Not last weekend, but the weekend before, I had my first ever double shoot day. Whilst I’ve shot multiple times before, I quickly noticed a constant consciousness surrounding timing and knowing I had somewhere else to be, which meant I felt a whole new level of nerves that day. Now I’ve been through the experience once, I feel like I have some wisdom which may be helpful to anyone else approaching their first ever day of multiple shoots!
Leave Wiggle Room
First things first, when booking multiple shoots in one day, consider the length of the shoot, as well as time to compensate for delays and getting from one shoot to another; i.e. “Wiggle Room”.
When booking the shoots in, I definitely felt a need to cram everything into the morning or afternoon, or at least within the space of a couple of hours, so I could get home and get to editing... Yet, having ample time available to me reduced my need to rush, and consequently removed any stress that would have come along with that.
Spacing shoots out avoided a negative impact on my wellbeing, and made the process far more enjoyable. It also meant that…
If the shoots ran a little over their slot, it wasn’t the end of the world, as I wasn’t leaving anyone hanging.
I got to spend time with the people I shot with, and get to know them better.
Everyone’s a winner!
Take a lunch break
Before the day had even rolled around, Kaye flagged this tip for me. Being someone who is always thinking about her next meal, often whilst eating her current one, it wasn’t actually something that had crossed my mind... But, as someone who has worked in video production for over three years, six of you count filmmaking at university, I know that, when it comes to food, shoot days can sometimes feel like a grab-something-when-you-get-the-chance, free-for-all.
Working when I’m hangry is, understandably, most definitely not the one, so, blocking out time to sit down and eat is a necessity for me to work at full capacity. I grabbed a Boots Meal Deal (#notspon, but would take a meal deal, deal if you’re offering), and very much enjoyed relaxing and chatting to Charlotte after our shoot.
Something I will be looking into though, is a way to optimise bag space, to bring a packed lunch with me. I am weary that buying refreshments every time I shoot will get costly, and so packing a sandwich, snacks, and a bottle of water does sound more preferable and convenient to me!
Bring along some reading material
This one may seem a bit random, but bringing along a book is the ideal companion for commuting or during breaks. After concentrating for extended periods of time when shooting and bustling around when on the go, staring at the infinite loop of various social media apps didn’t quite provide the relaxation I was hoping for...
Filling these minutes of calm with literature, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, allows for the brain to switch off and think about something else for a bit. So, grab that book, newspaper or magazine, and get reading!
I have also found that reading stops me from trying to take on more than…
One thing at a time
As soon as a shoot is over, I can feel myself itching to look through the photos, delete any duplicates or outtakes, and get cracking with editing.
From the moment I first feel this urge, to the second the images have been delivered, all I can think about is getting the images finalised and to the client. This means I feel a tremendous level of guilt when I take a break, need to work on something else, or can’t get to editing straight away.
As I currently balance photography with fulfilling a full time job, relationships and caring for my own wellbeing, there isn’t a delivery speed I can implicate for every edit that I work on. And, as every job comes with its own challenges, and is worked in to a varied schedule, I’m not sure there ever will be. Which is understandable - I’m only one human!
But, whilst I can be objective and rationalise the situation - like I have just done here - it can be overwhelming to be in contact with the aforementioned thoughts during every waking moment. Therefore, it’s important that I manage my workload, and don’t give myself more work to do than I need to, at any given time.
It’s also important that I factor in breaks - especially when I feel like I don’t need them - and make slowing down a priority. I want to enjoy the process, so I need to go one step at a time.
You’ve got this
I’ve been shooting single shoots in a day for around five to six months now, and have quickly found a familiarity in the process. It’s continuously been a learning curve, but, for some reason, my first ever double shoot day threw me a total curveball.
My mind seemed to be in different places at once throughout the day. I was so nervous and worried, specifically about walking away from a shoot without any usable shots. A feeling I have dealt with before, but was heightened that day.
When I took my concerns to Instagram, the lovely Yossy quickly came to the rescue, championing me on and reassuring me that I wasn’t alone in my feelings. To see Yossy say that felt like a weight had been lifted!
The more I think about it, even though it’s daunting to realise, some shoots will always go better than others. That’s normal. But, I suppose when you rely on your creativity to make a living and succeed, it just adds a whole new level of uncertainty and consequent pressure to do well.
It’s not always possible to go to bed feeling like you had the most awesomest, productive, kick-ass day ever, though. I mean, think about it this way; even robots, made to do specific jobs, don’t even manage them 100% of the time…
I think the most important thing I need to remember, from this entire process, is that the amount of photos I walk away from a shoot with, does not define how good of a photographer I am. If I have a set of photos I can send to the client, I have done what I set out to do. And these sets of photos will only continue to improve with experience, through practice, and by building my confidence.
If I am trying my best, that’s all I can ask of myself! We’ve got this.