How to Avoid a Photoshoot #fail

Last week was the type of week that I stepped back in awe of my job.

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EXHIBIT A: A shot from our recent Prosciutto di Parma shoot. Read on to see how your shots can end up this gorgeously yummified.

For eight hours, I worked with creative geniuses to visually showcase my client’s yummy, luscious, delectable product – Prosciutto di Parma. I didn’t even get to eat it, but I still walked away with a smile on my face, knowing that we rocked it. Why am I so confident in our outcomes? Because no matter the subject of a photo shoot, whether it’s food, lifestyle or consumer products, there are specific parameters we set before walking into the room. These critical elements are what you need to ensure your photos are just as beautiful as you imagined.

  1. Set clear objectives. What are your expectations going into this shoot? This includes the rationale behind it, what the client expects, who your audience is, how you want the product shown and particularly, how the photos will be used when they’re done.
  2. Decide on the creative theme… and stick to it. Before your creative masterminds get to work on a mood board, identify the tone you’re trying to set. Is it whimsical? Fancy? Hipster? Or classy? This will dictate every element of your photos, from props and food styling to lighting and angles. And don’t stray, otherwise your shots will be inconsistent and unidentifiable.  Photoshoot3
  3. Establish hard limits. Think about what you absolutely must have in every shot and what you can’t have in any shot. For Prosciutto di Parma, we maintain a consistency in its appearance and avoid certain surfaces. If you set these boundaries up front, you can focus on the important things on site, rather than harping on something that you know is a no-go for the client.
  4. Be flexible. Yes, you’ve created this lovely creative brief with shots you expect to take and products you anticipate using… but keep an open mind. Someone on set might come up with an ingenious idea for a shot that might seriously enhance the photo. Don’t shoot it down. Give everyone in the room a little creative license.
    Fantastic Photog Tyler Darden and PadillaCRT crazies Kevin Flores, Erin Hurley-Brown and myself.
  5. Collaborate. If you’re leading the shoot, create a sense of team camaraderie. This includes the open mindedness I referenced, and just having plain old fun. Order breakfast and lunch for the crew or take a cupcake break. Bring great music to set and compliment your crew. Your shots are only as good as your photographer, food stylist, lighting crew and prop stylist.

Photoshoots are not an easy task. It takes several people in a room – all with very different opinions – to come together in support of one product. With these key takeaways in mind, you’ll walk out of your next shoot knowing you killed it.

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