To get the most out of every shoot, commercial and editorial photographer Christopher Malcolm says he prepares a detailed written plan for multiple set-ups. The document, which he calls a “pre-shoot,” helps him work as efficiently as possible on location and shoot all the variable he wants to capture.
He lists each of the shots he wants to make, the lighting set-up he wants, and some reference images to show the mood or look he wants. “For most shoots, I’ll tend to walk in with 30 to 40 pages of plans. It’s incredibly specific,” he says. For his personal project called “Warrior Academy,” he wanted to minimize time spent moving lights back and forth. His 100-page pre-shoot plan listed the order in which he would create each shot, and also the variations he would try with each lighting setup. With the document in hand, he says, “if something goes wrong, I have a plan B,” as well as a plan C and a plan D.
Few photographers are comfortable asking for donations to support their projects. Fundraising expert Dianne Debicella, program director at Community Partners in LA (and formerly senior program director at Fractured Atlas), reminds artists that they’re not begging. She explains why confidence is so important when asking potential donors for money: “You have to frame [the pitch]... More ›
Los Angeles photographer Travis Shinn spent a decade—“too long,” he says—as an assistant. “Get in, learn what you can and get out. Or you start getting bitter.” Here’s a quick test to help you figure out if it’s time to strike out on your own as a photographer: 1. Have you been assisting 5 years?... More ›
A photographer reached out to PDN last week with details of a fake assignment scam that nearly cost him $4100. A person pretending to be an editor for The Fader, Patrick McDermott, contacted the photographer in late December with an offer of an assignment to shoot a fashion editorial for the magazine. He accepted and... More ›