Seven Steps to Make Sure You’re Ready for Your Big Break

Intro by Skip Cohen

Sooner or later, everybody gets that one big chance, or at least the break they perceive as the big one. However, the truth is, because of social media and depending on the strength of your network, every opportunity has the ability to be your “big break”. 

Everything you do today has the potential to reach thousands of potential clients and other photographers. Well, I was wandering through the archives from my first blog and found this gem from Scott Bourne.  While I love my good buddy’s approach here, these are really the steps you need to take for EVERY job you shoot. You never know who’s going to see your images down the road or how they might be used.


You got the chance of a lifetime. It’s that big job or that first magazine cover or that first major photographic workshop. Whatever the case, getting ready for that opportunity requires some thought.

This post probably won’t go the way you think it will. It’s not going to be a list of the gear you’ll need. Instead, it’s sort of a personal prep list. Sure you need gear and I’ll briefly cover that. But let’s talk about everything you need, not just gear.

  • Get your mind right. Spend time looking at lots of pictures relevant to the person, place or thing you’re going to shoot. This isn’t so you can copy these photographs, but rather gain honest intelligence about what you’re up against.
  • Do get your gear in order. If it’s a big job bring everything. Bring more than you need. Have backups for everything. If you don’t own it, rent it. Don’t miss the chance of a lifetime because you didn’t have a spare battery. Oh, and if you can’t afford to buy or rent it, try making it. You never know.
  • Budget enough time. Things that seem like they will be easy to shoot usually take the longest. Don’t be rushed.
  • If you short change your preparation you will pay for it later in do-overs, unnecessary post work or worse.
  • If things aren’t going well – stop. Take a deep breath. Reset everything. Start from scratch. Don’t dig a bad hole any deeper. Get out of it and start over.
  • Have maps, directions, contact info, addresses and phone numbers in at least three places – on your home computer, your laptop and your mobile.
  • Over communicate and have success or under communicate and have a mess. Make sure you’re talking to clients, assistants, vendors, models and anyone else associated with the shoot. They can’t read your mind. Make sure you let them know what is going on and ask for their help when you need it.</p>

This is just a starting point, but the goal of this post is to get you thinking about everything you need to prepare, not just gear. Congrats on this opportunity. Now go out there and get it done.

Scott Bourne


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