Photographers often use shoot lists to remind them of what to photograph. On a bigger shoot when there is a model, make-up artist, assistant, and people watching, everything would fly out of my head if I didn’t have my shoot list to remind me.
I plan for weeks, sometimes months, about making an image real. The photo in my head has to come out. It takes time to find the right model, props, colors, costumes, hair styles, make-up, and background. After all that planning, it is a sin to forgot all those initial inspirations that started you on the project in the first place.
My shoot list is generally about posing, locations, and costume changes. When I’m alone and can think clearly about how I want the image to look, I will sketch different poses for the model to try. I have the whole shoot mostly planned, not only because I don’t want to forget, but I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
The best part of a shoot, as in life, are the unexpected things: the unexpected expression on a model’s face, the sun coming out from behind the clouds and illuminating a door, the wind picking up at just the right moment. These things happen only for a split second. But without the shoot list, I wouldn’t have been in the place to catch the great unexpected. By having a shoot list, I set myself up for a greater chance of success.
I’m not an organized person, and I’m starting to use “day lists” to remind of the meat and potatoes actions I have to accomplish to run my life. It has really been keeping me on track. I’m setting myself up for success with my “day list,” and I find myself in the midst of more creative “accidents.” Woody Allen said that 90% of success is showing up. The list just gets you on the plane, then all you have to do is look out the windows and find the sky.