Ali Gordon


I’ve had a lot of comments about my content production recently and in particular it was really nice to hear people refer to my content as “high quality” and some of my brand work even being mistaken for full on production house work. Not that of a one man band and rather professionally team shot.

As lot’s of you know I’ve always worked hard to keep taking my content further and in new directions. I’m always trying to improve even to the point where I can lose sight of how far I’ve come. However, all this effort to be better at this skill is in vain if it didn’t run alongside the most key factor of all in this industry…Preparation!

Like buying a property where the rule (and show) is “location-location-location”, the rule for content production is “preparation-preparation-preparation”. Initially I want to highlight the faults and mistakes I have made and sometimes still do make as well as the faults and mistakes I believe lot’s of creators make as they are completely natural to this line of work and things you have to experience to understand why avoiding them is so important. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. 

Often content that you see on social media can look super easy and often it’s supposed to look that way but I can tell you that a lot more goes on than many people seem to realise. More recently I saw a tiktok where someone just laid on the floor exhausted as they had been filming for 5 hours to produce one 20 second video!!! It can seem like content took only 5mins or was just a quick take or quick click of the camera.

The reality is a lot goes into it and the key is preparation. Below are my very basic but key content creation preparation points:

1. Timing – we’ve all got timing wrong in this industry, especially in Winter. We’ve prepped the shoot but not accounted for our time line and we either lose natural light or we just run out of hours in the day. 

2. Equipment not being charged or cleared – this is the most annoying one. Maybe you were just tired and forgot but I think most content creators have been guilty of not charging there equipment and being caught out when you really don’t have the time to wait for a battery to charge up or even more tragically forgot to load your camera with an SD card or even clear it from a previous shoot and end up resricted with limited available space. 

  1. The creative direction  –  Is it feasible? Do you have exactly what you need to shoot it, props and so on? as a creator I’ve certainly had my moments where I’ve gotten carried away with an idea,  soon to realise I need to be a bit more grounded in reality. It can be the lighting, the set, the composition in some cases even the technical ability.

So now onto the steps for prepping a shoot:


  1. Creative Process – think through ideas from beginning to end. How you will produce them and what you are looking for the outcome to be. Often this can be useful to precis into a one pager production document. You can add what you’ll need and example pictures/ mood board. I find story telling is a  great starting point to prompt creative thoughts.  


  1. Check your equipment – make sure everything you need is available for use. Take options for flexibility on location such as different lenses, ND filters, cleaning equipment, spare batteries, sd cards and so on. 


  1. Visual set-up and Practice – if you can look at your location in advance of your shoot and visually how you will set-up, what will go where and imagine the shoot happening so you can attempt to visualise any issues that may occur, your active shoot will run a lot more efficiently, momentum is a fundamental part when taking images, fault finding during a shoot can be de motivating and lower the mood, this pre preparation planning can be the difference between a good or bad day in the office. 


  1. Set limits and minimums for what you are looking to get from the shoot – know what you want to achieve and know how you want to achieve it. Don’t push further or leave it vaguely at a certain amount of content otherwise you’ll feel overwhelmed and pressured even though you may be achieving lots on the day. 

Preparation is key as it gives you direction, comfort in knowing what you are doing and therefore gives you the best chance of succeeding. I personally think of it as one of life’s most important skills. I hope you’ve found todays blog post insightful and there’s some food for thought moving forward with your own creations, remember preparation is a skill to implement in every day life not just photography. 

Take care and stay safe

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