The 5 P’s

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Professional Photography Tips: The 5 P’s

  • PISS
  • POOR


I was told this is a mantra a few years ago and have tried to live by it ever since.

I hope that some of these scenarios are familiar faux pars we have all had to deal with at some point our careers.

But if you follow these words of wisdom and learn from my mistakes (not that I make them anymore just to be clear, I am a professional you know), I hope that you can prevent any of these rookie mistakes from happening to you.

Pre-shoot Checks


  • Memory cards have been transferred and formatted with spares. You can’t take photographs without any memory guys.
  • Check the cameras and lens are working! – Take a shot, you don’t want to find out it has died a death overnight. This can happen, they are mechanical pieces of equipment.
  • Batteries are charged. There’s nothing worse than a shoot being cut short because of a lack of juice. Truly do this, is basic but be anal.
  • Laptop charged, desktop clear, external hard-drive plenty of space. If you’re backing up on site you need to have room, and back up room!


  • Check the weather forecast for that day and keep up to date. It could entirely change the shoots location or styling. You might have to cancel altogether.
  • Map route – plan your journey, and just a backup in case.
  • Emergency cash or bankcard plus a back up incase of overdraft! You never know when your going to get caught out with parking, needing coins when you only have card, or having to jump in a cab to get a new location!
  • Petrol/tires/transport – you need to make it on location in one piece.
  • A back up biker? If your equipment brakes, how quickly can you get your hands on a new camera or lens or lighting? Have a relationship with a camera shop, and a biker company so you can be the hero to your own disaster movie. They can bring you most equipment needed and resolve most breakages on site.
  • Insurance is valid and up to date. You never know what might happen.

As we all know, the slightest thing can have an effect on the outcome of the shoot and sometimes, no matter how well prepared you are, things can go wrong. But hopefully by pre-empting these small and avoidable errors, you will have a stress free shoot you can enjoy and be proud of.

Photo credit Kat Hannon Photography @ Zipworld. A thrilling adventure where the safety always comes first.