Top 5 tips for the best experience with photographers
Photoshoots are a great way to not only gain quality shots but also to expand your network. Whether you’re looking for a product shot, behind-the-scenes shot, or a solo-dolo shot, calling in a great photographer is key to success. Over the last 7 or so years, I’ve shot with a handful of photographers (mostly from Detroit, Michigan), and I’ve picked up on a few things over time.
This past weekend, I shot in Cleveland Ohio, and it was one of the most efficient photoshoots of my career. It made me realize just how well I’ve adapted over the years, so I wanted to share some key tips for a successful shoot (featuring photos from my favorites).
1. Have A Concept In Mind
Before booking your shoot with a photographer, you want to figure out what your goals are. Are you looking to do an outside shot with a nature-feel? Or maybe you’re selling cars and you want a few product shots of what you have. Either way, the first step is figuring out what it is you’re looking to get from the shoot.
Consider how you imagine it in your mind and make sure to take detailed notes. A few things to consider are location/scenery, props, models, and timing. Photographers bring a lot of creativity, experience, and individualism to the project. However, they will appreciate your awareness of what it is that you want and it will help for a better outcome.
The photo above was shot by Megan LaCroix. The concept was for a project called “Love Hotline” that I did in 2018. I knew I wanted to play on the hotline concept and also showcase the album-inspired merch created by Max Marie Design. Check out Megan’s work here.
2. Come Prepared
Come with it! Have your necessities on set, this might include make-up, outfit changes, extras, and anything else you may need. A funny story about the shot above is that it was the middle of winter and the first location was an outdoor shot. It was EXTREMELY cold and windy, my false eyelash slipped off. I would’ve been very disappointed if I didn’t have my eyelash glue available to touch them up!
Specs was one of the first people to ever shoot me and I enjoy working with him a lot. He’s worked with a lot of talented individuals in Detroit and all over. Including J. Cole, Pusha T, and Joe Spaino. Check out his work.
3. Communicate Effectively
It’s SO important, I can’t stress it enough, that you communicate effectively with everyone working on the project. I mean talk about everything from pricing, turn-around times, and permissions. There have been a handful of times where I’ve either waited months to get back shots or I’ve seen a shot of myself released before I even received them to review.
It can feel infuriating and violating to experience situations like the fore mentioned. It’s best to communicate, communicate, communicate. You cannot over-communicate! Be specific, precise, and inquisitive. The shot above was done by Rck Bny or Jaysun Photography, we both knew going into it that it would be a random-ish and free-spirited shoot. Check out his work here.
4. Know Your Angles
This tip can be for product shots, but it’s mostly for those who are getting in front of the camera. Normally, with product shots, the photographer won’t need much direction with capturing the right angles. However, for model-shots, you need to know your angles.
Get in front of a mirror and practice your faces and your “best sides”. The photographer can only do so much, you have to know how to work the lens. Try to stick to flattering angles and poses. Even if it feels weird, it might look better on camera.
The shot above was captured by Cacaj photography, he did an amazing job! He was looking to add to his portfolio and I’m always looking to get some content made, so it worked out for the both of us. A great way to practice and build is by connecting with new photographers, their portfolio is not as important as their talented eye!
*Pro-tip: I love checking out what the shots are looking like during the shoot for inspiration on posing.**
5. Have Fun and Be Creative
Overall, you should have fun and be creative when going into shoots! They are such a great experience and help capture some great memories. It’s not all about perfectionism as much as it is about art. Art can be anything, it can be messy, blurry, and imperfect. Don’t limit yourself or cap your creativity!
The shot above was from my recent shoot with Collin Mac Photo. It was last minute and came from a burst of inspiration. We both had the same idea and it worked so perfectly. Building chemistry with your photographer and working with people you respect/admire will always bring great results (or at least great memories). Check out his work here.
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