How to plan a successful photo shoot
The most successful photo shoots happen because everyone has done their preparation before the shoot.
Make a shot list
If you would like to shoot more than 10 items, it is very helpful to have a shot list. The items can be listed by set or by order of importance. By having a shot list in Google Drive we can collaborate and plan what is needed to make your photos look their very best. We also won’t forget to photograph something.
Find your look – and agree on it with your team
I always advise clients to make a Pinterest board with photos that have their desired look. Every client has an image in their mind of how they want their product to look. It helps when all stakeholders know and agree on the look before the day of the shoot. Maybe your look is dark and cinematic or maybe it has a lot of white or it could have a set of saturated colors. Let’s discover it! It helps if you and your partners and colleagues agree before we start.
Branding is always important. By developing a mood board and planning your shots, your branding will come shining through!
Props, products, and lighting are all equally important when it comes to making a brilliant shot. By developing a look ahead of time we are able to curate the props and products so they are ready for the shoot. Time can be spent tweaking the set and making the perfect light instead of running madly around looking for more props!
I always suggest ModelMayhem.com if you want to hire local models for a great price. I have model releases and guidelines to help find and manage the talent.
The food and products
Styling food and products for the camera is my forte. I am also happy to collaborate with stylists, creative directors, graphic designers, marketing teams, artists, and chefs. The chef should wait to plate the food until we have the initial shot and it’s best to talk about how to plate it for the desired look. By developing a mood board, shot list, and prop list we can ensure a great style for your shots.
If we are shooting products it is essential that they arrive to the studio in pristine condition. We will clean them right before the shoot.
The studio or location should have neutral-colored walls. The location doesn’t have to have natural light but that is always welcome. It does take time to set the lights and capture the look so everyone likes it. Once we have our set the way everyone wants, the entire day always rolls fast and smooth.
Here is a successful shoot where the client was able to communicate that they wanted their product on white with no shadows. Their vision and unique selling point for this fish sauce is that it is the color of maple syrup. Care was taken with lighting to maintain the accurate color of the sauce while rendering beautiful reflections on their bottles. The client did their homework to ensure we had sample photos ahead of the shoot and they took the time to make a great selection of products in containers that were in pristine condition. They were also available the day of the shoot to provide valuable feedback for how to order the products.
Here is another shoot that was not only successful but very smooth because we had a very specific look, prop list, shot list, styling, and great team. When I walked on the set everything was there and in order. All stakeholders had agreed on the colors, the items, and the look ahead of time.
This bread bakery did a stellar job to prepare for a multi-day catalog shoot. They thought about the look that they wanted which was all white. They had everything organized and ready including all of the props. Someone who was familiar with the products was there to help identify everything. And the key stakeholders were on the premises to provide their valuable feedback. The photos were used in a print catalog and on a website.
Style and clean!
Art direction and style are very important. The camera records every detail. It is important to have someone on the set who can style the shot and ensure that every detail is stellar. Pristine products, well-casted models, balanced colors, and good composition make a good shot. The camera and photographer are there to record them! It helps to have many good sets of eyes all working together to nail the first shot and after that the rest is easy!