Nail It Down

26 Apr

When you’re planning a shoot there are certain things everyone should be aware of before the shoot is really confirmed. There are few things more frustrating than someone showing up to a shoot unprepared or having someone expect you to  have brought or done something that you didn’t know they were expecting. One of the best ways to avoid this is to make sure you have nailed down the details of the shoot in advance.

As the model or photographer it is part of your responsibility to be sure you are both (or all) on the same page about what is being shot and who is responsible for what. I cover this a little in my articles about communication, but I’d like to give a little more detailed checklist.

1. The Basics
Make sure you know the date, time and location of the shoot. Not only should you have this information, but make sure you understand the location. Are you shooting in a hotel? Outdoor location? Home studio? This actually becomes really relevant particularly when you consider wardrobe and make-up changes. If you won’t have access to a rest room or another place to change, the model may be expected to change in the car, etc.

2. Style & Concepts
Everyone should be on the same page as far as what styles and/or concepts will be shot. Everything else really hinges on this, so it’s important to nail it down early on. You might not get to everything, but in order to be prepared, everyone needs to know what the plan is. I know I prepare totally differently for a fine art shoot versus a glamour shoot. I pack different basics, I do my nails differently, etc. I know many photographers use different equipment based on the style they will be shooting as well.

3. Hair & Make-Up
First, it needs to be clear as to whether you are having artists and stylists coming in to do this or whether the model will be responsible for their own hair and make-up. If the model is doing their own, they need to know what styles are going to be expected. Not all girls are make-up and hair experts. I know I’m not. Examples of what is expected are really good here as it can be hard to explain in words.

4. Wardrobe & Props
Similar to hair and make-up you should clarify what each person is responsible for bringing. Will you have a stylist? If you will have a stylist, you need to make sure that person has the relevant measurements for the model. I don’t have a lot of personal experience with stylists, but I do recommend you ask them what information they will need and make sure they have it well in advance of the shoot. If the model is supplying the wardrobe, then it should be clear exactly what is needed. Props should be handled similarly.

5. Other Concerns
There is a variety of other concerns that come up dependent upon the type of shoot. Here are a few examples:
– limits for posing, especially with nudes, fetish, erotic, lingerie, etc
– hiking to outdoor locations (models will probably need to bring walking shoes, etc)
– allergies, important if you are shooting body paint especially, also possibly if shooting outdoors

And I know a lot of you probably don’t like to do this much planning or maybe you really just like to shoot whatever comes to you, and that’s okay as long as everyone is on the same page. But for most shoots, you probably do want to have things planned out, particularly if you have a specific goal in mind.

2 Responses to “Nail It Down”

  1. Alexr June 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Very thorough and informative list.

  2. John June 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Very informative and useful list

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