How to Plan a Photoshoot

Today we are going to walk you through how to execute a killer and successful photoshoot.

       1. Mark your calendar.

This is a relatively new technique we are trying. Essentially, as soon as we know we are going to have an event that is needing to be promoted we will mark a date on our calendar that is dedicated to this future yet-to-be-brainstormed video/photoshoot. When we do this, we avoid scheduling last minute. This takes a lot of stress out of trying to fit a shoot into a schedule that has no problem filling itself up.

      2. Mark your map.

Step two of your shoot is to mark your map. This step comes after brainstorming and mood boarding. You already know what look you want to go for and now you just need to decide where the best place is to capture that look, as well as in what time of day you want to capture. Obviously, outdoor lighting doesn’t matter if you have diffusers, lights, or you’re taking pictures in a studio.

Go To Location.

There is one more important step before you can “share” your “dropped pin.” You need to actually go on location, if possible, because sometimes online photos don’t usually capture everything about your desired place. You also need to make sure that your location isn’t trespassing, is open at the time you want to shoot, and how you are going to get to and from the location. On the day of your shoot you don’t want to waste time scrambling to figure out how to commute to your location, get there and find out you can’t get in, or that it no longer exists.

What kind of locations am I looking for?

Look for locations every time you go driving places. Try to remember what that location felt like and how you might use it. I look around rivers, in creeks, under bridges, between alleys, in fields, and atop hills. I look off the highway and will even explore on Google Earth. Make note of strangely-colored, fancy, or worn-down homes and abandoned buildings. Don’t forget to look for places made of different textures and building materials: glass, brick, wood, concrete, etc. Parking garages and parking lots can be a hotspot as well. Anywhere and everywhere could be a possible location that you may one day need. I think this is why people carry around those tiny field notes books. At least that’s what I’d use one for if I knew I’d be disciplined enough to write it down, but most of the time I’m driving and just have to make a mental note.

I say all of this to say: mark your locations. If you are going to multiple locations, then do a mock drive of all the places you want to hit, so you know how much time you need to allot yourself on the day of the shoot.

       3. Book your students

This is the hardest step. You just have to go into this step knowing this: students have school, sports, clubs, parents, and sometimes no car. It’s just hard getting on the same page.

On a service night, survey the crowd.

Don’t have students numbers? Ask your connect group leaders to ask their students. Students are a lot more obliging when they are with their friends and asked by their leader. The other option, if you don’t have their numbers, is to ask them on a service night and get their contact info.

There’s a trick though, and it’s that you don’t always want to go for the easy and available student. You want students from all schools and all walks of life. Try not to fall into the trap of always picking the same available students.

Text the students about the shoot, with the time, meeting location, and if they will need to ride with you or if they can drive. (You can only carry so many students in your vehicle, be prepared to have someone able to drive to your final location, or to have students be able to follow you to the final location if you are not already meeting at the location.)

Remind them a week before, a day before, and the day of.

     Text them:

  • What to wear  (with a picture if possible)
  • Where to meet
  • When to meet
  • How long you’ll be meeting for. (Overshoot your estimated time, because there’s nothing worse than students getting antsy because it’s taking longer than they planned for.Remind Them

      4. The Day Before and Day of Shoot

      The Day Before:

  • Empty SD cards
  • Charge batteries
  • Have all your equipment accounted for.
  • Text the whole crew
  • Text the students
  • Check the weather (sometimes your friend…sometimes you enemy)

      Day of Shoot:

  • Text crew
  • Text students
  • Load equipment
  • Give locations to all drivers
  • Speak with parents to make them feel comfortable with their child in your hands, and reassure them of the return time.

That’s pretty much it. Try to plan at least two weeks in advance so you can give your students time to schedule and it gives you time to gather all your materials for the shoot.

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