The Three Questions I Ask Myself Before I Start Shooting

September 8, 2019

Because I thrive off of simplicity and systems..(the two things that keep my brain with room for creativity and client experience).. I’ve trained to ask myself these three questions before every single shoot!

So hopefully, these three questions will help train your brain to be completely prepared, have your camera settings perfect, resulting in an image you are super proud of!!

three questions i ask before every photograph

Here they are!

My First Question:

1. What do I want this image to look like?

This sounds like .. okay duh.. but seriously! This question puts me in control of every single decision from here on out! This will help me choose a location, help me choose what kind of lens to put on my camera, and my actual camera settings! If you are a fine art portrait photographer, the answer to this questions will be completely different than a little league football sports photographer! So ask yourself this question, and pay attention to your answer!

Do you want it to look light and airy or dark and moody? Do you want this image to have a super wide landscape, or tight crops accentuating the emotion? Once you answer this question.. you will then know the location to choose, the lens to put on your camera, and the overall aesthetic of the final image! For me, I typically say to myself, “I want my images to have a light, clean background, with the man focus on my clients!” This helps me find the perfect location, (you can learn how I find my locations HERE) and know that I will want my Nikon 85mm 1.4 lens so that I can get the look and feel that I want!

The next question I ask myself is…

2. How many people am I shooting?

This question is EXTREMELY important, because if you shoot in manual mode with my 3 step system, you know that Aperture is my first decision! I want to make sure I keep my aperture as low as possible to maintain my light and airy style, with the creamy backgrounds, but my clients are in sharp focus! So my simple rule that I apply every time is that I equal my aperture to the number of people in the photo!

For example: If I am shooting one person, my aperture can be f/1.8. If I am shooting 2 people, my aperture can be f/2.8. If I am shooting 3 people, my aperture can be 4.0… and so on! So if I know that I am shooting a family of 4.. I will set my aperture at f/4.0 and leave it there! If I am shooting a couple, I will keep my aperture at f/2.8 and leave it there! It keeps things simple and its one less thing to think about!!

The next question I ask myself is…

3. Are my subjects still or moving?

This is another super important question I ask myself because I can change my focus mode before my clients even show up! If you aren’t sure about focus modes, click HERE to read about them! So.. if I know that I will be shooting a family with small kiddos, I know that I will need my focus mode to be on AF-C (Ai-Servo).. or if I am shooting a bridal session where the bride is still most of the time, I know to have my focus mode on AF-S (One Shot). This one question I ask myself will give me that much more of a change to make sure my subjects are in super sharp focus! And its a setting I can change ahead of time (along with the aperture) before my clients even show up!


the three questions i ask myself before a photo shoot

And thats it my friends!!! I hope this helps!! And if you haven’t already, join our FREE Brittany Bruce Education Group so you can ask questions and become a part of our awesome community!



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three questions i ask myself before every photoshoot

Love People. Serve People. Change lives.

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before and after brittany bruce lightroom preset


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