Saving the best for last may be a good way to view a decadent desert but this philosophy has no place in photography! In fact my philosophy is “Shoot the best first!” Whenever possible, I first go after the shots the client wants most, that I want most or those that are the most challenging. Sometimes they are one in the same. Your “best” or “hardest” shot may not mean the most physically demanding for you or the talent. In most cases, for me at least, it is the most creatively challenging. It could simply be an elusive expression or gesture that conveys the ” in the moment” feel or “sense of place” I’m looking for.
I do this while I am fresh, the talent is fresh and I have time to craft the shot and work through communication, creative and technical challenges.
This obviously doesn’t work if you don’t have a shoot list, or you don’t know what your “best” or most challenging shot is going to be. That’s OK. I certainly have shoots in that category. It may also seem counter intuitive if you are shooting in the evening, knowing the best light may be at or just after sunset.
Even on a sunset shoot, I still try to shoot what I perceive as the best first. If the light is good an hour or two before, I’m shootin’! I can’t tell you how many times I thought a sunset would be “epic” only to have it turn out to be a dud. If the light gets magical at sunset, then I can repeat my “A” shots in the sunset light with greater chance of success since I’ve already worked through the creative challenges earlier.