoot. Gather up your ideas in your head and take notes. Scout the area for good locations for a photoshoot. It may also be necessary to talk to someone in charge of the location to see if there are restrictions.

2. Got Check List?
Before the day of the event, create a list of some of your ideas. Sure, you probably have done a similar event before but it likely you will miss an important shot if you don’t have a check list to go by.

3. Ask the Weatherman
Check the weather in advance. Will you be shooting on a bright, sunny day or overcast day? These are some factors to keep in mind so be prepared.

4. Understand Your Client
Schedule a time with the client whether it be over the phone or in person. Of course it is better to meet with the client in person so you can gauge your client’s expectations. Go over your list with them and get their feedback. Ask them if there are other shots they are hoping to get out of the photoshoot. You may also give them a Model Release Form to sign, if applicable. In addition, discuss with your client that you expect to be the official photographer for this gig. I can almost guarantee you that there will many people trying to take pictures with their own digital cameras and or cell phones. Tell the client you need their permission to talk with their guest(s), if necessary, to allow you to take your shots first and then they will have their turn afterwards.

5. Prepare for the Worst
At the latest, prepare all of your equipment the night before. If possible, have a backup of everything in your camera bag (flash units, batteries, battery packs, memory cards, camera bodies, lenses). Just in case one of these devices or accessories fail, there is no need to worry because you know you can always pull your spare. It also helps to have a second shooter. The second shooter can capture shots you might have missed and at the same time be the life-saver in case something goes wrong with your equipment.

6. Camera Setting
Check your camera’s settings. Check your White Balance, Metering, ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, etc. You may also turn off your camera’s beeping sounds so that there’s no distractions during your shoot. Depending on the location you’re doing the shoot from, it may be mandatory to turn the beeps off. Have you ever wondered why you see professional photographers carrying around two cameras (one on their neck and the other to shoot with)? I wondered the same thing. I believe the primary reason is so they don’t have to change lens during their shoot. They usually will have one camera body with a zoom lens and the other with a wide-angle lens. That way, they can easily swith to one or the other depending on the shots they want to capture. Can you imagine trying to get a certain shot only to miss it because you were too busy changing lens? Even worse is if you’re in a hurry to change a lens because you might miss a shot only to drop your hard-earned lens, which by the way is no chump change to replace.

7. RAW is Your Friend
Shoot in RAW mode, when possible. It is easier to change the exposure and white balance without losing detail. If you decide to shoot JPEG, make sure you set your Exposure and White Balance accurately. Otherwise, what could have been a great photo is ruined because your settings were incorrect and because it’s in JPEG, changing the settings could mean loss in detail(s).

8. Fast Lenses are always Better
Carry around a fast lens if you’re going to be shooting in low-light. This avoids having to boost your ISO to get a good shot. As you may already know, when the ISO is raised, the picture becomes grainy. Depending on your camera’s feature of handing high ISO settings, this will either become unnoticeable or very obvious.

9. Don’t Forget Your Flash Bracket
Why? This is because flash brackets have several advantages. One, they allow you to shoot horizontally or vertically and still have the
flash pointing in the set direction. For example, if your flash is directed to the ceiling, it doesn’t matter if you shoot horizontally or vertically, the flash will remain directed at the ceiling. Two, the flash is set a distance above the camera body. This eliminates red-eye problems in most, if not, all cases.

Article was submitted by Pixel Diaries Photography [ profile | website ]

One Response to “Gig Photography Tips”

  1. Chris says:

    Great post – some really important points here – especially about pre-shoot preparation and shooting RAW. I graduated from Berklee College of Music and, living in Boston, have a lot of good opportunities to do some great band photography now, and the need for good preparation can’t be overstated.

    GREAT photograph by the way.

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