Why we need a photography shot list

Photography shot lists

Are you a planner like I am? Or would you prefer a photography session where your brand photographer just wings it, goes with the flow, and see what happens to the creative juices on the day?

There's possibly a place for both approaches ... maybe ... in a universe far, far away!, but I've got both feet very firmly in the "planner" camp.

Because you've invested both time and money in having you and your business professionally photographed, and I am NOT about to leave it up to chance whether I can get a collection of images which will help you sell or not.

Photography shot list - collage - yoga teacher

When going with the flow doesn’t work

Going with the flow can work for standard portrait sessions, eg family photography where you're trying to catch emotions and interaction between family members, but for brand photography this approach is an irresponsible waste of your time and money.

That's why I get my clients to do "homework" before our planning session. Once I know why you're doing this business of yours, your ideal client, your key marketing messages, your brand values, and we've decided on the themes we'll be using in your shoot, I turn all that information into a shoot plan.

The photography shot list is an integral part of this.

What a shot list helps us achieve

My ultimate goal is to produce a varied collection of high quality images which attract your ideal clients by helping them get to know, like, and trust you, then ultimately book you or buy from you. This shit doesn't just happen by winging it, believe me!

So our shot list makes things go more smoothly and efficiently as we both know the essentials will happen.

How a shot list keeps us right

You won't be turning up at your photography session wondering if I've remembered everything we talked about in our planning session because I work off a shot list. You'll usually see me with a sheet of folded up A4 paper going in and out of my back pocket, and the shot list on that paper keeps us both right.

We know what actions need to be taken to accomplish the outcomes we want, we make sure everything we decided upon is captured, then I layer this up with my own creativity in response to what's going on at the time.

Shot lists don't stifle creativity

You might wonder if good planning and having a shot list might stifle creativity, but it doesn't. It actually enhances it.

I know for sure we want this shot, that shot, and the next shot - because we've already decided those are the ones which are going to influence the way people see you.

But we can still react to things like perfect light, suddenly finding a perfect little spot in which you'll look extra great, and generally reacting to what else might be going on.

The shot list actually frees up my mind to be MORE creative, because I'm not worrying about missing any of the important details we discussed in the planning meeting. I do NOT want to turn up for our shoot and have my brain going ten to the dozen figuring out what we're going to do!

I want to know all that in advance so we can both relax, enjoy ourselves, AND get exactly what we need.

I want to fully focus on connecting with you, making you feel comfortable in front of the camera, and making you look great.

The shot list is our baseline guide for what we're going to do in your session, and creativity on the day is an important part of what makes YOUR collection of images different from everyone else's.

Shot lists set your expectations

My photography sessions don't tend to last much longer than three hours, as I find most clients' energy levels start to dip after that. And the last thing I want is you crawling away thinking bloody hell, I'm knackered, I need a gin and a lie down NOW!

So whether you've booked a one or a three hour session with me, we both need to know what we can achieve in that time. There's no point in me promising you ten different locations for brand photography across Scotland, 25 changes of outfit, 100 detail shots, and 16 friends, family, or colleagues of yours getting in on the act if you've only booked an hour's shoot.

Me planning out the shot list in advance and then showing it to you before the day helps us both see what we can realistically expect to achieve.

How I create a photography shot list

Once we've had our planning session, I'll know the shoot logistics like when and where we'll meet, what you'll be wearing, what you'll be doing, what props we'll need, what times we'll be at which locations, and what times anyone else involved should join us.

Then it's a matter of taking the standard "template" shot list I use for personal branding photoshoots and personalising it especially for you, based on what we talked about in our planning session.

Photography shot list document mockup

Part of a shoot plan

What happens when the shot list is finished?

I'll then send my shot list to you for a look, just so you're comfortable everything's been covered off.

Then it's just a matter of you getting hold of any extra props or outfits that we identified in our planning session and leaving the rest to me!

What do you think of my approach?

What do you think of my systematic approach here?

It's not for everyone, but if you're a planner like me and not a winger, why not contact me to have a chat about how brand photography can uplevel YOUR business?

Or if you're not quite ready to do that yet, have a look at my Ultimate Guide to Brand Photography and Business Headshots in Scotland in the meantime. 

Edinburgh branding photographer

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Join my email list for:

  • advice on how to use images in your business
  • hints and tips to help you as a busy small business owner 
  • updates when I publish helpful new articles
  • exclusive early access to any offers and promotions 

I'll inconsistently give you consistently good emails, perhaps weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or maybe even less - who knows, but I'll make sure they'll add to your day!