Hope for the best; prepare for the worst! How to Plan Effectively when Creative Directing Photo Shoots

Are you interested in taking the next step to becoming a successful freelance photographer? In this post you can expect to learn about the reality of the creative directing process as a professional photographer and how to develop photo shoots with a mission! Heather Harpole has experience as a photographer based in Los Angeles, CA and can provide a plethora of personal input to help you ignite your freelancing career! As a freelance photographer, Heather organizes and coordinates photo shoots for companies, clients, and personal projects each week. Keep reading for more details on the behind the scenes of her photo shoots!

Taking a leap of faith

Photography Creative directors come from all backgrounds. This means an artist could be a freelance photographer with a few years under their camera strap or have a professional degree in the arts. No matter the amount of experience, planning remains a priority when directing any production on a small or large scale. As a freelance photographer, the most crucial steps to success begin in the organizing stages. Many aspiring photographers neglect to develop the logistics of shoots. One must rely on communication to determine each stride from the beginning stages to the end product. 

Working as your own boss

Photographers have to work simultaneously on many projects. The photographer must communicate with brands, stylists, makeup artists, hair-stylists, models, social media managers, layout designers, and more. The creative directing process begins with a client reaching out to a freelance photographer regarding a project. 

Creating the concepts

After the brand or client outlines the final product they desire, the photographer should develop an array of mood boards and examples from their portfolio to share with the client. Mood boards consist of photos found from sources such as PinterestVogue archives, or Google images. These provide the brand with an in-depth look at the photographer’s potential and what they can expect from the shoot. As a freelance photographer, this step is crucial because brands often compare the concepts of multiple photographers at once. Make sure to make your mood boards stand out to secure the job!

Supporting roles

Once the brand conceptualizes their expectations, the photographer can reach out to the supporting roles that often work behind the scenes to produce the artistic aspects of photo shoots. These positions include stylists, makeup artists, hair-stylists, models, social media managers, and layout designers. The photographer must create a group chat or email chain to inform each contributor. A flexible schedule is a necessity as it can be difficult to plan around all of the support staffs’ agendas for the same day. 

  • Stylists help models establish the fashion looks for the artistic direction
  • Makeup artists develop beauty looks that correspond with the styling
  • Hair-stylists prepare models to be presentable for the shoot
  • Models help convey the tones the brand wants to showcase
  • Social media managers coordinate positing the photos from the shoot
  • Layout designers are part of the graphic design team that utilizes the photos for magazines, campaigns, and social posts 

Preparing for the shoot

Before the scheduled shoot day, all call times, shoot location, hair, makeup, wardrobe, and tones must be confirmed. Each detail should be addressed on a timely basis. Photographers must hold the models accountable regarding how to prepare for the shoot and make them aware of what the brand wants to convey. Stay tuned for the next post as Heather explains how to fully transform shoot ideas into reality!

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