When planning a photoshoot, there’s a lot that has to be considered. There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than your first few photoshoots. Depending on the size of the shoot, production,team and the deliverables – preparation is a priority.
Every professional photographer has worked through their nerves and eventually found what works for them; a system that ensures organization and execution.
This article is going to cover everything that I still do as someone who offers professional photography services, even though it is part of my muscle memory now. It is sure to help you pull off your first few shoots like an absolute seasoned professional.
First things first, be clear on the deliverables – how many photos or videos are required from this particular shoot. Once that has been cleared out, begin to pencil in detail what each of those final content pieces will look like.
‘Pre-visualisation’ is a solid process that helps you be better prepared for your shoot. It requires you to envisage the equipment you will need – camera, lenses, lighting, stands, and more. This exercise acts as a checklist and ensures you don’t miss out on anything.
What might help is creating a mood board next. You might have seen these on Pinterest.If you’re wondering why – it is because it will enable you and the client to be on the same page with regards to the aesthetic concepts – a visual reference of the assignment.
Depending on the nature of your process, the client being on board with the above before the shoot is extremely beneficial. This will make the shoot day more productive than approval-dependent.
Without the intention to scare you, you can never be too careful with inventory check the night prior to a shoot.
You’d rather be over-prepared than being on set to realise a malfunction in gear or missing essentials.
To avoid what is in your control, make sure of the below –
- Charged batteries
- Empty all your memory cards
- Clean your lenses
- Take test shots will equipment
- Trigger external flashes
- Test external cards for corruption
There’s a system mapped out for this to become easier. Let me walk you through it.
We use something called ‘call sheets’ to ensure all collaborators – models, hair and makeup stylists, and others know when they are required at all times. If you have a producer, they’re more likely to handle this for you.
If it is an outdoor shoot, using natural light, you also have to consider the light at the time of the shooting. Plan all movements around for ideal hours of sunlight.
I recommend having a contingency plan for everything. Check the forecast but be ready for any weather. For example, if your MUA bails have makeup essentials in your bag.
What I usually also do a day prior is getting everyone on a call or email to guarantee we’r all clear on duties, timings and other specifics.
Create the atmosphere:
This one is for the shoots that involve models. Being mindful of how they’re feeling is a plus point. A slight shift in their mood or focus can throw the entire shoot off.
This is more an art than a science. Some of the best practices you can apply for this are –
- Background music
- Refreshments on stand by
- Showing them the shot you liked
- Reassuring them every 2-3 shots
- Honest, positive communication
- Pose suggestions
- Having images of the poses you want ready
A seasoned model will be attuned to the photographer, understanding the ‘hmm’ after a shot meaning not good enough or even change in the shutter.
Let’s go back to step one, pre-visualisation. Once you have checked off all the mandatory shots on your checklist, it is time to get crazy and creative.
I’ve seen this so often, the shots we don’t intend on taking, turn out the best.
Relocate, restyle, re-light once your safe shots are taken care of. These last few are always guided by your creative spirit as a photographer and it can either be a harmless throw-away or career-defining moment. (best creative photography technique)
So get down and dirty without a worry!
Did we miss anything? Share it below, we’d love to know!