Planning a photo shoot

Planning a photo shoot.

When you plan a photo shoot, you need to script it out ahead of time. The big difference between a good shoot and a great shoot is a shoot that has every detail possible worked out in advance.

Here’s how a great photo shoot develops.
1. Concept. Someone sits down and writes out a concept. It needs to be like a business plan and should include all aspects of the photo shoot. It should include a basic timeline of the shoot day and what will happen at key times.
2. Research. The internet has millions of photographs from people who may have had a similar idea. Collect several examples of concept so you can share with models, MUA’s, Stylists and the rest of your team.
3. Action plan. Should be on paper – how are you going to execute the concept. List the types of subject, decide who you want on your team, list any extra items you need to procure. Start to consider lighting. Pick a location.
4. Scout. Go out to your location and take photographs. Look for any impediments to your shoot – local regulations or permits. Areas of safety concerns. For studio shoots, consider layout, backgrounds and equipment needs.
5. Recruit. Make your team. Locate makeup artists, hairstylists, wardrobe people (if possible) model & photographers, and an art director & any assistants you’ll need.
6. Hold a meeting. It can be 1 or more teleconferences or in person. Meet with the creative team and discuss the concept. Go over everyone’s role in the process and explain what you need. Share location and concept photos with all members of your team and discuss special needs
7. Reconfirm. A couple days in advance of your shoot, touch bases with ever one involved and confirm every one is still on board and on track. Check for any last minute snafu
8. Work the photo shoot. Everyone should be on board with the overall plan. You should be prepared to again cover photos of the concept and fine tune the concept as you go. Pull out your timeline and make sure people stay as close as possible to the plan as possible.
9. After action wrap up. Sit down and make notes about what went right and what went wrong. Add the items you missed to your todo list for the next photo shoot and learn from your mistakes. A note here. If other people on the team made mistakes, list them for yourself so YOU can learn better and next time be proactive in your planning.

Followup. Let people know they did a great job. This isn’t the time to list mistakes they made. It’s time to thank them for their hard work and ask them to let you know if they’d work with you again.


Captured princess


Models, bring something to the table

Models, bring something to the table.

One of the things I notice the most is the models are waiting for inspiration from the photographers. Most of the models don’t do anything unless there is a casting call for a shoot. It’s the photographer that has to come up with the idea and then find a way to draw you into the project.

Here’s how to put together a photo shoot casting call.

1. Be specific to the idea. Don’t just say you want to update your portfolio. Tell us what theme genre you want to shoot and what wardrobe you want to bring.
2. Use photos to illustrate your idea.
3. Look at photo examples out there of your theme and gather as many examples as you can in a folder on your laptop or thumb drive. The day of the shoot, bring your laptop(or thumb drive) and show the photographer, MUA & stylist what you’re thinking.
4. Practice posing ahead of time. Don’t expect the photographer to tell you how to pose. It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new or have shot 1000 times. If you can’t pose yourself, the photographer will get bored and not want to work with you.
5. Use youtube and vimeo for video tips on how to pose. The videos are free. If you use firefox as a browser, you can find a utility called flashgot which lets you download the videos. I’ve got almost 100 videos that I’ve downloaded from various sites. I watch them before a photo shoot and it always helps to motivate me.

Finally, one last item to help you along. One of the bigest mistakes I see is models spend so much time worrying about their pose, the don’t learn to relax and change expression. If you look at your portfolio and you have the same look in every shot, it;s time to change things up.

Good luck.


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