- Location, where, how to get there (route plan), time to get there, time of and length of shoot. Special considerations for example if by the sea, tide tables and times, weather forecast etc.
- Any history and reputation especially if it is an urban location, if in doubt stay away and don't take photographs at this location.
- Time of photography during daylight, dusk or after sunset.
- Equipment needed including extra or specialist items for example if shooting at night take a small torch, change for car parking, mobile phone etc. It might be also advisable to ask a friend to accompany you, to keep an eye on your back and for company as well.
- Do prior research on location, subject and anything else that is relevant. Remember the 7 P's: Perfect Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance, and Kiss: Keep It Simple Stupid.
- Always let someone know where you are going and give an estimated time of return, especially if you are a young or female photographer, and doing a night-time shoot.
- After dusk always know the environment around you, keep one eye open for potential trouble. I have found the best time to do urban city centre after dusk photography is when the clocks go back say from late October to late January before it gets too cold for productive photography. You can do photography between the hours of 4 to 8pm before all the anti-social elements and drunkards venture out. Just dress accordingly and wrap up well. Not only that, at this time of year the light is cleaner and crisper.
- Be aware of your rights, do not trespass on private property, obstruct the highway with your camera equipment and tripod. Please see relevant web site addresses for more detailed information on this issue.
- Do not take photographs of banks, prisons, military installations, marinas, and government buildings. I have included marinas because I was once accosted by a boat owner who thought I was an international boat thief taking photos for to steal to order (I ask you). Mind you I have no doubt that this does happen.
- Be wary of shopping centres, as well if in doubt get written permission first. Most of these are on private property (including the pavement and area outside and surrounding the building).
- There are many web sites where you can perhaps download a copy of "Photographer's Rights" in a pdf document. I suggest that you carry a copy in your camera bag or pocket for reference. It would be also advisable to carry an ID type card and any business cards with you.
- If you are a student let your course tutors know your plans and where you will be photographing.
- Be responsible, obey any laws or restrictions and be polite. Above all enjoy your photography.
- Also if you promise to send or give someone a print, then please make sure you keep your promise (photographers who don't, give other photographers a bad name).
- Do you have permission, a permit or license to photograph at specific locations? This can include certain species of flowers or plants and animals. Contact the relevant organisation well in advance to apply for permission, a permit or license.
Useful web sites: www.urban75.org www.sirimo.co.uk
In relation to Photographers Rights.