Do you need to do a photo shoot? Are you Ready?
I have done dozens and dozens of photo shoots. And after some amazing shoots and some duds, I have come up with key ways to get what I want.
I have some tried and true ways that I have come up with during those times that really laid the foundation to getting what I wanted during a shoot.
Here are my top tips!
For years I was an actress and needed to constantly update my headshot. Then, when I started my yerba company, SoulMate Yerba, and social media was so key, I had to do photo shoots even MORE often. But whatever your reasons are, I hope I can save you some money and energy and get the pictures that you are wanting to have.
It goes without saying that you need an amazing photographer. It also goes without saying that you should look at more than the pricing. That's because not every expensive photographer will take expensive looking pictures.
#1 Photographer is Key
Depending on what needs you have for those pictures, whether they be documenting an event like a wedding, or cranking out pictures needed for a website, you need professionally shot photos done from a good camera.
Can you do them off an iphone? For sure! But if you want things that have the right size, pixels and quality, you will need a real camera.
When the hunt starts for a photographer, I usually ask those that I trust and know. If it is an event, I will ask those that have gone through the event. If it is a for product, or social media, I will look at my peer groups and get recommendations. Either way, I try to get referrals for a photographer.
It goes without saying, that I will want to review that photographers work and then I will want to see if our personalities "jive." In other words, will this photographer be open to me. Will she hear my ideas, be able to do the job I specifically want and does she want to have the same kind of partnership I do.
For this shoot I used Kaitlin Obscara. I love working with her and we have done a few shoots together. What I like about her is that the photos are more candid and not so posed. I also love her framing and the ideas she throws in. She also really knows how to photograph my face. For example, my profile works better in photos than straight on.
Some people will want a photographer to come in and just take over the project and insert ideas and opinions without much of your input. That strategy is fine, but it has never worked for me. I am looking for a more collaborative effort and therefore will go with a photographer who not only has work I love, but who is also willing to take direction and be open to my ideas.
Go to their sites, their Instagram, their Pinterest... Read anything you can on them.
I will usually meet with the photographer first if it is a big event. If just a smaller shoot, then I will at least have a phone call and kind of feel them out. This is key! In the heat of the moment, when you are overwhelmed and distracted with the myriad of things that happen during a shoot, it is frustrating to figure out you don't like the photographer and want the shoot to end sooner rather than later!
What style of shooting to you like? I always like "photo journalism" type photography. That means it is more "in action" and not posed. But, you might like posing, or more portrait style photos. Just make a decision and make sure the photographer you choose is not only behind that choice, but more importantly, is capable of doing it!
What are you Shooting?
Be clear about what you want shot and what you want the the outcome to be. This is easier said then done!
#2 Do Your Research
When I started my yerba company, SoulMate Yerba, social media was so key, I had to do photo shoots even MORE often.
Part of my job now is to have an inventory of photos. I need pictures of me and of my product. I need ones of others holding my products. I need a lot.... constantly.
Look at publications and see what others are doing. If you are doing a product shoot, how is a similar product being shot? What is the background? Lighting? Props?
Do your products look better alone or in a group? Are you going to be in the shot? If so, how are others shot with the product? I literally buy a stack of magazines and rip pictures out.
#3 Invest in a hair and make up person.
If you are able, invest in a hair and make up person. If you can, pay for a "rehearsal" before the shoot. This bit of extra time and effort will go far in making a better shoot. And, once you find your magical person, you won't have to do that again.
Giving yourself a rehearsal ensures that you have extra quiet time with that person to be clear and voice your opinion and concerns. Once it's the day of your event or shoot, other things might take priority and you might not be able to be as focused and concentrated on your goals.
Nic doing my hair while I sip on my yerba in my fav mate cup!
This also gets one thing off your plate. If you do not have to worry about your hair and make up and know that will be taken care of, you can focus on other things.
In this shoot, I used Nic Vernon Miller. He can be found on Instagram @hairguy60 and works out of Studio 921
#4 Get specific!
Really get as clear as you can on what you want done.
Sit for a bit and journal. Create a shot list. Write down adjectives and get super specific of exactly what you want. How many shots do you want to come out of this with? How many locations? What exactly do you need out of the shoot?
If you are in the shoot, find out if you can change your clothes. This is a good idea because the pictures will not be repetitive and look like they are from different shoots. Here again, check with the photographer to make sure they are ok with a change!
#5 Copy the Professionals
Before a shoot, I will grab a stack of magazines and cut pictures out. Then, I categorize them and make a kind of vision board for each thing I want.
This might be a bit overkill, but even when not prepping for a shoot, if I stumble upon a picture in a magazine that catches my eye, I will tear it out and file it. I always have a bunch of these going so when I am getting ready for a shoot, I can go through those pictures and maybe draw from that.
I cut out pictures of different poses I like and make a page for that. Colors have another page. Then, how products are shot.... I bring this to the shoot and make sure we are all on board.
This will also keep your "look" current and updated.
#6 Be ready to throw some of it away.
This might contradict what I have been saying, but be FLEXIBLE. Try to have an open mind.
Sometimes photographers have had experience in what you are wanting to do or accomplish and have a great idea you might want to consider.
There are times when a setting you were hoping to use isn't available. It is cold when you were supposed to do an outside shoot. Whatever! Just be prepared to be flexible and not totally discouraged.
Make sure you get what you need, but stay open. After all, you are the one paying and this will be your responsibility.
There are times when mistakes are the best thing that could happen!
Make sure the setting you are choosing is ready and available.
This shoot was done at Center Stage in MD
This was a great spot because there were so many locations in one place. The lighting and colors were also spectacular.
Does it have what you need? Is there flexibility? How is the light? Make sure the photographer knows and agrees with you that this is a good place to shoot.
Sometimes a photographer will nix a space and have an alternative place that is different but better. They might see a problem you don't.
If you can, try to visit the setting before hand. If this is a complex shoot, and the photographer has not been there before, ask if they could come and check it out also. This is not only a time saver, but it also might ensure you get what you want.
If you are doing an event, the photographer should know if you have a special part or "moment" you want them to capture. The photographer will also be able to check the lighting and let you know if one spot is better than another.
All of this will help the planning which will ensure that you get what you want.
Hopefully these ideas will help you with specifics and crafting your next shoot. Whether you do just one or all of these, it is my hope that that you get exactly what you want.
#8 Bring snacks!
I always bring a ton of food for me and for others. If I am actually in the shoot, I make sure it is something that is bite sized so I don't ruin make up. Make sense?
And, I always bring my yerba. Usually, I bring my whole set with enough hot water for the day. So, it could be that I fill two thermoses with water. This keeps my sugar levels up and my energy even keeled. I do not want to run out of steam just because I am hungry.
If I bring something like baked goods, I get enough for everyone. (I am a lover of Harmony Bakery in Baltimore) It just makes everyone happy and maybe a bit more "generous" when you get towards the end of the day.
#9 Confirm Details
when you will get the shots in your hot hands and where there are extra charges.
I have been surprised by up-charges at the end and have also waited on shots forever. Make sure these details are given before hand!
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