• TeamGeeVirdi

What| When| Where| Who| Why -- Photoshoot

Never go into a photo shoot without knowing exactly what you need to get out of it!

#ConceptStory — What | Who Inspired you for this shoot

It’s always best to be clear and be upfront about your goals for your shoot! Too many relationships have been destroyed by photographers who wish to sell their images as stock, or are shooting for commercial briefs, without informing their team members. 

The first thing I do when planning a shoot is look for inspiration — art  work, books and social media are amazing resources to keep up to date with the latest fashion trends, some of my favourites being classics artists  — Salvador Dali, Michael Borremans, Marlene Dumas, Amrita Sher-Gill, platforms like Pintrest and Instagram etc. Looking at the works of other artists can be really helpful when developing a shoot,  making you aware of what is popular in the industry at the moment. Eye-catching photos that highlight your business, your products, and your brand are one of the most essential elements that you can use to tell the world about what you offer. 


Remember:The photos you create during a one-day photo shoot will be the marketing materials you will use over multiple months, so it’s important to get it right. Now is also be a good time to decide the purpose of your shoot, as this will guide you through much of your logistics as well as inform your team as to what they are working towards. 

#MoodBoard — Create a brief for your fashion shoot

The first step is to create a well-thought out idea of how you want your photos to look.  It’s important to take into consideration what you will be using them for, A great place to start is a mood board. Mood boards are a very useful resource to bring all of your ideas into one place and to pitch your idea to other creatives. Questions to start building a mood board  — Are you creating a printed lookbook?   Do you need photos for Instagram or the front page of your website?  While a lot photos can be used across many of these platforms, sometimes you will need a certain look to get your point across the right way. The concept of the photoshoot will determine the rest of the planning process, a good place  to start is Pintrest. A good mood board describes the following aspects of your shoot:

  • Subject Matter

  • Location

  • Story

  • Lighting

  • Aesthetic | Accessories | Props

  • Styling

  • Hair & Make-up

  • any references for theme or time period, if applicable

#DreamTeam — Discover & Retain Talent

Finding a team can be difficult when you are just starting out in your career, however there are a number of ways online that you can discover talented people in your area that would be willing to collaborate with you. There will always be makeup artists, stylists, hair stylists etc. that don’t have a lot of experience, but are wanting to learn. Reaching out to these creatives can be a great way to expand your portfolio.Together you can move through the moodboard discussing each look.  Creating an atmosphere that matches the desired mood of your photographs can help achieve the best possible results. One great way to do this is to play music during the photoshoot, which can help put your models and crew in the right state of mind and relax them.

How do I build my team here are a few tips :

Does their style of work look like what you want to create?  This may seem obvious, but every artist has their own style.  Some are adaptable and some are not as much.  Does the portfolio of the makeup artist you are considering have a lot of black eyeliner, but your vision for the shoot is a soft, natural look?  Do you want to shoot outdoors but the photographer’s experience is mostly in studio?  What is the editing style of the photographer’s work?  Does it look like an Instagram filter or does it look like a fashion magazine?

#Location Where | When

The best way to find a location is to explore areas close to where you live & work, but if you are having trouble discovering new areas, try Google Maps for new areas. It is really simple to search for locations by using the “Street View” setting, You can choose anywhere from urban streetscapes to natural landscape to studio set-ups and other indoor locations. Think about what type of location suits the look you are going for and start scouting for suitable spots.

#Money Matters most

It is always best to offer your team something rather than nothing. If you don’t have much money to offer, try offering buy everyone lunch or dinner, Ensure everyone is comfortable,  Offer to cover travel expenses.  Guarantee that their photos will be published in a magazine by getting confirmation from a publisher or editor.  This has weight to artists who are building their portfolio.   Make sure everything is planned and runs smoothly. If you’re on a really tight budget, discuss rates and budget with your team.   Most importantly, make sure that everyone is happy and knows what you are offering and what is expected of them before the shoot day.

#Kit  — Equipment you’ll need

Make sure that you have covered your bases and you are prepared in the unlikely event of catastrophic technical failure! It sounds scarier than it should, but accidents do happen. I often take a second camera with me just in case, and often when shooting with two cameras (i.e. two focal lengths and I don’t want to swap between layouts).  Make sure that all batteries are charged and you have brought spares, your memory cards have been formatted, and that your equipment is easily portable if you are shooting on location. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you are familiar with the equipment you’re using in studio if you’re renting out space or kit. 

Prepare a #Callsheet

After you have finalised your crew, location, and storyboard, it is time to create a call sheet. A call sheet sets out all of the information that your crew needs to know on shoot day. The call sheet should include the following:

  • Shoot date and time

  • Shoot concept

  • Location ( including any instructions on access or parking if it is not straightforward)

  • Responsibilities of each person

  • Contact details of everyone involved

  • Detailed schedule for the day

  • Any special instructions or notes

Team Roles

  • Creative Director

  • Photographer

  • Models

  • Set Stylist

  • Wardrobe Stylists

  • Hair &  Makeup Artist

Have a #Successful shoot day

The time has come. You’re at your chosen venue, and everyone is arriving. Now is the time to remember that you are here to create something new and exciting, to make new friends or strengthen old friendships, and to have a good time. Keep it cool, and try not to sweat the small stuff. People often look to the photographer to keep spirits up and moods cheery, so take some time to talk to your team while preparing. Share a bit about what brought you to put this project together, and even talk about life outside of photography if you want to. Getting people in a receptive, collaborative mood always results in a better experience. Share ideas and let people contribute their perspectives.

Once your photoshoot is underway, you need to make sure your subjects feel comfortable in front of the camera and with you behind the camera.

How you conduct yourself is going to affect the shoot. Talking alone with the subject before things start is the best way to establish a fruitful rapport. Communicate with them throughout the shoot. Follow-up with them to make sure they are comfortable, and take plenty of breaks so that everyone feels refreshed and energised. Try different poses, outfits, expressions, and compositions throughout the shoot. Even if you’ve already gotten your “Plan A” shot, try something different. Sometimes the best photographs come from spontaneous, unguarded moments.

I always bring printed copies of my brief and mood board to the shoot to make it easy to discuss and refer to my visual references as the day progresses. Make sure you stay hydrated, and don’t forget: you are there to capture a story and connect with people. While it is important that you get the shots you need, especially if you’re looking to use the photos editorially and have some requirements to fulfil, creating a good experience should be top of mind and will only lead to better photos. After the shoot has taken place and the session is over, it’s important to let people know of a timeline that they can expect to see for getting their photos back. In many cases, people want their photos immediately after the shoot, which makes sense. However, you need to inform them that there is a diligent process that requires you finding the best photos, editing them and making sure that they are worthy of being on display. If you keep your subjects informed during this process, they will feel more comfortable knowing when they’ll get to see their pictures.

Have a #BackupPlan

So you’ve planned, planned, and planned some more, your crew is fully briefed, your equipment is prepared, and you’re ready to go—but what happens if you get that dreaded text that your model has suddenly come down with the flu and won’t be able to make it? Or if it starts raining and those golden hour shots you were banking on are now impossible?

Remember: life happens, and sometimes even the best laid plans go awry.

Backup your #Work

If you have followed all the steps to prepare for your shoot you shouldn’t run into too many problems on the day itself. A shoe may not fit right or it may have been a bit cloudier than you anticipated, but more often than not creative people find a way to make things work.

Once you’re back at your computer, make sure to plug in those cards right away and make double backups of everything. Keep those rolls of film sealed and stored away in a dry, cool space. You can’t be too cautious when it comes to keeping your photos safe and sound.

#Review Photos from the shoot

After you’ve had a bit of time to rest and recover, it’s time to go through your photos. Be super selective in your curation—there is no point choosing six photos in succession of exactly the same thing. Only take the best of the best from what you shot to go into editing. I always try to get what I want to see right on the day in camera, but if you are a pro at post-production then feel free to go crazy and get creative with your editing. The idea is to choose the shots that tell the story you set out to capture when you started to conceptualise your brief.

Once edited, you can put your final selection of photos in an order that makes sense to you and supports the story you are trying to tell. Get a friend or two to check out the photos and share their opinion on your selection of shots and how you’ve presented the work. 

If you allow plenty of time to plan the fashion photoshoot, it would be a great idea to contact other brands and ask them to lend you props and accessories. This will save you costs and perhaps even help you promote your brand as the other brands may want to shout out the collaboration.