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There are many factors to consider the first time you do a photoshoot with models. Taking pictures of human beings is very different than other expressions of imagery, such as landscape or still life photography. In order for the end result to translate well, special considerations must be made when working with models.

The first piece of equipment that you will need is a light meter. Instead of taking pictures with a  flash and repeatedly adjusting your power, light placement and aperture settings, a light meter saves you precious time and money by telling you exactly which shutter speed and f-number is needed to get the optimum exposure for any lighting situation and using any film speed. It is a must have device that is sadly overlooked by many photographers.

Nowadays, the majority of photographers use digital DSLR cameras, but there are extensive lens choices, depending on whether you have an indoor or outdoor photoshoot, as well as the time of day. It’s important to know how to use different lens lengths, since the wrong lens can give a distorted view of your model. Regardless of where you decide to shoot, it’s important to invest in a decent sized lens hood in order to cut down on lens glare, either from strobe lights or the sun. As an added bonus, the hood will protect the lens from any accidental bumps that might occur. Always bring a tripod for mounting your camera, as well as any necessary power strips, adapters and extension cords. Bring a laptop with backup storage and extra memory cards for your camera(s), as well as fully charged extra batteries for both camera(s) and flash. If possible, you should also bring a battery charger in case you need to recharge on site. You should also pack a sensor cleaning kit and lens cleaning cloth to counteract any dust build up.

It may not seem obvious, but there are a number of non-photography items you should always have on hand as well. Because you’re taking pictures of people and clothing, any number of potential wardrobe malfunctions might occur, so it helps to be prepared for any emergency. Sewing kits, lint rollers and assorted binder clips can become your best friends in a pinch. Binder clips are known as fashion’s dirty little secret, since they can make anything fit like a glove. Fishing line wire is invisible to the camera and is another quick way to ensure a perfect fit.  Another way to do touch ups is to have lint rollers and shoe polish on hand, and towels and blankets are great for covering up your model for modesty or keeping clothing clean between takes.

In addition to having a sunny attitude and polite manners, bring music along to entertain your models and keep them from getting bored. It will also help to break the ice and lighten the mood. Food and water also go a long way towards having happy subjects. Another way to make your models feel comfortable is to provide a changing station. This can be as simple as a large black sheet covering a corner of a room, or cutting a hole through it and draping it over a model’s head for instant privacy.