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If you’ve spent the time scouting a location, arranged and paid for models, camera equipment and travel, then you want your photoshoot to be as productive and efficient as it can be.
Ideally you want to be able to get everything done in a single day so you won’t need to return to the location and double your costs. You’ll want to get as many usable photos as you can from the shoot and ensure that the event runs smoothly for all concerned.
So How Do You Make Your Photoshoot As Productive and Efficient as Possible?
The following are some of the ways you can be productive:
Always Plan Ahead for the Photoshoot.
One of the mottos of the Army is that ‘Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance’ and even though this is a military slogan, it also applies to the world of photography!
Planning ahead is one of the most important things that you need to do to ensure that your photoshoot is highly productive and runs smoothly. The worst strategy that you can employ is to turn up at the photoshoot with no clear idea of what you want to get done and how you are going to go about achieving it. So before you arrive for the photoshoot you should have a pretty clear idea of what you’re going to be doing, where you are doing it and how it will be done.
Use a Mood Board to Gather Your Thoughts in Advance.
A good way to get started in the planning for your photoshoot is to create a mood board. This is a collage of photos of models from magazines and other sources which you find inspiring and expresses the mood you want to capture in the shoot. You can use your mood board as a conceptual map for what you are trying to achieve in the shoot.
What’s Your Budget?
As you plan the photoshoot one of the most important factors you need to take account of is your own budget. How much can you afford to spend on the shoot? Once you have established the budget you can start to plan how much you can pay for the models, decide whether or not you’re going to hire extra camera and lighting equipment, if you can use props and the location you’re going to use. Only after you know your budget can the rest of the photoshoot start to be properly arranged and planned for.
Where is the Photoshoot Going to be?
In the course of the planning process you need to plan where you are going to be shooting the photos. Are you going to be working outside, on the streets, in your own studio or at a venue that you have hired for the purpose?
What Poses Do You Want the Models To Use?
Before the shoot you also want to plan out the kinds of poses that you want the models to be using. The poses should fit the vibe and feel of the shoot and be appropriate to the overall style. For example, urban fashion shoots tend to employ much more realistic poses than a high fashion photoshoot which are usually more theatrical. You can also use your mood board to help your models understand the types of poses they should be incorporating during the shoot.
What Outfits Will The Models Be Wearing.
It is absolutely essential that you have planned the outfits that the models will be wearing well in advance. If there are going to be more than one model in the shoot then their outfits should also be coordinated to bring out the best in both the models innate characteristics as well the over feel of the photoshoot.
You can talk with the models in advance to see if they have any thoughts or advice but at the end of the day the final decision will be yours.
How Many Top Quality Photos Do You Want From The Photoshoot?
Of course you want as many great photos as possible from the photoshoot but when you’re planning your budget for the shoot you want to keep your expectations realistic. A good target to budget into your shoot is to estimate that for every 10 minutes of the photoshoot you should be getting at least one top quality portfolio worthy photo.
Having a clear idea of what you can do each hour, in terms of ending up with good photos, will also help you to set a viable budget for the models, camera equipment and any props you are paying for.
Before you start the photoshoot you should know what you’re trying to create. You want to have a clear idea of how many photos you want to end up with, including how many editable photos that you can touch up to improve in post production.
As mentioned, you should be aiming for at least 5 or 6 photos per hour from the photoshoot, so if you need 20 photos then you should schedule at least 4 hours for the shoot.
What Type of Photos Do You Want?
Before you get started you should be asking yourself how many photos you want to frame in landscape and how many in portrait mode. If you’re creating the photos for your own portfolio then this is up to you but if you’re shooting on behalf of a client then you should ask them. Their requirements will depend on what they will be using the photos for so make sure you properly liaise with your clients in the planning stages of the project.
Other Considerations to Ensure that the Photoshoot is Productive.
Get the Lighting Right.
If you’re going to be using artificial lighting then you will want to plan how to lay it out, whether to use colored filters and the type of atmosphere you are trying to create. You may need to hire extra lighting equipment for the photoshoot but as long as you’ve got this sorted before the shoot you should have no problems.
On the other hand, if you’re going to be relying on natural lighting then you’ll need to decide whether you want to be shooting in a harsher light at midday or whether you’re going to take advantage of the Golden Hour lighting in the morning and the evening.
Remember though, if you want to shoot in the evening it will be getting dark within an hour or two so this time constraint might mean that you want to get the shoot started earlier in order to get some preliminary shots and give the models time to get comfortable and relaxed before the clock starts ticking during the Golden Hour.
You could also choose to shoot at night. Urban and street photography is often shot at night so you’ll want to find a location that has adequate lighting – for instance near some street lights or by bringing your own lighting equipment.
When you’re shooting outdoors you want to keep an eye on the weather forecasts and possibly include in the contract with the models that if it rains, for example, and the shoot is impossible that you can rearrange it for another day.
Scout the Location Before the Shoot.
You always want to scout out the location before the photoshoot so you can get a feel for the environment, start sketching out and visualizing what angles you’ll be using and to find out if there might be any issues with getting there on the day. If you’re going to be driving to the location then find out if there is nearby parking and if it will be feasible to carry the equipment to the site.
While you’re scouting the location check that there is nothing in the background which will ruin the shoot and try to do a little research to make sure nothing unexpected happens! For instance, if you were doing a beach photoshoot for a wedding then the last thing you want to happen is to arrive on the day and find out that there’s a sporting event taking place around you while you’re trying to shoot the pictures.
It’s often a good idea to have a Plan B in mind if you’re shooting in an environment where you can’t control what happens, such as in a public park or at the beach. Always having a nearby secondary site where you could relocate to should you need to will help to ensure that the photoshoot is still productive even if something unexpected pops up.
Make Your Photoshoot Productive and Effective.
Photoshoots can be high pressure events and the more that you have prepared the more easily you will be able to handle anything that comes up during the shoot. There are many things you can do in advance to ensure that your photoshoot is as productive as possible – the most important being good preparation.
Try to plan as much as you can ahead of time, taking into account every detail you can! Even though it might seem like it takes a lot of time it will be well worth it, particularly if you are paying models and hiring extra equipment for the shoot.
Typically how long does your photoshoot last?