It is absolutely essential that you get your first set of images shot within a matter of days in some instances and certainly in the first week with the longer projects! Again we have to reiterate this becomes so much more manageable if you've been doing on-going research in your own time independently.
All art work is the product of a process of development of skills, techniques and the idea. Your project needs to show the development of these aspects over the period of the brief and this done by producing at least three shoots where the work improves and becomes more coherent as an idea and as a set of images.
It therefore follows that your first shoot can be virtually anything as long as it is linked to your work. So in the example I've been using any images of shoes would do, as long as you're exploring some aspect of what you're going to do. The first shoot might just be exploring what angle you want to shoot the shoes from - a side view, the under-side, the top-side, whether you're going to have a single shoe or the pair. At the same time you could test the light that you might use and a range of lenses to see what works best. All of this is a part of the development process.
At this stage, digital works well just to get pictures in your books/folders and demonstrates that you've made a start and enables your lecturers to give you feedback and discuss what you're doing. More importantly though, it's through this process of doing 'Test shoots' that you'll get some sense of the challenges that you may face in getting the project to the next stage.
Once you've shot the images, these need to be put in your book. Ideally you would produce a contact sheet with all the images on and handful of images 4 or 6 perhaps - approx 5" x 7" in size. You will then have to annotate the images with observations you've made about the process so far.
At this point you will need to do your first reflective written piece using the Gibbs Reflective Practice model.