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How Best to Prepare for Your 1-on-1 Session

Seeing as many event attendees are not necessarily professional photographers, I wanted to get this information out to assist each of you in preparing for any 30-Minute or 1-Hour 1-on-1 sessions that are part of a Creative Photographic Society event.  Simply put, I want you to get the most benefit out of your allotted time.

The first dilemma, if you want to call it that, is that these 1-on-1 sessions are for a block of time, not actual shooting times.  That is different than the normal group events which allow a set amount of shooting time per pre-established set.  As such, planning is required ahead of time in order to maximize your benefits during your time block.  There are quite a few factors that you should plan out ahead of the event, such as lighting to be used and the set to be selected, among many others.  How much you plan ahead will determine your success during your time.

Time allotted is the first thing to take into consideration.  In this case, do you have 30 minutes or an hour to accomplish your “goals”?  The reason you need to start with the time allotted is that it is the basis for what you can accomplish.  Planning out time for set ups and outfit changes, etc. will be key to your success.

The next thing you need to think of is what are your goals for the session?  Your goals are also called your “shot list”, meaning those are the shots that you want as a minimum to call the session a success.  Things to think of when deciding on a shot list include any backdrops/scenes/sets, outfits, lighting and light modifiers, cropping, etc.  You need to keep your shot list reasonable and accomplishable within the time allotted, so let’s hit on each item a little more…

Set selection can be simple or complex.  Keep in mind that the more complex the set is, the longer it will take to set up, thus reducing the time available for shooting.  Keep this in mind when planning your shot list or you may run out of time before you accomplish your goals.  While some sets within the “studio” are pretty much already set up, others may require more time, such as adding a backdrop (which many are available) or moving furniture.  It is always a good idea to plan a little extra time just in case.

Lighting is another part of the setup that needs to be factored into your planning.  How many lights are you going to need?  What modifiers do you want to use?  Where should they be located? What settings do you plan on using?  How much time should it take to setup the lighting?

Outfits to be used also need to be added to your plan.  Obviously, nude shots don’t require much time getting the model ready, but if you plan on having outfits incorporated, how much time and which outfits you plan on using needs to be added to your plan.  Also think about what props, if any are to be used.

When taking all of these things into consideration, you will find you are likely only going to get typically two sets in a 30-minute session and typically a maximum of 4 sets in a 1-hour session.  That plan allows for 10 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to shoot, which should be fairly easy to accomplish unless your set requires more lights, etc.  Remember, this is a rough guideline and doesn’t guarantee those times are accurate!

One benefit you will have while attending a Creative Photographic Society event is that I will be on hand to start setting up the next set while you are shooting on the current set, so long as it is in a different location.  This will help you accomplish more, or at least have a little more shooting time during your session(s).  That is one of the benefits of having an “assistant” on hand for shoots, whether in a session or out on your own.

A quick checklist for you on a “set” basis:

Set # plan:

  • Shot list for set
  • Set location to be used
  • Furniture to be used and/or moved
  • Backdrops, if any, to be used
  • # of lights and what modifier(s) to be used
  • Location of lights to light for desired result
  • Model outfit(s) to be used
  • Props to be used
  • Estimated time for set up (add a little “padding”)
  • Estimated shooting time