You’ve booked the job! Great! Now it’s time to start shooting. Nope. NEVER walk onto a set without a plan! I don’t care how good you are at shooting, retouching, or winging it. There are things that are going to go wrong but if you have a strategy you’ll be bounds and leaps ahead of the curve.
It’s no secret that you should plan ahead for every shoot, but I am always amazed by the amount of people that show up without a plan. I use to do this very early in my career when I could getaway it, but things are very different today.
Before any shoot that I’m on I spend many hours doing research on the subject, company, location, and other things that pertain to the shoot at hand.
First thing I do is learn about my surrounding because the last thing I want is my equipment to fail because the building materials. (This has happened to me.) Second I learn all that I can about the legal situation such as property releases, copy wright regarding logos, products, and model release issues.
Third thing I do is study the look the client is after. It’s very hard for a client to communicate what they want in a photo shoot. So always ask question that help narrow down what they’re after then study.
As you progress though your career as a professional photographer this idea of studying will get more precise with practice. My recommendation is start by planning out your personal shoots or go to places that a lot of things are happening and could go wrong- then you’ll understand why planning is so good.