When you’re planning a photoshoot there are a number of things to keep in mind. These little tips helped me out when dealing with several different artists at once, and coming out with a great set of photos.
1. If The Shoot Is Longer Than Three Hours HAVE FOOD!
Nothing is worse than dealing with hangry people, let alone hangry, emotional artists. Always remember to break for food (or even HAVE food out for everyone when they get there). If the set is shorter than three hours and you still have food out, you will be loved even more.
2. Remember That It’s Not Just For Your Portfolio
You need to remember that you’re not the only one who needs photos out of this photoshoot. When you hire a model, a stylist, a make up artist, or a hair stylist they’re looking for things to add to their portfolio as well. Do close-up beauty shots for make-up artist and hair stylists. Full-body shots are great for designers and wardrobe stylists. Make sure that everyone gets a perfect shot of their work so they can show them off (and tag you) to their friends and clients.
3. Execute The Objective; Get Weird
There’s always going to be a time when you meet the right model and you two start getting crazy with the shoot. That’s always a good thing! However, you need to remember the objective, and get creative after the objective is complete (refer to #2). If you can incorporate getting weird with the shoot AND completing the goal, do it! Putting real creativity into an editorial or any type of photoshoot is always a good thing.
4. Ask About Your Model’s Limits; Respect Them
It’s pretty self-explanatory. Ask your model about their nudity policies, and don’t go passed your model’s stated limitations.
5. Be Aware Of Your Model’s Comfort Level
If you’re shooting outdoors in hot weather, bring cold water and sports drinks. If you’re shooting in a cold studio, warm it up. Little things like temperature can make for a better photoshoot. Have your model take breaks periodically, and ask about their condition throughout the shoot.
6. Time Frame
Most people have a 9-5 schedule and only do things like this as a hobby, so be alert on the time schedule. If your make-up artist has to leave first, have your models show up early so you don’t have to wait on them while your MUA is running out of time. If one of your models can only be there for a certain amount of time, starting in the middle of the shoot, shoot the others first and then do all of that model’s shots while in their time frame. Things like this will happen from time to time, and you’ll have to move things around accordingly. It helps to have a friend call out the time for you so you can stay on track.
7. Confirm Twice; Shoot Once
It’s best to confirm a couple of times before a photoshoot. A week prior to the shoot, send the main email/text with the plan, mood board links, directions to the location etc. The day before the shoot, send another message for final confirmation. Bonus tip: Have a couple extra make-up artists and hair stylists in the know and free for the shoot just in case someone drops out a day or two before.
8. Mind The Garments!
Make sure that the clothes are maintained before, during, and after the photoshoot (especially if you’re working with a designer). If you’re working with a designer, if you can, have them at the photoshoot with you (and their clothes). In most cases, you’ll be borrowing the clothes and giving them back to their owner. You need to give the clothes, accessories (anything you borrowed), in the same condition that they were given to you. This is their business, and they are trusting you with their most precious assets; take care of them!
9. Make A Mood Board For Your Team
It’s almost mandatory to make a mood board to keep everyone on the same creative page. Pinterest is the #1 website/app in which to do so. You can share this board to your team to make sure that everyone knows what you want. I suggest making one big board for your whole team and a smaller separate boards for each individual (if you two are changing things up/creating a different look).
10. Are These To Be Published?
If these photos are to be published or submitted for publication, it is imperative that you let your entire team know. To be published, you will need to submit exclusive content (which means no posting to social media or your online portfolio). Your team needs to know whether or not to expect these photos to come out as soon as possible or if they have to wait.
11. Behind The Scenes Videos/Photos
Whether you have to wait for your pictures to be published or not, you can always tease the photoshoot by making behind the scenes media. Posting video clips and behind the scenes photos on your social media can boost interest in your photoshoot. I recommend having an assistant take some photos and video of you while shooting.
12. Fixing Your Model’s Garment
ALWAYS ask your model if you can fix their garment. Don’t be creepy and lunge at them with your arms stretched out, grabbing at their clothes. If you two gain a level of trust, tell them what you’re about to fix before you fix it.
13. Pay Attention To Your Entire Frame
Make sure that everything that is in frame of the camera is on point. No extra things, no trash, nothing. Dress up the background as you would dress up a model. If you want it to be naturally grimy, and it looks perfect, leave it. If you have people in either side of the frame holding up curtains or something, don’t have their feet in the frame. If you have to, cover the feet up with something (the curtain or anything appropriate).
14. No Drama On Set
This is common on editorial and fashion photography sets. Whatever you guys are doing, if anyone has any qualms with another, remind them to leave it at the door. Nothing kills a set faster than drama. You can also just plainly refuse to work with anyone who loves to have drama going on.
15. Remember To Have Fun!
Don’t be so uptight! You don’t want your shoot to look stiff. Loosen up and have fun on set. It’s always a mood enhancer when you’re having fun and doing what you love as well. You don’t have to be super serious to be considered professional. As long as you have open communication, and well-established boundaries, being a goofball is allowed.
I hope these little tips help you on your next photoshoot/production set! If you have any questions regarding this or other articles, please feel free to contact me!