Organising Your First Photoshoot: What You Need To Know. Part 3.

When I started writing this post I never realised how much information I felt I needed to share, but when I finished and saw that my post looked more like a book than like a blog post I decided to divide it in several parts. In case you landed here directly, this is the part three.

In my previous two posts I talked about the concepts I had to learn before I organised my first shoot. Today I will talk about how to write a catchy casting call when you look for collaborators on websites like StarNow, ModelMayhem, The Freelancer Club and such.

Before you place the casting call itself, you need to know what you are looking for, who do you want to work with, what is the aim of your shoot. A shoot can be something as simple as a test shoot between you as the photographer and a model, or as a complex as an editorial for a magazine with a full crew of photographer, models, sytlist, MUA, hair stylist, assistants, etc. The clearer the info in the ad looks, the better. For the sake of this post, let’s say that you are organising a menswear AW15 fashion editorial shoot for submission to a magazine.

Let’s break down the casting call into the 5 W’s: who, what, when, where and why.

Who: the who can basically be divided in two: who is placing the casting call and who are you looking for.

What: what is it that you want to do? In this case, a fashion editorial shoot. If you have a concept in mind, you can create a moodboard and upload the photos with the ad or have a link to an online board (I use Pinterest)

When: you don’t necessarily need to know the date at first. But, let’s face it, people are busy and they need to make space in their diaries for collaborations, specially if it means saying no to paid jobs on that day. So having a date in mind will help you get more creatives to apply.

Where: you don’t necessarily need to know the exact location either, but at least mention the city and have an idea of what you want to do. Is it studio work? Or on location? Is it indoors or outdoors?

Why: and finally, why are we doing this? What are we getting in exchange for our time and services? Is it only a shoot for portfolio update or is it for submission? Is it paid, unpaid, TFP? In this case, it would be for submission to a magazine (all these concepts are explained in my previous post).

So now that we have all the info on the shoot, let’s start building our casting call:

Title: it has to be short but contain as much info as possible:

“Photographer looking for full crew in London for editorial submission on May 1.”

Some websites do not allow such long titles so you will have to get creative with abbreviations:

“London TOG needs crew for Mag submission May01.”

Summary: usually websites that do not allow long titles have a summary field where you can explain a little bit more what you are looking for. It would be like a longer version of the title but not as detailed as the content of the casting call.

Content: this would be the content of the casting call itself. Be as specific as the lenght of the casting call allows:

Photographer is looking for a full crew for a menswear AW15 fashion editorial shoot in East London studio on May 1st 2015, from 10am to 6pm:

* Two agency represented male models: one black and one asian, 6ft tall minimum. 

* An HMUA: with proven experience in grooming.

* A Fashion stylist: with contacts in PR agencies or brands that carry AW15 menswear fashion.

* An Assistant Photographer: with online portfolio and experience with studio lights.

The images will be submitted to a magazine. You can find the moodboard on the following link:”

And now, you just have to wait for those creatives to apply! On my next post I will give you a few tips on collaborating with fellow creatives and managing expectations as a photographer.

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