Checklists – A Portrait Session Necessity

This morning, after having done two quite rapid portrait sessions, I realised that under the pressure of getting things done quickly, I had once again forgotten a few basic things.

Typically, these tend to be about the person in front of the lens, because while worrying about all the technical considerations, which need to be taken care of if anything at all is to happen, it is so easy to overlook the subject.

There are lots of “checklists” online, but they are all (so far) about more sweeping things, like having charged batteries, location permits, changes of wardrobe, etc. What I’m talking about here is a specific checklist to jog one’s memory during the actual session, while the shutter is firing.


I actually have this kind of checklist already, one that I made up a while back. However, it grew far far too long to be useful – especially since it combined technical aspects with shot types / moods and posing considerations. It grew into a giant session workflow. Not so useful in the heat of things.

Now I’m going to try to make a short, quick reference one, just off the top of my head, of the things, in relation to the subject, that must be nailed down but that I at times forget. In no particular order, here goes:

1. posture 1 – erect

2. posture 2 – shape of spine

3. shadows in off-side eye socket (more fill?)

4. orphaned appendages (esp. hands / fingers)

5. head tilted down, creating double chins

6. stray elements entering edges of frames

7. fly aways (hair)

8. hot spots on nose, cheek or forehead

9. waist – visible?

10. larger number of / more variety in poses

11. umm, other stuff

That’s all I can think of now, off the top of my head. I’ll refine this over time, into something useful and sleek, and therefore easy to print out and quickly refer to.


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