In reference to the fashion photography series I’d mentioned before, the bullet list I used to write this entry was provided by Mark Bonanno. Mark is the lead fashion photographer for QuadPhoto based in Miami, Florida. Thanks Mark!
OK, you found a photographer you like. You have a person to do hair and makeup, and maybe even a wardrobe stylist. Now you take all your garments to the studio and shoot as many shots as you can by the end of the day, right?
While this may seem like the easiest method, it is not the best way to execute a photo shoot. As a professional fashion photographer, I am often told by designers that they want to shoot photos for a particular line but when we get into the details, they say they have it all “in their heads”. In this fast paced and competitive industry, preparation is everything! I have put together a short checklist that will help you get the most out of your day at the studio.
- Create a storyboard
- Set the stage
- Mind your models
- Assign clothing to models
- Include accessories
- Use professional models
- Basic necessities
Create a storyboard
Plan out your shoot and put your ideas on paper with a storyboard. You should prepare some rough sketches, drawings or better yet, a final layout that you can discuss with your photographer (sample one) and two). At the very least make a “shot list” of the items and maybe details you want the photographer to shoot.
Set the stage
Go over the concepts and the backgrounds with the photographer well before the shoot. Nothing is worse than not having the right backgrounds when you start working. Discuss how backdrops should be arranged to attain the desired result. A good photographer will advise you on how to frame the shoot appropriately.
Set a schedule and try to stick to it. You don’t need a model showing up at 8:00 AM if their shot is not scheduled until 1:00 PM. A well planned-out schedule will save you time, money and aggravation. Make sure you have each model’s cell number and they have yours.
Mind your models
Make sure your models are on time and well rested. This may mean asking colleagues or confidants to recommend models that are reliable and ready to work. Models serve as a canvas to help you promote your brand and need all their energy to come through during the photo shoot.
Assign clothing to models
Know what clothes fit on which models beforehand. While many of you have pre-fitted your models, a last minute check the day before will prevent any surprises (models are known to get pregnant and not say anything for fear of losing the job). This way you will be able to get more shots done during the actual photo shoot if the fitting happens in advance.
Know what accessories you want to use. This can make all the difference in the world. If you’re a clothing designer, you may want to find a jewelry designer with similar ambitions and split the cost of the shoot – and the results.
Use professional models
Try to use professional models. This is always a point of contention especially with low budget shoots. I can only speak from my own experiences but in the 24 years that I have been a fashion photographer, I consistently get more usable images with professional models over non-professionals or friends. Professional models can also provide great suggestions.
Whether out of doors or under hot lights indoors, having beverages and snacks on hand can keep people cool or warm -and focused. It will be distracting if you have to send someone out later on. Photo shoots often run longer than anticipated. Select a location with bathroom facilities near by.
Finally, keep your expectations grounded and realistic. You can’t do a hundred different shots in a day and have things look good. Give the hair and makeup person, the wardrobe stylist, the models and photographer time and space to work their magic for you.