We all have expectations about how shoot day will unfold. Most people have unrealistic expectations of how much time each shot will take, how the weather can effect your outcome and just how much effort needs to be put into pre-production.
Being organised is your main priority for the day. Time sheets with realistic goals need to be printed out and shared. The team needs to know what you really want from this shoot, so giving them as much detail as possible can prove vital in attaining your vision.
Lists are your biggest friends on set! Have a detailed list of shots so you can cross them off as you go. As much as you need to have lists, you also need to be flexible with them. No matter how much you plan ahead and spend weeks going over all the details, surprises come hand in hand with shoot days so give yourself some allocated time to smooth these issues over. The model might have a shy personality and it might take her a few shots to warm up to the photographer. A tip that I always do is to shoot your key images second or third on the day - this gives everyone the chance to settle into a groove and be ready for the really important shots.
Image references are a must-have. Print them out and stick them on the wall for everyone to see and get everyone on the same page. The hair stylist will need to know what kind of curl you’re after or just how high you want that pony-tail.
One time I had a massive campaign and lookbook shoot and we finished 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The client gave me the go-ahead to shoot a few extra images that I had in the back on my mind. These last few shots ended up being the clients favourite images from the whole day. It’s always amazing to get that little bit of free reign with commercial work because as a creative, I spend my life on set and always love coming up with something that will impress my clients.
It is essential that your crew is focused and energised. Make sure your models, creative team and crew are all fed and hydrated. Keep in mind all the smaller details too like allocating buffer time between shots, having printed model release forms and even having layouts for you intend on using the photos.
Shooting Day Check List
Photographer - Generally brings 1-2 assistants and a digital operator
Wardrobe Stylist - Generally brings an assistant on set
Space for prep (Hair and Makeup)