I am going to use a very simple, yet practical language since I am still recovering from our long photoshoot this past Tuesday. It was certainly one of the most successful sessions I've ever had, and here are some reasons why and tips on how to make it work. I am not talking about big budget editorial photoshoots with a team of MUAs, Stylists, Models, and Photographers. I am talking about a photoshoot for brands like mine - small, with a limited budget.
1. PHOTOGRAPHER. MOOD BOARD ETC
It's always great to work with a photographer who 100% understands your brand's aesthetics, goals etc. I was very fortunate to work with Jason Paluck, photographer & videographer, who does many other amazing things with passion, creativity, and vision.
Should you doubt that your photographer is on the same page, here are some tips:
1. Communication before the photoshoot is the key to success.
You and your photographer must discuss:
- Mood Board
- Theme (in my case - goth, punk & rock, grunge)
- Editorial or not- some publications require a set of 3, 5 12 etc images. Make sure you know what you are doing.
- Editing Style (Filters, color theme etc)
- What pictures and when will you receive them
- Compensation/ Collaboration agreement
2. Communication during your photo shoot:
- stay on point with the mood board but allow for changes
- make sure your product is in focus
- make sure what you planned is achieved
My lessons learned: I get carried away and don't always pay attention to what everyone does, so one other time I ended up with no close-up pictures at all, even though the overall photo shoot was amazingly successful, and we got tons of incredibly beautiful shots to represent the brand.
3. Communication after
text, email, or call to express your appreciation. You can go over the things that were successful and also the things that went wrong. This is important if you want to work with the same photographer in the future.
2. MODELS. SCHEDULES, ATTENDANCE ISSUES
Models can say yes they will come, but they won't show. It's hard to work with models unless you really work with them prior to the shoot, create a bond, and a sense of their importance. When working with new models, send them your portfolio of previous work.
Discuss compensation, schedule, hair, and makeup. Send them your mood board. Make them as important as everyone else.
- THE DAY-OF CHECKLIST for Models -
- Bare face or base make up unless directed otherwise
- Clean, dry hair (very short hair should leave it wet), unless directed otherwise
- Comfy outfit (to sit in while you’re being styled)
- Nails (ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR RINGS!)
- Touched up brows
(this info was partially cited from Emilylondonportraits)
Make sure your models understand your brand's aesthetics, goals etc. You and your photographer should work with models on their facial expressions, poses etc.
3. MUA, HAIR, STYLIST. DO YOU NEED ALL?
I could not afford to get both MUA and Hairstylist, so my photographer suggested that I focus on MUA since jewelry is the focus. I would not recommend getting an all-in-one person to do-it-all. You'll see that during your photo shoot, each and every person will be doing their own task in coordination with others. Get a MUA, a hairstylist and a style assistant separately (my own experience). Or none at all lol...
Also, a vast majority of models can do their own makeup. Many are also great stylists. So, if you are not going for a specific look or editorial shots, trust your models. They are great artists too!
4. STUDIO SET UP. LIGHTING, BACKDROP ETC
Again, this needs to be discussed with your photographer, e.g. what background will be used, what lighting etc.. You also need to make sure that your models are aware of the lighting in the studio. We have encountered an issue where one of the models was sensitive to light. Luckily we had plenty of glasses to use in the photoshoot that matched my jewelry style.
5. SCHEDULE COORDINATION DAYS BEFORE. REMINDERS. WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE CANCELLED?
In this photoshoot, we simply told our models to come at different times. I collected cell phone numbers from everyone and sent reminders in the morning of the photoshoot. If someone cancels, well...there's nothing really you can do. Just don't panic lol
6. AT THE STUDIO. SCHEDULE, MUA, WARDROBE/STYLIST STATIONS
It's great if MUA, Stylist and Photoshoot take place in the same room. If not, make sure to coordinate their work. You'll just have to be very flexible and move from station to station to check on their work status.
It's important to give your team a break. Especially when you shoot all day. We sat down to have a slice of pizza in between the sessions. It certainly was harder to get back to work after lunch, but we managed it...
8. WRAPPING UP, FOLLOW UP, CONTACT EXCHANGE, SOCIAL MEDIA. Pictures
Photographers don't like when their pictures are being edited on top of their editing. So, my recommendation is to communicate that message to everyone who receives images from the photoshoot: DO NOT APPLY ANY ADDITIONAL FILTERS to THE ORIGINAL IMAGES.
It is important that all images posted on social media and/or online in general are given proper credits. Please discuss that with your photographer and make sure everyone is aware.
In general, pictures selected for editorial, must not be published ANYWHERE. Don't send those images until they are published.