Behind the scenes of planning a photo shoot

I’m a behind the scenes kind of girl.  I love to know how things work, and there’s something about the buzz and adrenaline of something BIG about to happen on stage before a live audience.

When I was 20, I auditioned for Theatre Studies at the College I now work at, and didn’t get in. I’m pretty sure I was folding my t-shirt in my sweaty hands as I read my monologue in that darkened studio. I then moved to a different room and panel of judges to sing “Hopelessly Devoted” with attempted Olivia Newton John grace, but alas, it wasn’t for me (thankful now!). I’ve since learned that I actually enjoy the conceptualizing and visioning of such tales, more than being in them; although I have enjoyed the odd spotlight when it shone on the theatrical stage.  Even after watching the making of The Lord of the Rings trilogy I had a deeper understanding and love for the enormity of such a filmmaking task.  

This past weekend I had six photo shoots. Yes, six. It was family shoot weekend, and ended with a shoot for a yoga instructor.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to plan BEFORE you get to the location? Well, follow me as I share for you the “behind the scenes” of pre-shoot photography…

  • When a client calls or emails, I ask a few questions.  I ask how they heard about me, ask them about their interests, what they’re looking for in a shoot, and how many people it will be for. What are their “photo wishes”
  • We nail down a date and time
  • I collect a deposit to hold the spot
  • Thus begins the location scouting!  I generally ask if people prefer an urban or natural setting, as that helps me narrow down spots and get a feel for the personality of the shoot. This usually requires 1-2 hours of me driving around or on the constant look-out for just the right spot! I look for angles, colors, shots that will add depth and won’t appear flat, possible shadow factors… you get the idea!
  • Depending on how detailed we’ve decided to make the shoot (some clients prefer clean and simple, some require more props), I will send ideas of wardrobe, colors, props to be brought, etc. We often talk on the phone, in person, or email again before the shoot (sometimes several times!)
  • The night before I go over poses in my head, scenarios, the “what ifs”. Do the kids need candy? sort of thing. My heart races in nervousness because I really truly want to deliver!
  • Once the day of the shoot arrives, I am there 15-30 minutes prior to make sure I’m in “shoot mode”.
  • We capture you, your family, the occasion!! Shake hands, and sometimes even hug (I’m a hugger 😉 )
  • I send a couple sneak peeks via email before you get your discs/package.
  • Voila! That is the lead-up to a photo shoot. Then comes the editing……

I should add in there a point called “stretching and hydrating”, but for brevity sake, have left it out 😉

Last night I had a fall photo shoot with a yoga instructor in town. I walked around the park we were using to get ideas for posing locations and what we would do in each spot. Only because the colors are so fantastic, I thought you just had to see this…