#101 – A Guide on How to Organise a Fashion Photography Shoot

So you have aspirations to organise a photo shoot, but have no idea where to start?  Our Designer Direction Catholic boy turned stylist, Roc Travers, provides a simple step-by-step guide for how to plan the day, choose the right people and bring your photo shoot dreams to fruition.

What’s the plan, Stan?
I cannot stress enough the importance of planning your shoot – it is a cardinal rule. You do not want to waste anyone’s time so it is so totally important that you plan in advance.  Planning has its advantages and, if done well, the shoot will be organised, efficient, and you will get a better end result!

The artistic direction for the shoot
Start with a blank piece of paper or open a new Word document to get all your ideas down. Write down anything and everything that you want included in your shoot.  If you are planning your first photoshoot I would advise you to keep it simple. This doesn’t mean making it dull, but try not to get too complicated by having models suspended from great heights over the city.

Shikoba Collection Shoot

Consider the following in your planning:

  1. What is the theme for your shoot?
    Is it going to be simple or themed? Perhaps wartime, abstract, modern, fairytale, film noir, etc?
  2. How do you want the images to be interpreted by the viewer?
    Do you want the viewer to feel excited, happy, sad, etc?  Think about how you might portray the emotion that you want to capture by using colours, styling, location, poses, makeup, hair styles, or lighting.
  3. Where would you like the shoot to be?
    A park, office, supermarket aisle, beach, parking lot?
  4. Will the clothes you have tie into your theme and the surroundings?
    Never lose sight of your theme! If you are going for a moody, avant garde, carnival-styled shoot, it would be unwise to organise this using designer streetwear, or to hold the shoot during the day.
  5. What kind of makeup, hair styles and poses would suit my overall theme?
    Check out the internet or magazines, and look for any relevant hair and makeup styles and model poses.  Ripping pages out of magazines with the looks you like is a good idea. These are called ‘tear sheets’ and are great visual aids for assist your team in understanding what you want.

Find the right talent
There are a few different skill sets required in a photo shoot but not all are necessary. For example, you can do the wardrobe styling yourself and help with the models’ hair etc. But, if you are able to, pull together a: photographer, model, makeup artist, hair stylist, and a wardrobe stylist.

50s Vintage Shoot April 09 Haran PhotographyObviously, a photographer is going to be important.  Choose one with a style that you think would suit the look and theme that you want for your shoot. Some photographers love to take dark, dramatic photos that concentrate more on shadow than light whilst others love the bright, stunning and clear look with little fuss.

When you list a casting call for a photographer, request that they send a portfolio and CV when they apply. This will enable you to get a feel for their photography style, strengths and gauge the quality and calibre of their work.

If you are on a shoestring budget don’t worry. Money isn’t always a issue and a lot of photographers are willing to work unpaid if it is beneficial to their portfolio. Just so there is no confusion, always make sure that you state in your casting call if the shoot is paid or if you are offering ‘portfolio building work.

Finding an appropriate model can be one of the easiest or hardest parts of getting together a crew for you shoot. Firstly, choose a model who will fit Model Hine from Starnow.co.nzthe clothes! [Note to models: Don’t lie about your dress size! We find out eventually and it is frustrating.]

You will find a range of diverse and stunning individuals on various sites like http://www.modelmayhem.com or http://www.starnow.co.nz. Again, money need not exchange hands as many models will be happy to offer their services to build their own portfolio.

Makeup artists
Makeup artists are invaluable and if you find a good one stick with them and never let them go! The makeup artist is literally the ‘miracle worker’ in your team and can transform everday models into superstars. Some are pricey but most are negotiable and are quite reasonable if you work with them on a shoot and then arrange to work with them again.

The shoot
Roc Travers Vintage Shoot June 09On location both the photographer, hair stylist and makeup artist will need time to set up and the model will need to have their hair and/or makeup done. This could take anywhere from half an hour to a full hour. Try not to get in the way or interrupt the photographer when they are doing their job – they hate that, trust me. Be prepared and make sure that you have all the clothes and ‘looks’ ready for the model before and between shots. You don’t want to waste time deciding what to put the model in next so be proactive and get it sorted.

Once the shoot is over, the photographer will let you know when the images will be ready for you to get your hands on them! Usually this turnaround time shouldn’t be any longer than one week and most get the photographs back to you within a matter of days.

Roc Travers AEON Vintage Shoot June 09

Now that the shoot is done and dusted, don’t forget to thank everyone involved for their hard work.

Photo Credits – Haran Photography, Jason Tapuai-Kuka, Colleen Douglas

7 Responses to “#101 – A Guide on How to Organise a Fashion Photography Shoot”
  1. Katy Rushton says:

    Fantastic post!
    I am a model myself and have had some pretty bad experiences with people not being organized when it comes to the shoot. It’s very frustrating for everyone involved.
    Thank you for a great post, I will certainly be recommending this for some people to read!

  2. FAPORT says:

    You have a nice post!! I really like it very much..

  3. Yvian says:

    Really nice post, helped me a lot in organising my first photo shoot! Thanks, will be recommending it to others 🙂

  4. Claire says:

    Thanks for the great post – Im a wedding planner and at the start of organising my first ever wedding photo shoot! scary but should be fun!

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