Summer Shootout – 10 Tips for a Successful Photoshoot

, Summer Shootout – 10 Tips for a Successful Photoshoot

Mitchell Wagner

As the weather becomes warmer and the days get longer, it may be time to think about organizing a photoshoot. Whether it’s for a new product or to freshen up your image, summer is a great time to get out there and show your product how it’s meant to be seen — working! Below I have outlined what I feel are some important things to consider when coordinating a photoshoot. This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive checklist, just some notable items to keep in mind to help ensure a successful shoot.

  1. Whenever possible, hire a professional photographer with high quality equipment (or, at the very least, a person with some experience and a nice camera). This will pay for itself in more ways than one. Not only will the shots have a more professional look, having someone outside your company involved is likely to offer new insight and ideas on how your equipment could be displayed.
  2. Don’t forget model release forms. Any participant who appears in a photo must sign this form, giving you permission to use their image in the future.
  3. As one of my photography professors always said, “Get closer.” You can get dynamic, visually interesting shots that are perfect for marketing materials by repeating this to yourself before taking the photo. That’s not to say you shouldn’t also get the shots where the entirety of the subject is within the frame, but some variety will pay off in the end — I mean, it is digital. This leads us into the next topic.
  4. Don’t be afraid to take the shot. Digital cameras can hold hundreds of photos, so take as many as possible. This will give great variety and allow choice when it’s time to select the final photos. And who knows, the photo that you otherwise may not have taken could end up being “The shot.”
  5. Remember to take each shot both horizontally and vertically. Having said that, not all shots work the best in both formats, so be ready to make adjustments as needed.
  6. Maximize your day. The best dramatic lighting is around ½ hour before sunrise and ½ hour after sunset. If you’re shooting outdoors, plan the shoot to start and end around this timeline. And what if it’s not a sunny, perfectly clear day? That’s ok! As long as the sky isn’t completely gray, clouds can add visual interest, as well as diffuse the mid-day light, knocking out hot spots.
  7. Scout your locations/applications beforehand and have a plan. You’ll want to maximize each location, especially if you are going to a job site. Bring multiple products that are applicable and utilize multiple backgrounds.
  8. Bring props. Items as simple as a few old shovels or a toolbox can make the difference between a believable and a “staged” shot.
  9. Keep your product clean. In reality, your product may be built to be constantly dirty, but for the photos, suspend reality a little bit. You’re going to want people to recognize the product brand quickly when these photos are put to use.
  10. The final tip is perhaps the most important one of all: Thank your participants. Acknowledge those who helped make the shoot possible with something as simple as a short, yet sincere thank-you note. Many of these people are helping out during the workday on their own time, so make sure they know how much it is appreciated.

A lot of planning, work and time goes into a photoshoot, but the end result is worth it – and you may even have a little fun along the way. Do you have any tricks to a successful photoshoot you have learned over the years? What do find to be the most difficult aspect of putting together a photoshoot?