Photo Shoot Checklist

The key to a great photo shoot is advance preparation. Whether you’re having an impromptu session or staging a multi-person shoot with models and makeup artists, it’s best to consider a few important elements. By paying close attention to the following considerations even a selfie can transform into something profound and professional.

Camera.

Obviously a camera is the number one necessity, but the right camera for the job is even more important. Will these photos wind up on billboards, TV, Instagram, or hopefully all three? Knowing ahead of time will ensure your camera sensor and pixel size are adequate for these applications. Something 10MP and above should handle most applications.

Lighting.

Often overlooked but this is one of the most important aspects of capturing a great photo. When taking selfies, try turning into different angles of light until you find something most desirable. For a staged photoshoot, consider the environment and provide ample lighting to accommodate for shadows or inadequate indoor lighting. Filters, gels and diffusers can help smooth out artificial lighting and add a professional appearance to your photos. Anything from an extra household lamp, flashlights to professional lighting rigs can be used. You can even use a second smartphone flashlight to help illuminate subjects when snapping photos at night.

Water and Concessions.

When hosting a photo shoot, if the subjects are tired and parched, it will be extra difficult to keep them looking their best. Keep around:

Wardrobe.

A balance of colors between the subject’s clothes, the background and available light all play off together to create the perfect photo. Consider where you will be shooting, be it your bedroom or on a sailboat, the colors and dress either in sheer compliment or contrast to your surroundings.

Photographer.

Hiring a professional photographer for your photo shoot. Some photographers are willing to shoot images pro-bono to help build their portfolio. Ask around and peruse the portfolios of different photographers until you find someone suitable for the shoot.

Models.

Consider hiring a professional model for the shoot. Even adding just one professional model to a multi-person shoot can take your DIY photo shoot to a more professional space. Additionally, models will have considerable contacts for photo shoot essentials, so feel free to inquire and seek advice from your model.

Makeup.

Go clean or go for cosmetics. There are a considerable number of books available on the subject. Even your local make-up shop will have some helpful tips. A professional makeup artist will often do hair and wardrobe as well.

Venue.

Sometimes hosting your photo shoot in a cool or unusual place is the best way to make the end result stand-out. Give careful thought to the best environment for your shoot and your photos will continually be “next level”.

  • If you’re modeling lingerie, perhaps shooting in an upscale hotel room or on a luxury yacht will enhance the photo. If you’re selling food products, using a professional kitchen as a setting could prove useful.

Photo Shoot Checklist Tips

Having a tripod handy will help keep images stable and clear. Even the smallest movements from taking a handheld photo can affect the overall clarity of a picture. Tripods and camera stabilizers often yield the clearest and sharpest images. If you are planning to shoot outside or you’re having people travel to and from your photo shoot location, it’s possible weather may be a determining factor in the outcome. Bad weather can keep people from reaching your shoot. Some photographers may refuse to shoot outdoors on rainy or overly cloudy days. Plan an alternative rain date in advance and confirm it with the whole crew. Having a laptop or personal computing devices at the shoot will help you examine images on the spot and also afford any hired photographers the opportunity to download some photos for you.