How To Produce and Direct a Successful Photoshoot

By Anso

Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to work with countless brands by bringing their  vision to life through photoshoot campaigns.  After much  trial and error, I have learned  that there is a clear process  one must follow to produce and direct  a successful photo shoot.

Here are the steps I always follow to ensure a smooth procedure!

  1. Preliminary Research & Budget

Before organizing a shoot for a brand, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the brand’s audience, the current seasons, trends,  and events.

It’s also been beneficial for me to do  some analysis with the marketing team to see what type of content has performed well in the past. 

Establishing your budget early on is also an important factor as well, since it will dictate everything for the shoot. 

     2. Develop Your Concept

When developing shoot concepts, always stay on brand with the  aesthetic and look, as well as the current world events and trends. I love to get my inspiration from pinterest and create moodboards. That way, I am able to visualize my ideas. I include inspiration, colors, pictures, poses and everything else that speaks to me.

     3. Find a Location

Once the concept is established and approved, it is time to find a location that will bring my vision to life.

I love to use Peerspace when I am shooting in the USA.

     4. Book a Team

When working with a team, always make sure you have usage rights (duration, digital, print etc.), so that everyone is on the same page and there are no misunderstandings.

For a  photoshoot, I will usually have models, a photographer, an assistant photographer, a videographer, an assistant videographer, makeup & hair artist and a stylist! 

     5. Plan Your Shots Ahead of Time

Plan your shots! I plan every product I need to shoot including the pose, styling, location, prop reference, composition, lighting etc. for each shot.  Make sure you  know ahead of time which formats you need for each shot in, for example, vertical for stories, square for post, horizontal for website banners etc.

Be realistic with what can be shot.  Things will always take longer than expected!  A little trick I do is to block together shots that have similar outfits, looks,  hair and makeup so you can assemble shots together and save time.

     6. Review Outfits

Review all the outfits made by the stylist prior to the shoot to make sure they all fit the vibe and aesthetic of the brand and the shoot’s vision. That way, there aren’t any last minute problems on set or time wasted.

      7.  Find & Buy Props

For each shot, create a list of props that will be required and buy them. For example, a cocktail glass for a Party Campaign, a tennis racket for a sportswear campaign etc.

      8. Hair & Makeup

Aligning hair and makeup with the vibe of the shoot and taking advantage of the model’s features is important.  I love looking at Pinterest or high-fashion brands for inspiration. 

If you need a specific manicure and pedicure, let the model agent or the model know ahead of time.

      9. Creation of a shoot brief

I always create a shoot brief to send to the whole team and to bring to the shoot. It helps me immensely and  makes sure everyone is on the same page.

What to include in a shoot brief : 

  1. Time, date & location (including travel time)
  2. Timesheet of the day (when are we starting, when is lunch etc.)
  3. Contacts: such as art director/producer 
  4. Shot list and number of required images
  5. Team: photographer, videographer hair stylist, makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, set stylist
  6. Hair & Makeup 
  7. Moodboard — You might also want to incorporate a storyline in your pictures or videos (beginning,middle, end). 
  1. Shoot bag

It’s finally here! The photoshoot you have been working towards is coming up, here are a few things I always bring with me on set : 

  • Multiple printouts of the moodboard & shoot brief to share with the team on set
  • Portable steamer in case
  • Small socks, nipple covers and beige thong
  • Clothes roller
  • Tape
  • Water 
  • Snacks (nuts, granola bar etc.)
  • Phone charger
  1. On Set :

Make sure to get the team rolling and that everyone is following the timeline. Try to take Behind the scenes (BTS) content to share with the audience! 

  1. Post Shoot Selection

After the shoot, I go through all the images and select the best ones. I  upload all the shoot’s images on lightroom and select them there.

  1. Retouch & Color Correction

I go through every single selected image and send specific retouching comments (ex : if the clothing is too wrinkled, remove something in the background, fix the color of a specific item etc.)

For the color correction, I find inspiration from photographers I love and send those as a reference. Make sure you know what you are looking for!  (Is it warm, cool, grainy etc.)


Hopefully this guide has given you the confidence to let your creativity shine! Producing and directing a successful photo shoot can seem daunting but with the right preparation and mindset you’ll ensure it’s a success every time.