When you need to travel for a shoot, it’s important to make the necessary preparations. You don’t want to find out that you’re missing something essential at the last minute. Buying accessories in a new location can be expensive and can disrupt your timeline. Let’s look at some guidelines to keep in mind when planning for an out of state shoot.
Learn About the Location
Find out as much as you can about the site of the shoot. Try to find photos or videos of other events that have taken place there. In addition to Google Maps, Instagram tags are useful for research. People posting to social media are usually seeking the most interesting spots, so this can give you ideas.
The more you know about the location, the easier it will be to prepare and know what to bring such as the right lenses, flashes, tripods, and other gear. Get as much information as possible from the client on issues such as the time of the shoot. You’ll want to be prepared for the type of natural and/or artificial lighting that will be available.
How you pack depends on how far you’re traveling and whether you’re driving, flying, or taking another mode of transportation. If you’re just packing gear into your vehicle (or a rented one), you don’t have to worry as much about being efficient. Your main challenge is to remember everything. If you’re flying, however, you need to be selective about what to take. Essentials include:
- Multiple cameras, batteries, memory cards, flashes, lenses, and other gear. It’s always best to have extras of everything in case there’s a problem.
- Chargers for your phone, laptop, and cameras.
- Appropriate clothing. If your destination has a different climate, be sure to bring suitable clothing. If it’s going to be chilly, it’s best to wear layers so you can move around freely. Comfortable footwear is especially important as you’ll probably be moving around constantly.
- Check the weather at the destination while packing at home.
Where to Stay
You’ll want to stay somewhere convenient to the shoot. Before choosing a hotel or Airbnb, be sure to check the location on Google Maps. You don’t want to have a long commute to the shoot. In some areas, even a few miles can take a long time due to traffic.
For events held in hotels, consider staying at the venue itself. You may be able to arrange accommodations as part of your fee. If not, you might still be able to get an attendee discount rate. Staying at the hotel lets you scope out the locations ahead of time. Of course, it also means you don’t have to travel back and forth from your hotel to the shoot.
Plan to arrive early. Give yourself time to walk around the location before it gets crowded. Depending on the time of the shoot, you may even want to arrive a day early. The photo session will proceed more smoothly if you already have a good idea of the best spots, lighting, and other factors. Having extra time to familiarize yourself with the area gives you a chance to find creative and unexpected shots you can set up when the time comes.
Do You Need Help?
Depending on the size and scale of the shoot, you may need assistance. Make sure you’re clear if the client is providing any help or if you need to hire an assistant, models, makeup artist, or wardrobe stylist. Since the shoot is out of state, you may want to hire people who live near the location of the shoot.
If you have regular people you work with, they may accompany you to the shoot. Either way, be sure the budgeting is sufficient for the help you need. If you’re using help, send out a call sheet before the shoot so everyone is clear about the schedule and their responsibilities.
Research Places to Buy Camera Supplies
You want to be as prepared as possible so you don’t need to purchase gear on the road. However, you never know when an emergency can strike. If you need something at the last minute, you may not be able to wait for even an overnight Amazon delivery. For this reason, it’s good to know where you can buy equipment on short notice if necessary. You can often buy basic accessories at stores such as Target and Walmart. However, it’s also nice to know the closest well stocked camera shop in the area.
No matter how well prepared you are, things seldom proceed exactly as planned. Be ready for changes and unanticipated circumstances. For example, be ready for unexpected changes in weather. A storm can cause power outages and may cause an outdoor event to be moved indoors.
You should also be prepared for schedule changes for the shoot. For various reasons, events may be postponed or rescheduled at the last minute. Be prepared to stay longer than you planned. Be ready to shoot at different times than originally scheduled.
Plan Ahead For a Successful Shoot
An out of state photo shoot isn’t fundamentally different from a local shoot. The main difference is that it takes a little more planning and research. This is a lot easier than it used to be, as so much research can be done online. However, it’s best to plan ahead so you don’t have to do everything at the last minute.