May 17


Greg Kadel’s Tips for Planning a Professional Photoshoot

Photography may seem as easy as lining up a subject and pushing a button, but photography is a subtle art that requires a great deal of planning and preparation to be successful.

When planning a professional photoshoot, there are many factors to take into consideration.

Novice professional photographers should study these 5 important concepts before going into their first photo shoot. 

Greg Kadel shares his professional knowledge with novice photographers, giving them solid advice that they can use to build their professional portfolios.

planning a photoshoot

Help Clients Plan the Shoot

The client’s needs should always be taken into consideration when planning a professional photo shoot. The client may be looking for promotional photographs, catalog photography, or ads for print or online use.

At least a week before the shoot, the models, location, and any other considerations should be confirmed.

The day before the shoot, the photographer should make sure that their equipment is charged, well-maintained, and ready to go, along with several different pieces of backup equipment to use in case something unforeseen happens.

Scout a Location

Finding the best possible location for your shoot can be a tricky proposition.

When you are looking for a location, carefully examine the lighting and background content.

You will want to use a location with a great deal of natural light. Natural lighting makes photos more attractive and presents your subjects in the best possible way.

When you are looking for a location, here are a few questions you can ask your client:

  • What are you looking for in terms of a shot list?
  • What are your goals for the shoot?
  • Share some images that you love and try to articulate why you like them.

Using the plan that you draw up with your client, make a “mood board” and use that to guide the aesthetics of your photo shoot.

You may find it useful to create a PDF that you can share with your client.

One consideration that amateur photographers often miss is that the background for their shoot needs to take second place to the model or intended content.

If the background is distracting, the focus of the image will be wrong.

Find Models

You will need to find just the right model for your project.

Your client may be looking for photos of themselves, in which case your job will be easier.

For most professional shoots, you will want to go through a modeling agency.

Experienced models can make a huge difference in the quality of a shoot.

They already know their best poses and angles, and they can work with you to create the vision in your mind.

Less-experienced models may require more direction, which will take away from your precious time during the shoot.

The right model can also give you ideas and inspiration for your project.

Models are skilled at creating the look that a photographer wants.

You will also need to invest in professional hair and makeup services for your model, whether you are using a professional model or whether your client is the model themselves.

Professional clothing stylists can also be a huge help in creating the best possible photo shoot.

When you use a professional stylist, they will be able to give your model a pulled-together, attractive look that reflects well in your final product.

Find Inspiration

When you are looking for inspiration for your shoot, be open-minded.

Travel destinations, colors, compositions, books, movies, and nature can all help you create a vision for your shoot.

It pays to have a good working knowledge of art and art history, since there are many different aesthetics and poses that you can use by drawing on the past.

A background in art and art history can also help you to analyze an image by color and theme, picking out the most important considerations.

Wrapping it All Up

A good photographer will be able to use these five tips to pull together a professional, exciting photo shoot.

When planning a photo shoot, it is important that you always keep your client’s needs in mind.

A photo shoot promoting fashion will always be different in composition than a shoot which focuses mainly on the travel destination.

Photographers should practice their skills frequently, and an experienced photographer can give you unmatched results.

When proper attention is paid to planning, location, models, and the overall aesthetic of the photo shoot, your client will be happy and you will be proud to feature your work in your own portfolio.

Greg Kadel encourages all aspiring professional photographers to work with a teacher or a mentor, synthesizing the ideas they have developed in their professional careers as well as in their personal lives.


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