How I Prepare for a Photoshoot / by Bianca Alexis



Naturally when I get the call that someone needs something shot, I get a little nervous.  The perfectionist in me kicks in. My mind goes into overdrive and all I want is the shoot to be over and results to be seen.


Then I remember to calm down. Cause if I'm not calm, neither will the client be.  I then start to write.


What Does The Client Need?

Do they need head shots?  A LookBook?  An Editorial Spread?  Product Shots? Let's say this particular shoot needs a LookBook.

A lookbook is a collection of photographs compiled to show off a model, a photographer, a style, or a clothing line.


When Do They Need The Final Product?

I never like to have a client wait for images.  It is written in my contract; the date of the shoot, date when the (raw) images can be seen by, and finally the date that final product (retouching if needed) will be delivered.

What Type Of Lighting is Needed?


This is the most important topic for me.  Lighting is an art and a science.  I wish I could snap my fingers and have the perfect lighting transpire. But that never happens.  It's a lifetime study.  Sometimes I use available light; whereas other times I have to bring external lights.  Sometimes I have to use reflectors to bounce the light onto my subject.  There are so many possibilities. 

For example the above photo looks natural, right?  Far from it. This was taken on one of the hottest days in July.  The sky was pouring light.  Too much light for the look we wanted.  If I took the photo in available light.  It would look like this.


The beautiful background would be lost.  The hat which is the focal point of the shoot would be lost too.  The image would lose its ground.  Therefore I had to insert external lighting.  I really loved the end result.

Intense/Moderate retouching?


This question tells me how much post production is needed.  If I'm photographing a disgusting cheeseburger for an article on how bad fast food is, the image wouldn't need that much retouching.  It actually might need de-touching. Make the meat look grey, darken it a bit, etc. 

But if it's for a LookBook, this involves many things. Cleaning up the models face of blemishes. Making sure the background is neat.  Removing wrinkles and elongating length of the hem.  This can be done to 4 images of the same outfit. And when a LookBook consists of a minimum of 20 looks, the retouching can take up to a week to finish.

Having these questions to ask yourself and the client really help.  It gives you the opportunity to have everything upfront with no back and forth.  Are there other questions you ask clients that help you get a smooth final product? I'd like to hear from you!