5 Things I Do Before Every Photoshoot

No matter how long I have been doing photography as a business, there are still a few things I do right before each and every session. Now, this is outside of the regular "get all the equipment ready" step, which usually happens way ahead of time. This post is all about that time between when I arrive at the Studio (about 1 hour before the session is scheduled to begin) and when I have to be ready to photograph my clients.

 Photograph of an old film camera and pretty flowers. Greenwich, Connecticut photo Studio.

5 Things I Do Before Every Photoshoot

1. Clean the Studio

 N. Lalor Photography Studio interior, showing couch, coffee table, and TV.

Top to bottom, the Studio gets cleaned both after and before every client. After the session, all surfaces are wiped down, floors are cleaned, and trash collected and taken out. Before the session, I rearrange things to accommodate the shooting space and take care of any dust that might have accumulated. Rearranging furniture (which includes step stools, the clothing rack, and my light stand) is essential since I am working in a fairly small space and the setup is different when I go from a photoshoot to an ordering appointment. The other little thing I do is light a nicely-scented candle and put on relaxing classical music. This really sets the mood for the session and creates a lovely atmosphere for when my clients arrive and walk into the Studio.

2. Make a Shot List

I write out a list of all the portrait groupings I want to get during the session. I do this because in the past, I sometimes forgot to get a very important photo during the shoot (lots of things are going on usually so that's easy to do). Making a list makes sure that I have a plan fresh in my mind, even if I don't actually end up referencing it, since sometimes I go straight through the session without a break or a pause. I also write down everyone's names at the very top of my shot list. Somehow, after having kids my memory is complete rubbish, so it's almost like studying for a test before each photoshoot.

 Image of a light stand and photography backgrounds at N. Lalor Photography's Studio in Greenwich, Connecticut.

3. Set up my Light

I set up and test my lights before my clients arrive. I do this so that when we're ready to start photographing, I'm not playing around with settings, which could take some time. I still test the lights with one of the kids at the very start, to make sure everything is dialed in precisely, but it takes about 1 minute to do so. Being prepared is incredibly important to me, which goes well with running things efficiently once the family I'm photographing arrives.

4. Check in with the Hair Stylist

I often walk down and pay the hair stylist (plus tip!) before the session (most of my Moms get complimentary hair styling with their photoshoot). I make sure to take care of everything so my clients never have to worry about that part. And it's one of those "behind the curtain" things that nobody really knows about.. which is exactly why I make sure to take care of it beforehand.

5. Take a Moment

I still feel a little nervous before every session. Photographing people is one of the hardest jobs because it's 10% photography and 90% interacting with the person and making sure they're comfortable in front of the camera. I will often take a few minutes to breathe and sit still so I can be ready to give 100% to the photoshoot and the family I'm working with. As an introvert, this step is quite important because I never want to go into a session scattered or flustered. Working with kids demands quite a bit of patience and understanding. And I've had many parents remark on how calm I am when working with their children. Taking a moment before all the craziness is one of the key ways I am able to do that.


But hey, why don't you come and experience a portrait session with me for yourself? You can use the contact form at the bottom or email me at info@nlalorphotography.com to get started.