I have a young asso­ciate pho­tog­ra­ph­er I’m men­tor­ing and she’s cov­ing a sim­ple PR event for a client. These are a few of the shoot tips I sent along to help her have the best chance of suc­cess. It would work on any of your shoots real­ly, and might be a nice overview for the young pho­tog­ra­ph­er get­ting ready for an assign­ment.

Flash Notes:
Using the flash off cam­era like you do is great, or on cam­era bounce… any­thing to soft­en shad­ows, etc. (note: she has the flash on a TTL exten­sion cable ‘Stat­ue of Lib­er­ty’ style. I used to always shoot that way. Now with the sit­u­a­tions I’m in and the Gary Fong light soft­en­ers, I’m fine with bounce flash on the cam­era.)
Drag Shut­ter:
Try some with the drag shut­ter too… a few nor­mal frames, then just try one in a dim envi­ron­ment with some nor­mal glow in the back­ground to do Shut­ter Pri­or­i­ty and 1/15 or 1/30 of a sec, hold­ing steady. That helps things not look so much like they are in a cave.
Ask for the Shot:
Don’t be shy to occa­sion­al­ly ask a per­son to keep doing what they are doing for one last frame, and/or look at you and smile for one frame.
It’s OK to ask peo­ple (wed­ding style) to turn toward the cam­era for two quick clicks… then you have both the min­gling, and the safe shot.  I find 90% of clients pre­fer using most­ly the safe shots.
Don’t be afraid to shoot lots of frames as long as you’re not in a sit­u­a­tion where it’s obnox­ious… I’m sure you can fig­ure that out. But I find peo­ple shoot too lit­tle more than too much.
Be the Mon­key:
Chimp a lot (look at how the shots look on the LCD). Noth­ing’s worse than 5 min­utes of shots that are way off.
Over time, you can be a freak like me and not only set man­u­al white bal­ance (Flash for flash and Cloudy for out­door shoots) but also tweak the col­or  even more using the White Bal­ance Shift func­tion)
Man­ners (real­ly!):
Arrive 15 min­utes ear­ly to set up. Dress at the lev­el of the atten­dees or one notch above. Relax and smile  🙂  Man­ners mat­ter more than you real­ize… it’s MR. XYZ, and ‘Thank you very much”, “It’s a plea­sure to meet you”. One of my ear­ly shoot s for the AP, was with a mul­ti-mil­lion­aire (now bil­lion­aire) and one of the first things he com­ment­ed on was my man­ners and upbring­ing.. not my pho­tos, my man­ners… and I was raised in rur­al PA, work­ing at a mom and pop gas sta­tion and with a dirt race track lit­er­al­ly 200 yards behind the house.
Be Pre­pared:
Pre-visu­al­ize the shoot. What will be good shots, what you’ll do to posi­tion your­self, your shot check­list. Ask the client for what shots would be great for their uses. Have a back­up cam­era, lots of bat­ter­ies, a back­up flash. It’s the mark of a pro and if you shoot enough, things will fail.
After the shoot, debrief. Think about what went well and what you’ll change next time. Do this after every shoot and you’ll get bet­ter and bet­ter.
I shoot JPeg Large… and deliv­er in the range or 9x9” at 300PPI/DPI as Jpegs. Files end up around 1.2–1.5 MB
Pitch the bad stuff and redun­dant stuff (you keep, but don’t deliv­er).
Give the client all the shots that are left with a quick/‘light prep’ so they are in the ball­park for usage. All of your top shots… for me, it’s usu­al­ly like my best third or quar­ter of images.… put in a ‘Top Favorite Images Only’ fold­er. That way they can go one place and be sure all the shots are there, and one fold­er when they just want a few good shots fast and easy. I include a PDF thumb­nail sheet on the CD.Working in Apple’s Aper­ture, this is very easy.
I try to mail out CDs (2 iden­ti­cal copies with a rea­son­ably pro look­ing label) in a busi­ness week and I let clients know that if they need some­thing soon­er, I can e‑mail them a few shots any­time.

Hope­ful­ly these basics are so com­mon that you’ll think I’m crazy to men­tion them… but from expe­ri­ence, I see many young pho­tog­ra­phers miss­ing at least one of these areas, and that’s all it takes to blow you chance to impress a client.

Hap­py shoot­ing!

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