Photoshoots can be fun, but they’re also hard work. Planning, preparation and communication is critical to keeping on task and getting the shots you need. There’s a lot more planning and a lot less artistry to a photoshoot than you might think. In fact, by the time the photoshoot comes around, most of the creative thinking has been done.


I recently organised a shoot for one of our retail clients. If you’re a project manager or account manager like me and planning a shoot, here’s some tips to help to keep you and your team stay sane.


Preparation, preparation, preparation

  1. When you confirm the photographer and where the shoot’s taking place, make sure all the equipment you need is available, including accessories and set components.
  2. If you’re on location, go on a recce in advance. See what it’s like in person, and identify any extra props or lighting you might need on the day. Check for things like if you need permits and what you’ll do if the weather changes.
  3. Shooting a product? Get it delivered well ahead of time, and ideally directly from the manufacturer. That way, it hasn’t been handled already.
  4. Food is notoriously hard to photograph. Make it easier for yourself by bringing extra product. How long will the food will look good for the camera? Make a detailed shot list so you make sure you get everything you need before it expires.
  5. A good shot list includes all the components and props you need for each set or shot. Put them in order with clear visuals, so you know what each shot should look like. (And get them approved ahead of time.)
  6. Schedule a pre-production meeting or call with the key team members. Likely you, the photographer, stylist, art director and the client. Cover off the shot list, visuals and any other loose ends. It’s a good way to warm the team up to each other before the day, so everyone’s confident in what they’re doing.


A few days before the shoot

  1. Create a call sheet with all the important information for the whole team. List the client or project, the photographer, everyone involved and their contact details, location, schedule, and what time each team member needs to arrive.
  2. Confirm everyone’s attendance the evening before to avoid last-minute drop-outs. If you sense any hesitation from someone, ask directly if they intend to show up. Missing an essential member of the team can often prevent a photo shoot from taking place.
  3. If you’re on an outdoor shoot location, or if light is critical – check weather updates. Have a bad-weather back-up or rescheduling plan. Make sure the client knows if your shoot is dependent on the weather behaving.


On the day

  1. Give the team time checks and reminders so everyone stays on track and the amount of time spent on a shot doesn’t run over.
  1. Speak up if you don’t feel your goals are being met. Stay tuned in to your client’s reactions as well, and address their feedback.
  1. Don’t rely on post-production retouching. Aim for the best raw images you can, so take more shots than you think you need.
  1. Be flexible! Planning is critical, but there are so many variables at play that not everything will run as you intend it to. Be ready to adapt and find answers to problems as they happen.
  1. And of course, don’t forget the little things like keeping your team’s energy and morale up with food, drinks, snacks and music. Remember you’ll get the best out of your team if you’re all able to relax and have fun.


This kind of project is at the heart of account management and the projects we bring to life for our clients.


If you’re tearing your hair out with a project, trying be marketing manager, producer, director and project manager all at once, give us a call on 01527 573 770 or email to see how we can help.

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