How to Avoid Unexpected Problems During a Photo Shoot

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Photographer Tips

photo shoot with female model on white background

Picture the perfect setup for a photography shoot — your equipment all ready to go, the weather conditions shaping up nicely and a great piece of scenery or an interesting subject to look forward to. Sadly, this perfect setup is quite rare in the world of photography, where something always seems to go wrong. As a photographer, you need to be prepared to handle whatever unexpected surprises are thrown your way. If you’re struggling to get past all the curve balls thrown your way during any given photo shoot, you may want to carefully examine your preparation process to see if you are unintentionally leaving out essential details.

Pack Towels

Towels serve as excellent backup tools for photographers and can come in handy in a variety of situations. If a location photography project forces you to encounter sweltering weather, a towel can be perfect for wiping that excess sweat off your subjects. And if one of the subjects makeup is blotted by inclement weather, you can quickly fix things with the help of a towel. You may also find towels useful for propping up various objects or serving as extra cushion in various scenarios.

Take Advantage Of Your Smart Phone

No, you shouldn’t use your iPhone in a photo shoot or as part of the photo editing process if you’re aiming for a professional result. But a good smart phone or tablet can prove invaluable when unexpected problems arise. For example, if, on the way to a big shoot, you find yourself hopelessly lost, a navigation app can get your out of a tight spot. You will also find your phone useful for completing those everyday tasks that can otherwise be cast aside during location photography sessions. For example, checking email, paying bills and budgeting your photography expenses are all easy to check off the to-do list when you have a smart phone on hand.  
photographer and model outside

Photo Credit Ron Wiecki via Flickr

Bring The Right Props

When it comes to photography props, you’re always best planning things out ahead of time — this prevents the need to carry along a massive pile of props that will most likely not be used. Still, there are certain prop standards that are used in a significant number of photo shoots and thus, are worth packing with whenever you set out to take new photographs. And of course, if you’re shooting from a studio, you will definitely want to have a standard set of props on hand at all times. Blocks and step stools are absolute essentials for the studio, with posing tables also proving useful on occasion. You will also want to have a standard set of photo backdrops on hand, ideally with enough variety to capture the subject in his or her best light. The versatile collapsible backdrop is a must-have for any photographer spending large amounts of time shooting on location.

Organization Is Key

Over the years, many photographers have contributed to an unfortunate stereotype depicting artists as scatterbrained and unorganized. While it may be true of some people, it’s really not that difficult to keep all of your equipment and paperwork in order. If you’re struggling to keep track of everything, you may want to consider investing in a good carry bag. Designed to keep your equipment safe while you’re on location, the carry bag’s multiple pockets and adjustable dividers make it a lot harder for you to misplace key tools and documents. The ideal carry bag will come equipped with a shoulder strap so that you can simply sling the bag on your shoulder and go on your merry way when the photo shoot draws to a close. Mobility is always advantageous for the photographer, and especially when this increased mobility is combined with a great organization scheme.  
studio photo shoot

Photo Courtesy of Scott Kelby

As a photographer, you need to learn to expect the unexpected. The sentiment may seem cliche, but it really does ring true for those passionate about photography. Save time on the finicky photo editing process by getting the shot in perfect form in the first place. The best way to accomplish this? Arrive at every photo shoot prepared for anything and everything that could possibly go wrong. The extra preparation may seem time-consuming at first but you’ll be glad you invested that time in the long run.

What crazy, unexpected problems have you ran into before on a photo shoot? How did you resolve them?

Interested in learning more about improving your photography? Check out 5 Photography Tips for Beginners!

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

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