How To Do a Professional Assignment
by William Lulow
After I have determined what kind of shot will be required to satisfy the art director’s (or the client’s) need, I begin to plan the shoot. I assemble all the equipment necessary, whether I will take it on location or use it in the studio. If it’s a studio shot, I set up the background first, then all the lights I think I will need. Since I know my lighting, I can actually make a piece of white no-seam register dark in the camera by keeping light off it. But sometimes, I might have to change the background in the middle of the shoot.
I always begin with more than I think I’ll need because everything changes once other people come to the studio and their points of view start being discussed. I do the same if I’m going on location. I always bring backups and extra equipment, just in case I might need something. If I don’t need it, fine! But I never want to be caught without a vital piece of equipment. I have a checklist for everything I take on location so that nothing is forgotten either to be packed or at the location for re-pack.
This location checklist, the art director’s sketch, contact information about the job, the galley (for a magazine shoot), my sketches of the set up – all this info goes into an envelope I call a “Job Envelope for Photographic Services.” On the front are spaces for client name, contact info, art director’s name and contact info including all email addresses. Also included are: shoot date, completion date, any models’ names, assistant(s) names and check boxes for services such as props, retouching and location fees such as transportation. This job envelope has a number that corresponds to a listing on my “Job Records” list, and once the job is completed, discs have been burned and checks received, everything goes in the envelope and it is then filed away in a fireproof file cabinet in the studio. If necessary, I can then pull up the job envelope and everything related to the job will be at my fingertips. I do this for every single thing I shoot even if it is just a personal project.