The Execution: Transforming ideas into reality!

Now that you have the formula down for planning a photo shoot, it is time to make it happen! In this post, you can expect to learn how to accomplish your goals for the shoot. As a freelance photographer with full creative direction, this can be the most exciting and rewarding aspect of the job!

Let’s get down to business

As mentioned in the previous post, “How to Plan Effectively When Creative Directing Photo Shoots,” make sure to have every shoot detail confirmed prior to the scheduled shoot day. On the day of the shoot, it is crucial to prepare according to the scheduled call times. Heather begins by messaging each model, hairstylist, makeup artist, stylist, content manager, and assistant reminding them about the schedule, location, mood boards, and how they must arrive at the shoot. By preparing the support staff ahead of time, the photographer can guarantee a smoother experience for everyone. 


The day of the shoot, make sure to have all camera batteries charged and ready to go. Additionally, bring extra SD cards and a hard drive to back up the photos after the shoot. It is always better to be over-prepared than not to have the necessary items for success. Make sure to bring all props, backdrops, and outfits to the shoot for more unique creative direction. 


Once you have made it to the shoot location, you can begin to set up the various spots for taking photos. This can occur while the models get camera-ready by the makeup artists and stylists. By the time they have their looks completed, the photographer should prepare the lighting, angles, and moods desired. From that point, the model and photographer must work simultaneously to establish a natural connection the brand hopes to convey. Photo shoots can last anywhere from as little as one hour to several hours. Irregardless of the duration, make sure that each model and contributor are comfortable throughout the shoot. 

These are two examples of common shoot locations. The first image depicts an outdoor setting. The second photo is a rented studio space with backdrops.


Every shoot is one of a kind! A photographer could be in the same location at a different time of the day and the shoot would result in a completely different outcome of photos. Knowing this, make sure to have fun using a unique perspective because it makes the shoot the photographer’s own. Not only can one manipulate the actual set of a photo shoot, a photo editor can utilize editing programs to add enhancements. The photographer should keep this information in the back of their head when directing a shoot. Nowadays the possibilities are endless!

 Before and After: Heather found an old television set on the side of the road and decided to incorporate it into a shoot. This element allowed for some fun edits to be available for her client!

Completing the shoot

Once the shoot has taken place, it is crucial to save all of the photos taken on set. After downloading the images, the photographer can sort the pictures in preparation for the editing phase. A photographer must determine their own editing style and direction. Heather uses Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to edit the lighting and add effects to her photographs to make them stand out. This is what truly separates each photographer from one another. Be prepared for editing to take four to six hours and to include multiple re-edits and changes if desired by the brand. This process provides a photographer with an in-depth look at the results of the shoot and to determine if re-shoots need to occur. Be aware that certain aspects might have to be altered to meet the brand’s criteria. 

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