Organising Your First Photoshoot: What You Need To Know. Part 4.

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 last part of four.

On the last three posts I have taken you through the process of writing a casting call whenever you are looking for creatives to collaborate with on your projects. On this last part of my posts on everything you need to know when organising your first photoshoot, I will give you some tips on managing expectations as a photographer when working with other creatives.

After placing your casting call and getting swamped by applications from fellow creatives you have finally gathered your team for your first photoshoot. You as the organiser of the shoot automatically become the team leader, and as a team leader you have the responsibility to fulfill the expectations of the members of your team. They all trusted you and believed in you when you asked them to collaborate with you on this shoot but now they want to see results to make their times worth. And as a photographer, these results come in the form of quality images. To make sure that you are able to deliver the quality of work your team members are expecting, you first need to be able to transmit a clear vision of the outcome of the photoshoot. And when you are working with people who more often than not have different backgrounds, levels of experience and see life from different perspectives than you, communication is key.

Here are a few tips that I use whenever I am organising a shoot:

1. Put everything in writing and always ask for a read-receipt. Spoken words get carried away by the wind and are always subject to misinterpretation. Put all the communications with the rest of the team in writing and always ask them to reply when they read them. That way you have a proof that every person on the team read the email and you avoid uncomfortable situations by someone claiming they didn’t get the memo. 

2. Your first email to the rest of the team should include as much information as possible about the shoot. This way, if someone does not agree with the terms of the collaboration and decides to leave the team, you have enough time to cast someone to replace them. On this email you should include:

  • Everyone’s role and contact info.
  • The 5 W’s we learned on the previous post.
  • Include your Moodboard and ask for other creatives’ moodboards (MUA, Hair, Stylist, etc). Once you have them, share them with the rest of the team.
  • Number of images to be delivered.
  • When will this images be delivered.
  • If you are sharing expenses in between all the collaborators, a clear figure needs to be informed from the very beginning.
  • If the images are meant for submission, let everyone know that magazines do not want to see anything related to the shoot posted online before the release of the issue. This usually includes behind the scenes photos during the shoot.

3. Keep the emails coming. You don’t have to treat your team members like children and be on top of them all the time, but you must follow up and keep the communication flowing through every step of the photoshoot (pre-production, post-production). This way people have a feel that there is work being done. For instance, when the location has been selected, I send an email including a map to the location and useful info on how to get there. Or, once the talent has been selected, I also share photos of them with the team so everyone knows how their faces, hair, bodies look like.

4. Remember that even if your shoot is a collaboration, it doesn’t mean that it is free work. Everyone’s time is valuable. Be as professional as you would be in front of a client.

Well, there is so much that I can say about organising your first photoshoot but I don’t want to bore you to death. If you have any questions or suggestions or if you just want to show your love, leave us a comment below. Until next week!

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