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The Joy of the Photography Shot List

A photography shot list takes the chaos out of creating great photography for your marketing projects. But, it does take a little work to put together. Here’s how to set it up.
A photography shot list takes the chaos out of creating great photography for your marketing projects. But, it does take a little work to put together. Here’s how to set it up.

One Photography Shot List To Rule Them All

Behind the scenes Viewbook Shoot
Behind the scenes Viewbook Shoot

A photography shot list takes the chaos out of creating great photography for your marketing projects. But, it does take a little work to put together. Here’s how to set it up.

For those of you who haven’t been on a photoshoot before, from the outside, it can look pretty chaotic.

There’s someone setting up and moving lights, lots of people in a huddle around a laptop. The occasional piece of furniture borrowed from a near by office and set up in the middle of the lobby.

And, plenty of phone calls getting people to their marks and out again before their next conference call. It’s a never ending swirl of action through the office. It’s enough to make anyone nervous.

However, it doesn’t have to be a stressful interuption of the work day. With a good shot list in hand, it can actually be a fun and creative process that yields tons of strong marketing photos for your image library, with a minimum of disruption to the day’s workflow.

So, how do you make a good photography shot list?

The simple way to make a Photography shot list, is to just start at the beginning…

The best shot lists start with your creative team and with a specific goal in mind.

Brainstorm images and image concepts that might work well to illustrate concepts on your web page.

If you are a manufacturer, perhaps an action shot of the latest piece of equipment, making your goods quickly and efficiently.

For bio tech R & D, an image of one of your techs in your state of the art lab should probably be on the list.

If your people do proposals, white papers or speaking engagements, then there are a number of portrait possibilities to consider

Prioritize and Refine Your List For Success

With the results of your brainstorming session, you can now start to whittle down the list and organize your photography shot list with a few simple, but important, criteria:

  1.  Why is this shot important?
  2.  Does it feature a key player or marketing concept for the company?
  3.  Is this photo a must have or a wish list item?

That last one is really vital to the process. A must have shot is one that has an immediate place in the marketing.

Head shots of senior management for the bio page, LinkedIn profiles and client proposals would be a must have. Portraits of junior account managers for the in house intranet may not be as effective a use of your photographer’s time and your budget.

Convert the Photography Shot List to a Schedule

The production shot list
Production Shot List, 2 day shoot.

Now that you have trimmed the photography shot list to the most important, most valuable photos, it is time to organize it and work out a smooth schedule.

Be sure to consult with your photographer and creative team. They can estimate how long each set up will take.

Don’t forget to include a lunch break!

Your shot list schedule could be as simple as:
“Morning- shoot in lab A with Dr. X and Tech Y, for header on research page.”

Or, as detailed as:
“9:00 Photo crew arrival and set up in Lab A. Groomer in adjacent office.
9:15 Dr. X and Tech Y to groomer, wardrobe is lab coat and gloves.
10:00 shoot research concept, with electron microscope and cancer slides.
10:45 break down set and move to conference room B for exec portraits. Dress code for execs is suit coat and tie or dress. See production sheet for wardrobe tips.
10:45 VP Sales to groomer
11:00 VP Sales on set
11:00 VP Marcom to groomer
11:30 VP Marcomm on set”

Production Shot List, 2 day shoot.

The more details we nail down before we go out on location, the less stress there will be on you and your team. Your production will be smoother and more successful.

Location Scouting for the photography shot list
Location Scouting for the photography shot list

Get Your Photographer Involved Early!

Getting your photographer in during the planning stages of your photography shot list can help to avoid scheduling snafus and help to execute specific shot concepts.

Asking your photographer to “just show up and shoot stuff” is like asking your mechanic to fix your car without telling him what’s going wrong. He’ll find it eventually but it certainly isn’t the best way to spend your money.

Location scouting with the photo team can reveal areas in the office that are beneficial to the project and help identify potential challenges.

Our Ask

Got a marketing project in mind? Overhauling your current site or looking to update your corporate image library? Let us know and we can help you create a photography shot list that will make your marketing sing!

Quick Note:

We’ve updated this post about the Joy of the Photography shot list on April 2, 2022, to reflect how our workflow has improved and evolved over the years.

The information is based on numerous client interactions before, during and after projects. It was originally published in 2012.

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