Tomorrow I have my first shoot of 2009 which means it’s been over a month since I’ve photographed a person or been in the mindset of dealing with a subject or a shoot. I coincidentally happen to have met tomorrow’s subject before, but that doesn’t mean I can be any less ready, prepared, or friendly. (As I have mentioned before, it’s not my natural inclination to be outgoing and social.) I have a mental checklist that needs to be systematically accomplished in order for me to be mentally and physically prepared for a shoot. I learned the importance of this self imposed set of rules a long time ago, after many failed attempts to bypass some of them and have a great shoot regardless.
First of all, I lay out any and all equipment and/or film I’ll be bringing from home to the shoot the night before. I’m not a morning person, and I’ve learned it’s better for me not to have to remember important things early in the AM. I have been known to show up at a shoot without film, Polaroid, film holders, light meters, and other crucial photographic elements such as these. Not good. Second, I need at least five hours of sleep the night before a shoot. Any less than that has proven to be a detriment to my mood and/or energy level. Third, I need ample wake up and coffee time in the morning. I’m not the kind of person who wakes up, takes a 5 minute shower, gets dressed and heads out. My morning routine requires way more wake up time, usually about 45 minutes to an hour. I need to drink at least one full cup of coffee and not feel rushed for time. Rushing stresses me out and starts the day out on the wrong foot. Fourth, I need to pass a Coffee Bean on my way to the shoot. One cup is just never enough…especially when I need to interact with people. Also, I don’t trust unfamiliar coffee.
When I’m on set, I’m pretty low key, and my needs are not nearly as specific. I don’t want to listen to shitty music. I don’t want to eat crappy food. I don’t want to hang out with jerks. Good music, good food (good food includes a vegetarian option for myself and any other non-meat eater), and nice people. You can’t go wrong with the trifecta of goodness.