I'm feeling like taking a brain dump. Delete/move if needed.
Before you remove the caliper, you can lock the rotor down with a couple of lugnuts and washers, then slide the caliper outwards to depress the piston. You have a little better leverage as you're pulling the whole caliper with the car resisting. It won't get you all the way as the pad is worn down, but it'll make for less work later.
After you change pads, cycle the brake pedal numerous times before starting the car. If you forget to do this and have a hill outside your garage, you may be frantically pumping the pedal as you're accelerating down your driveway. (For the record, I didn't hit anything, but it was way too close!)
If you have a car with the screw-in style rear pistons (Honda), it can take a really long time to thread the piston back in if the pads got very low. I used an adapter to let me drive a 3/8" extension with my cordless drill/driver. If you do this, you need to go at a VERY SLOW speed as you may burn the seals if you go fast.
FYI: slotted and drilled rotors are for looks only. Look at any race series that races on pavement or concrete - they all have non-slotted non-drilled rotors. On dirt they can be helpful to clear mud. Any amateur track racer or lapping-day participant will have solid rotors unless they manage to get sponsors. Most track nuts buy the cheapest rotors they can get from Napa or whatever store is nearby. They will crack eventually if used for track, may as well buy 5 sets of cheap ones instead of 1 set of fancy ones.
For pad materials, every compound/brand has different characteristics so it's important to find someone that uses their brakes like you and get their opinion. I use Hawk DTC-60 pads for the Gimli road course on my STI with 3" brake ducts to the centre of the front rotors. They're freaking fantastic once I get them warm, and they wear ok once hot. However, I used them for an autocross weekend once and burned through about 40% of the pad thickness in about 100 km of mostly highway driving and 15-ish autocross runs. Yikes! Don't use 'race' pads for street use.
Conversely, I tried Hawk HPS pads at an autocross school on the STI and had smoke pouring out of my wheel wells with no brakes part-way through the 3rd run. They're fine on the street though.
I'm loving the StopTech Street Performance pads in my S2000 so far. They work well at autocross, they work well when stone cold, and I wasn't able to fade them in a full brake bedding procedure on an abandoned highway. Plus they're cheaper than most pads out there. Speed Factor was able to special order them for me in about 5 days. Their prices were around 50% higher than I could have bought from any US dealer, but I needed pads quickly.