Sean Pollock is a freelance photographer. His specialties include portraiture and lifestyle photography, and he’s always looking to tell a story through his work. When he’s not taking photos, he enjoys riding bikes. Check out Sean’s photography on 500px and Instagram.

Here are a few tips on how he approaches a day on set for one of his lifestyle photo shoots.

Plan

Before I even get on set, I’m making sure everything is in order to ensure I’m not scrambling when I should be focusing on shooting. Models, makeup, food, and location scouting are all prepped and ready to go. Some locations require permits, and those can take time to get approved, so looking for a location is the first thing I do. Creating a mood board to bring on set is an excellent aid for your own reference or to show your models.

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Gear

I shoot with the 5D MKII and the 35/50mm primes. For me, full frame is essential when shooting lifestyle as I need to maximize my depth of field when picking out small details or isolating actions. If you can get yourself a second camera body while shooting, it’ll make switching between lenses much quicker.

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Be present

It’s easy to get lost behind the camera when on a photo shoot—you can get so focused on creating that your surroundings can become a blur. It’s great to be concentrated on what you’re doing, but interact with your team on set and get everyone excited. Get to know them, tell jokes, and make them feel comfortable. You can have fun while shooting and this will translate into better quality images.

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From travelling to the location to managing your team, a day on set can be a very long. Be patient when photographing; the ideas will flow and you can build from there. I always have a water bottle beside me and a pocket full of snacks to keep me from getting fatigued. Lifestyle photography is all about capturing real moments—the days of standard stock are over.

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