Things you definitely shouldn't do on set

You have been working on a shooting idea for a while now, and finally the big day is here. Time to make your project come true and avoid screw-ups. After doing this for a few years, I believe that I am able to take a step back and think about things that shouldn't happen while you are on a set to work.

Coming unprepared

Picture the situation: you have your camera and lights ready, you may even have artistics directors breathing down your neck. And then, BAM, no more battery. Or your memory card is not working for some reason. Of course you don't have a spare one. Nightmare. You should always have a way to avoid this kind of situation. Always. Seriously, just writing it makes me cringe.

Thinking you will take care of more or less important details in post production

How many times have I told myself "I will take care of this with photoshop" when my background is wrinkly, or the makeup is smudged. You end up spending so much time in post-production and after cleaning a background on 12 differents pictures, you are probably dying a little. If only you took care of this before shooting instead of wasting your time now...

Having one idea in mind and changing it at the last minute

This used to be my biggest flaw. I have one idea on paper, precise shots to take and set ups and nope, I went from 0 to 60, two minutes before shooting. Maybe because it was easier in my head than in reality? Maybe because I had another great idea last minute? In every case, I always regretted not sticking to my initial idea, even if I had good shots anyway. Which leads me to..

Going for the easiest way

When you are not lucky enough to see the shooting location before hand, or when you are uncertain of your studio light set ups and you have to be fast, one can find easier to go for something simplier to make sure it is a clean shot. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if you don't do it all the time. This is why...

You need to be an organization freak.

Write EVERYTHING. Draw if you can. And if, like me, drawing is as hard as open heart surgery, you can create lighting diagrams online. As I am not working in a studio as much as I used to, I have a tendency to freak out just thinking about how the hell I am going to lit up a scene. Writing my idea down is like a therapy.

Working with absolute beginners all the time when you are not one. 

Here, I said it. Don't get me wrong, I have worked with students or absolute beginners and I will keep doing it. Some of them were really talented and creative, some of them... weren't. Working with someone can barely show you their work, even if it is just pictures taken with a phone, is a risk. You can only blame yourself afterwards, when you are back in post-production, trying to solve a hair problem or makeup flaws.

This post is from a photographer point of view, but it can work for any career in the image creation industry. Mistakes suck, but it is a good way to learn and be better at what you do. I hope this will help you a little bit, and if you would like to add anything, leave a comment!


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