We had a photo shoot not too long ago that made it clear to me some folks have no idea how to run a successful photo shoot. So I thought I would make a few points (some probably no-brainers) that should help all participants:
1. Show up. Flakes are not appreciated or booked for future gigs.
2. Show up dressed, made up, and ready to shoot.
3. Attitude is everything. Make sure you bring the right one (i.e. positive and helpful)
4. Roll with it. Photographers get inspiration at random moments and great things can come from it when you participate.
5. Read the model release BEFORE you sign it. It’s a binding contract; know what you agreed to, what you can and can not do. If you don’t understand, ask questions. Stick to the rules – you don’t want to be sued for copyright infringement.
1. Get the model release signed and dated. It covers you like a good wing man.
2. Be flexible. On our last shoot, the location was unexpectedly taken and we had to come up with something else on the fly. Plan B’s are a good idea unless you think fast on your feet.
3. Use your shutter release finger, not your mouth. More photos, less chatter. The people using our location took about 4 shots in 30 minutes because they wouldn’t shut up. This is not effective in any way.
4. Keep the model busy and engaged. You don’t want them wandering off, making phone calls to gab with girlfriends, or losing interest in the shoot.
5. Be fast. Dragging out a shoot is not necessary or appreciated. If you can get everything you need in an hour – great. The model will love you and want to work again because it’s not an all-day affair.
6. Produce your vision. This is the hardest step for most: getting what’s in your head in the finished shot.
7. Don’t promise what you can’t produce. Enough said.
8. Equipment malfunctions happen. Be prepared, work with what you have, and make the best of it. Don’t complain or get negative – it’s bad for the shoot.
9. Deliver the finished shots in a timely manner.
10. Remember: reputation is everything. Be professional at all times. Don’t touch, ask personal questions, direct the model in reference to their significant other, or ask them to get naked. It makes you creepy and the stereotypical sleazy photographers. The good ones don’t appreciate it.