Pre-Production 2 – Organisation

Golf in Crete at Dawn
Shooting golf on a mountainside in Crete. Very early in the morning, and very cold too.

Moving on to more tangible aspects of production now, and something that everyone can do, and that’s get organised. There’s no excuse for this, anyone is capable of being organised, and if you run your own business there’s no excuse not to be. I’ll be making references to it throughout all these production posts and there are heaps more resources you can dig out online (expect a list of links fairly soon) or in self help books if you find organisation itself challenging. One of the simplest things you can do, and which I do for even the smallest scale shoots, is compile and print out a job sheet, which contains all the information you could need to know about the shoot. On it I put all the relevant phone numbers, times, locations and addresses, names, emails, as well as the brief from the client, my own notes, some sketches of ideas, as well as maps/directions if necessary.

I also always carry in my camera bag a “phone list” which is basically just the phone number portion of my address book printed out from the computer. The amount of times I’ve had to call somebody in the middle of a job for advice/help is too many to mention, and it’s usually someone specific to the job, who is not always to be found in the memory of my mobile phone. I also always have my old-fashioned paper diary with me, which I keep up to date with the one on the computer every day. I’ve never got on with PDA’s personally, but if you can work with them I’m sure they’re a great aid to organisation.


Next I make sure I’ve got a good supply of pre-printed blank CD/DVD’s, (I’ve nearly finished a short article on Workflow which will go into more detail here), and likewise a CD case with the job written on it, or more than one if I know that several copies will be required. There’s not much point looking very professional by burning a copy of the finished job for your client at the end of the shoot, only to have to scribble on it in biro and hand it to them in an improvised paper envelope. Last but not least, make sure that whilst you’re out of the office business can continue as normal – check your answer machine message is up to date, and that your “out-of-office” email response is on.

Related Posts: Production for Photographers – An Intro, Pre-Production 1 – Production Begins at Home, 3 – Equipment, 4 – Car and Mobile/Laptop, Useful sites, Production on the Job, Post Production.

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