Article from The Photo Collective: How do you get the best out of your photography or video shoot?

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Have you ever got to the point, where you have been in touch with a photographer, production company or videographer and you realise the expense of a photo or video shoot and you may be wondering how to get the most out of the day?

Do you need specific or original imagery for your products, to use in social media or on your website? Does your business need authentic, real images of your sector, and you just can’t find the right images? Have you contacted some photographers but not sure how to brief them or how much it will cost?

What is a Shoot Producer?

A part of a researchers role is to commission bespoke photography or video for any use and so become Shoot Producers or Art Directors. The key to a successful shoot is all in the planning and organisation that happens in advance of the day, to ensure you get all the images or video footage you need with the right look, feel and content of the photographs or video. This is all down to the prep work to ensure the smooth running of the shoot.

The Shoot Producer will establish the client’s budget, what imagery or video is required and therefore size of the shoot to fit the cost. The Shoot Producer may need to commission Photographers, Camera operators, Models, Prop makers, Stylists, Make-Up Artists, Caterers, Assistants, locations and transportation for all involved, depending on the size or location of the shoot, most of who It is likely a shoot producer will have these contacts or know the right people to ask or recommend.

Benefits of Using a Shoot Producer on your Shoot.

Before the shoot…

Commissioning photography and video is expensive for any project, so you need to ensure you maximise that time on the shoot. How do you get everything you need out of the shoot? Where do you start? It can seem overwhelming.

Bringing in a Shoot Producer can help with every step of the shoot, from briefing, costing, planning, logistics and delivery of assets, including overseeing the shoot day itself.

The key to a good shoot is planning each aspect to every detail. If planning is done ahead, working through what is needed and how to best achieve the shots, the day will be a success. There is a saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail…….” This is definitely true when it comes to organising a shoot.

The Shoot Producer would go through all the details with the client, establishing what is needed and contact anyone required from casting models to arranging colour appropriate props and outfits or even animals required in shot. I needed a chicken and a hamster once! This will also include finding suitable locations, briefing an appropriate photographer or videographer, or approaching a production company.

There are hundreds of tiny jobs that the Shoot Producer can take care of, that you may not have thought about, from administration for child licenses, preparing the location, to providing lunch and refreshments for the whole crew on the day. All these little things make the shoot day much more productive, less stressful and keep to the budget.

Remember the Photographers and Production Companies would probably much prefer dealing with someone who knows what they are doing, are insured with public liability and to be one step ahead! 

On the shoot day…

There will have been lots of work done before the shoot, but now the day has arrived, and it is about to happen. All the best plans can sometimes need a plan B or have things happen that affect the schedule. A shoot is no different. On the day, the Shoot Producer will come up against problems that they will have to find solutions for e.g. Models ill on the day, clothing that doesn’t quite fit or inclement weather at the time you planned to do the outside shots.

The Shoot Producer is there to mitigate any problems and to find solutions. They will have created a shoot schedule, even planned breaks for crew and models so they want to avoid anything upsetting the schedule of the day and therefore productivity. If the shoot day overruns this means another day is needed and would cause huge expense and mean clients’ deadlines may be missed. So armed with a toolkit from masking tape to face powder and safety pins to hairspray, your Shoot Producer will be prepared!

Case Study- Promotional Video Shoot for Company

I was commissioned to help a company with a Promotional Marketing Video, due to Covid they weren’t able to travel internationally so it was important for them to have a video to showcase their premises and stock on their website for their customers. We started planning the shoot about 4months in advance of the shoot to enable us to plan the creative approach, main focus and key unique selling points of the business, as it is key to have a short clip to keep viewers’ attention.

See below what the client and the cameraman said about the experience.

Client testimonial on the benefit of having a shoot producer…

“As a company, we decided to employ the services of a photographer/videographer to produce some images and video for promotion use. We did not have the experience or understanding of the briefing process and could easily have spent an expensive and inefficient day with a cameraman, just working out the logistics. Fortunately, we decided to use a Shoot Producer, who helped us well in advance with a structured, detailed briefing document, to use as a basis for discussing each shot in detail, the logistics of the shoot and how that would contribute towards the finished piece. It was a very useful way of clarifying the promotional message. When it came to the day, we had a clear plan of action, and were prepared with props, people, and lighting options, so we were able to get the best out of the day. I would urge anyone organising a photo shoot or video shoot to consider employing the services of a Shoot Producer, who will help focus your ideas into a coherent finished product”

Cameraman Testimonial on the benefits of having a shoot producer organise the video shoot…

Having run a video and animation production company for over 20 years, I’ve often worked with creative directors or shoot producers. This has worked really well for us as they can concentrate on teasing out the detail from the client and weave that into an artistic direction, briefing the camera/creative crew on exactly what needs to be captured and how, ensuring a great result first time.

I’ve worked with a shoot producer on multiple occasions, and they ensure that they understand the client’s business in enough detail to communicate their key messages in a meaningful way that captures and engages an audience throughout every piece.

Article written by Jane Smith/ The Photo Collective

Image credit © The Photo Collective