7 Steps to a Smoother Photo Shoot
PATIENT: "Why do our photo shoots seem chaotic and stressful, and what can we do to improve them?"
CATALOG DOCTOR: "Photo shoots are complex events with a lot of steps (and thus potential for missteps) and people (so with potential strife and confusion). Here are seven key actions you can take to avoid the major drivers of photo shoot stress and chaos."
1. Hire more styling assistants than you think you'll need. More assistants means avoiding having an experienced (and expensive) photographer standing around waiting for a (affordable) styling assistant to finish steaming a garment or slicing prop fruit.
2. Be clear on rights before you book the shoot. Catalogers ask for rights that often surprise studios used to shooting for noncatalogers. Be very clear up front with the studio about the rights you need, or you may end up not owning your own photos and paying royalties for reuse or use in other media. Use photographers willing to shoot as "work for hire" (there are plenty) where you own all rights, forever, in all channels. Do be prepared to sometimes pay somewhat more for all rights. And don't expect to get all rights from shots using models — that's up to the models and their agencies, not the photo studio.
3. Confirm, in detail, a count of all the shots, including shot variations. An accurate shot list ensures you book enough studio and crew time. It also avoids last-minute surprises like finding "one" coat shot actually meant "plus pocket and collar details" and "flip the coat over and shoot the back, too." Some staff who request shots may not have been at shoots and so they haven't seen all the relighting and restyling needed for "variation" shots. They're not easy five-minute add-ons. Even "old hands" may have adopted a shorthand way of specifying shots, so assume you know that "one coat shot" actually means five shots.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.