Commercial photography can take your business to the next level. However, putting together a commercial photo shoot requires some specific preparation if it is to go smoothly and be successful.
Your first step in preparation is to "cast" the people or objects you are going to photograph. Remember that many customers expect the setting to be extraordinary and specially tailored to them. Everything has to be perfect. From the hair, to the way the table is set, to the sheen of the food in the photo.
You need to book models that have a certain amount of charisma, so that they make the photos more interesting and help you create special moments.
Before setting up all of the players and props, take the time to create mood boards for your commercial photo shoot. A mood board makes it easier to visualize your ideas. For example, if the theme of your photo shoot is “Family picnicking in the garden”, then you can collect pictures on the mood board of patio furniture, red checkered tablecloths, delicious-looking food, and how families gather around the table.
Gather your team
Even before you set the day for your photo shoot, you should put together your dream team for production support. This includes assistants, makeup artists, hair stylists, clothing stylists, etc. It is best to use people you have worked with in the past. They already know how they work and vice versa.
Secure your space
You should choose the best location to take your commercial photos. If you plan to rent an indoor studio, you are not limited in time by the daylight hours. On the other hand, if you want to take photos outdoors, you need to carefully consider what times of the day and when you will get the best light for the mood you want. A softer light is found in the early morning and late afternoon hours, i.e. shortly after dawn or just before dusk.
Plan for emergencies
You never know what could go wrong, and when you hire experts to help you film it, you absolutely want to avoid wasting precious time. Worse still, delays in the photo shoot can affect the delivery date for the client. This looks unprofessional. Plan enough time buffer in case of unforeseen events such as stormy weather or problems with the booked venue, or such mundane things as malfunction of the cloakroom or with the equipment. A plan B that saves the schedule, in turn, looks professional.
Part of the preparation should be a detailed schedule for all activities in the shoot. A call sheet makes it clear for everyone involved when their presence and participation is necessary or when they can leave the shoot for a longer break.
Rent and check equipment
If you are still missing equipment, you should consider renting it. You may also be able to borrow equipment from a design company or a local or other photographer friend. This is mutually beneficial if you eventually return the favor and lend them your equipment.
You may also need tables, tents, chairs, or other props. When renting these props, the timing of the individual rental companies is important. Occasionally check that everything is planned properly. A few days before the appointment, a request to confirm the appointment with all rental companies can ensure that everything arrives on time.
What is your contingency plan if a rental company goes down?
Test your lighting and make the necessary adjustments. Lighting can be one of the trickiest aspects of a photo shoot. So test as much as you need beforehand or even get help from a lighting expert.
Make sure you get to the location early. You should check your schedule of the process and the call sheet again and, if necessary, contact the participants again to make sure that everyone is prepared. As the person responsible for the entire photo shoot, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly. It is your job to make sure that everything is the way the customer wants it to be.
Once the photo shoot is over, pull your photography and design team together to go through the photos you have taken and make any edits necessary. Pick the best photos that you want to show the client and put aside the ones that don't represent your vision as well. There is a lot you can do with photo editing software to fix minor lighting issues or other small imperfections, and to add the finishing touches to your images.
Running a commercial photo shoot is challenging and exciting at the same time. You need to be very organized and pay attention to details to get a professional end product.