1) Know the audience. Who is your shoot for? Your own blog/site? Or to 'try out' for another blog? Or maybe you're photographing with a story in mind to pitch to a magazine or site. Whatever the final goal is, study pictures that already exist there. Do they go for bright, clean and graphic? Or is the look more lifestyle, romantic and soft? Make a point to shoot in the style that will most likely place fit into your goals. Remind yourself to keep working in this way DURING the shoot — this is critical and can be difficult to remember in the moment.
2) Scout the Location. If you can, go to where you're photographing ahead of time. Go there a day in advance, get to know the light, the hours, the business level (if it's a public space). If this isn't possible, take 15–20 minutes before you start photographing to understand the location, the people and the vibe.
3) Bring Props! Make the place look better than it does. This can include scarves for people, a big bowl of fruit for the table or some pretty flowers. Even bringing plates and extra pretty linens can make a space come to life with pretty pops of color. (Images: Bethany Nauert for Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn)