Checklist: How to Prepare for an Upcoming Photoshoot

With any project, communication between the client and person performing the service is key to ensuring a successful outcome. As you prepare for your upcoming photoshoot, a little preparation will go a long way. To be sure that your ideas and expectations for the session are clear to the photographer, here are some guidelines that can help you prepare for your next shoot.  

Photoshoot Prep Checklist:

• Purpose - What is the purpose and the goal of the photoshoot? New imagery for your website, print, social media or all of the above? Knowing what your photography needs are before the shoot allows the photographer to prepare accordingly. Whether it is certain camera equipment, lighting or propping, having the end goals identified and documented allows the photographer to prep accordingly and be ready the day of the shoot. Having clearly defined goals will also help as you work through additional planning.


• Shot list - Once you've identified the purpose of the shoot, the next step is to write down a more specific list of exactly what photographs are needed. A shot list will help you clarify your ideas and is a detailed list of the photos you would like taken during the session, highlighting any particular angles or features you would like included. The shot list will also allow the photographer to more accurately estimate the time required and cost of the job. The photos could be for your website, print materials, social, etc., so it is important to have a list of what you need and for where. Writing down a detailed list of all the photographs you want to capture, whether it be portraits of your entire team, your office environment or architectural details will not only help the photographer prepare, but it'll help keep you on track the day of the shoot and help ensure you didn't miss anything.

• Usage - Now that you have a list of photographs that you want to get the next step is to figure out usage for each image.Wherever you envision them going, this information allows the photographer to know what type of framing/cropping is necessary for the different marketing uses. For example, a shot that you are hoping to use for your website homepage hero image needs to be shot at a wide angle to fit the dimensions of most devices/screens. Knowing this ahead of time will save a lot of time and aggravation as well, as something that is shot very narrowly in a portrait format might not easily transition to other areas of your website.

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• Location - Outdoor photoshoots can be take place in urban areas, natural settings or some combination of the two. When shooting outdoors it is common to schedule a rain/snow/heat/wind delay date in case the weather just isn't cooperating. Indoor settings can take place in either in private or public spaces. In private spaces it is strongly advised to get permission from the owner to photograph on their property. In public spaces the photographer should carry model release forms just in case bystanders become part of the photograph. The other option is a studio setting where the models are shot on clean backgrounds usually indoors, lessening the external factors that might alter the shoot.

• Clothing - For corporate portraits a clean, pressed shirt in a solid color tends to work well. Busy patterns can take the focus away from the subject, so more neutral choices are your best bet. For more casual portraits, choose clean clothes that represent your character and style. Bringing a layering piece such as a suit jacket, sweater or vest can help add variety to the images as well as help you stand out from the background. It's always a good idea to steam or iron your clothes before the shoot as well to remove any wrinkles.

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• Hair and makeup - A fresh haircut not only feels good, it looks sharp in photos too. If desired, apply makeup under natural light before the shoot and you might want to bring any personal grooming items along with you to the shoot in case you need to comb your hair or freshen up your makeup.

• Propping - Depending on the type of photoshoot you are looking to coordinate, propping can really enhance a photograph. Determine whether you want a certain prop to help tell your business' story better. If you are doing an interior home or office shoot, consider adding fresh flowers or a bowl of fruit to help bring a pop of color into the space.

Preparation is key to ensuring a photoshoot runs smoothly and on schedule. You don't want to be running around on the day of a shoot getting last minute items or figuring out the details. A detailed shot list is one of the best ways to prepare for your next photoshoot so its clear to you, your team and the photographer exactly what you want to accomplish. I hope these tips help were helpful and feel free to comment below if you have any other tips you'd like to share.