Saturday, June 14, 2014

7 Steps to Style & Prepare for a Perfect Photo Shoot

photo by Gray Walker

I am sorry I haven't been blogging.  Last week was an exciting and very busy week.  I was asked to style a photo shoot for a national magazine and then hopped on a plane to Arkansas for Mastermind with Tobi Fairley.  I'm not at liberty to divulge the details of the photo shoot yet, but when the magazine hits the newsstands mid August, I promise you will be the first to know.  Styling for a shoot is an arduous process, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  

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There are many components to styling a perfect photography shoot.  It is important to capture the space, in a way, that allows the  viewer to participate.  I think one of the most important elements of styling a shoot is choosing the right flowers to accentuate the room.  Flowers and plants give life to the room.  I chose three dozen pale pink peonies and a couple stems of white orchids for the feminine dressing room I was asked to style. 

I spent several days organizing and gathering the necessary elements for the shoot.  I deliberately chose  several items for the various scenarios we planned to capture on film.  It is efficient to be prepared with options in case something doesn't seem to convey well through the camera lens.  

I want to share with you what I consider some top tips to styling the perfect shoot.  

Five Steps to Style & Prepare for a Perfect Photo Shoot

1. Point of View - When working with a magazine, the photographs are a necessary part of telling a story; therefore, it is important to think about ways to convey what you want to say through the photographs.  Look on Pinterest, in magazines or other online websites to study how the pros style a shoot.

2. PhotographerChoosing the right photographer is imperative.  Do your homework.  Just because a photographer has been in business a long time doesn't mean he or she can shoot interior shots.  Shooting interior shots well is an acquired skill.  Experience shooting interiors is crucial.  Check out the photographer's website and portfolio.  Pick several photographers to interview. Compare their work one against the other.  Choose a photographer whose work meshes with the vision you have for your shoot? Make sure your photographer will be bringing proper equipment, lighting, etc. for the shoot.  It is also helpful if he or she work with a computer monitor so that it is easy for reviewing the shots taken.  

3. Light - What is the best time of day for the shoot?  It is  important to have the photographer visit the area prior to the shoot to see the space and to gauge the best time of day to capture the best light for the room.  Make sure to plan the shoots based on light.  If there is a shot that needs to be taken early morning to get the best light, make sure the photographer shoots this first, otherwise it may be impossible to photograph.

4. Props - Do you need props to tell your story?  Props often keep the photographs from looking too stagnant.  The right props can keep a room from looking uninhabitable.  

5. Flowers or plantsLive flowers, plants or greenery add life to a room.  Never use fake flowers thinking you can achieve a realistic effect.  Use care in choosing the right flowers or plants for your room.   Take into consideration whether your room is masculine, feminine, formal or casual.  Also, make sure your flowers correspond to the time of year the magazine will be running the feature.  The flowers should accentuate the room not command attention.

6. Composition -  Make a list of all the shots you want taken the day of the shoot, to ensure you get everything done.  A list will also make the shoot go quicker.  Once everything is in place, use a phone camera to snap quick photos, which will reveal if anything needs adjusting. Preliminary photos like this will cut down on the shots the photographer will need to take hence cutting down on the photo session time.

7. Bring along Water or Food -  Photo shoots can take a long time.  It is a good idea to bring a cooler with food unless there are places nearby to pick something up quickly.  Time is money, so being prepared with food can make your day more efficient.  If the shoot doesn't involve a meal time, it is always a good idea to have bottled water available for everyone.  If you do bring food in, don't choose food that will leave odors in the room, especially if it is in someone's home.

  Have Fun!  Enjoy the day!  Photo shoots can be fun!  

Preparing for a photo shoot can be very time consuming, but preparation is everything. Think through the process and make a list of everything that must be done to get ready for the shoot.  If the shoot isn't at a place, you have total access to, make sure to request access a day or two prior to the shoot to arrange the room when possible.  Getting the styling done the day before will make for a smoother day the actual day of the shoot.  Always take photos of the area with your phone when you first arrive.  These photos serve as a guide to returning the room to its original shape, once the photography session is complete.  At the end of the day, once the shoot is over, and everything is back to it's original place, take exit photos to show the room returned to its original placement.  

I hope my tips will help with your next photo shoot.   Please feel free to share any tips you have that  I didn't mention.  Like everything else, photo styling is a learning process.  

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  1. Great Post, Lisa. Can't wait to see your shoot.

    1. Thanks Ann! I miss you! Hope you are doing well.

  2. I love these decorating ideas. The designs are so vibrant and the view is so happy and cheerful.

  3. I am so excited about your adventure!!! Can't wait for the magazine to be released......

    1. Thanks Patty! oxox Tell MC I said happy Father's Day!

  4. Great tips Lisa! Can't wait to see your work:)

    1. Thanks Sherry! The designer was Gray Walker. It is a fab spread. I was asked to style the shots which was fun for me. Gray is amazing!

  5. Wonderful post! I am excited for you, that's great!

  6. I'm sure it's going to be beautiful!

  7. How exciting and fun for you! I'm excited to see what you did :)


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