Making the most of your photoshoots

Back when I started my path into photography I would regularly practice with my cousin who would help me out and patiently model for me.  But there was something just not quite right.  I would reflect on the sessions and in all honesty the shoot would be quiet, not a lot of communication between us, long pauses whilst I was working out my settings, and a general stiffness in the small amount of useable images I would come out with.

So with the help of feedback from other photographers, training (whether it be one to one/on line), a structured plan for the whole experience from enquiry to presenting the images things began to improve…rapidly!

I would like to share with you these useful points on how to get the most from your shoots – in every sense of the word.

  • Know your equipment intimately

Read your camera’s instruction manual and know which dial and button does what so that you can get to a point where you are getting to the correct settings blind-folded.  You don’t want to be in situation where you are fumbling to find the correct settings when you are with a paying client – they will lose their faith in you very quickly and before you know it their negative experience will be known on line and potentially damage future clients.

  • Planning

This I broke down into small bite sized chucks.

Initial call/e-mail
This is my opportunity to find out what the customer wants as an end product – are they enquiring about corporate headshots/actors‘ headshots; a family shoot; a band shoot?  You cannot assume that each customer wants the same thing as the other.  By finding out what your customer wants and needs allows you to give them a bespoke product.  And this gives you an opportunity to start putting together a mood board for your meeting.

The meeting is the most important part in my opinion as this is where you really start building a rapport with your customer.  I always insist, if possible, for a pre shoot meeting, as there is nothing worse than going into a shoot ‘cold’.  You spend the first 45 minutes building your rapport and eating into studio time.  Find out about your customers’ likes/dislikes; any hobbies that they may have; favourite television shows – use the basics of who/what/where/why/when/how and most important listen to them.  By the end of your meeting you should be feeling comfortable with each others’ company and have built enough of a rapport to be able to begin your shoot as soon as possible on the day.

Here is where you will put what you have planned into practise.  So you know what looks you are going for, you have found some common ground, you have also mentally penned some questions to ask during the shoot in order to stimulate expressions and you are confident with your equipment,  I then explain to the customer that I will need to do the test images to make sure that I have perfect images ‘in camera’.  this allows you to get the settings you require as well as relax your client and ease them into the shoot.  Once I am satisfied that I have the correct settings I then start the conversation off and before you know it you have ended the shoot.

I hope that these tips have been of help to you?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below.

Thanks for reading


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2 thoughts on “Making the most of your photoshoots

  1. Todor, I think your right. Rapport is the key to getting more natural looking images and saves time during the session itself. People tend to become ridged in from of a big DSLR and anything that breaks down that barrier will only be a positive. Top man. Ian

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