(me + Sandra Zhang being cool)
You have an idea but no crew. In this post, I help you pinpoint important steps to putting together a photo shoot with talent!
Say you’ve moved to a new city or simply a new area of photography, how do you go about finding those key team players for a shoot you’re wanting to do?
This is the mental space I was in when I first moved to Amsterdam, completely clueless to how I can find the right people for shoots. It’s easier than you think though!! The biggest obstacle is the fear of actually going out and executing the idea when you put it out there. It means when people respond you are accountable to say “WHOA wait, now I gotta go and shoot – dang this scary.” But you do it anyway. Being scared means you’re doing something RIGHT.
THE PUTTING TOGETHER A TEAM CHECKLIST
- Expectations – What effort are you going to put in to make sure your expectations for others is met with the same output? Is it TFP (Trade For Print – Free) or are you paying? You can’t expect people to do certain things if you aren’t willing to also do the same for them. Very important.
- Style – There’s a big difference of style between a fashion shoot, couples session and even a styled wedding shoot. Make sure you know what type of style + shoot you want before searching for team players. This will change who you reach out to!
- Be Active – Join the FB groups where you’re located or where you want to shoot. Comment on posts, save names on a separate personal ‘crew list’ (MUA, Hair, Models, Photographers) as they post, and also make your own post! Here’s a few examples of posts I have made in varying communities as I have moved:
I moved to NYC March of 2019 with the exact same struggle I had before: I HAD NO CONNECTIONS. I was at this place before though and knew what I had todo… put myself out there. Let me tell you it is not easy. I had a grip of fear on me thinking that my images were no good or I could not compete in this dense, vast market that is NYC itself.
What pushed me over the edge was that I was not taking advantage of all my FREE assets: the internet + facebook groups, past experience abroad in Amsterdam, abundance of people available for TFP (more on this later), and that in a sea of people you are still UNIQUE. No one has YOUR eye. I was being blinded by words that didn’t exist and fear of not being ‘good enough’ – but I didn’t even give myself the chance to try.
4. Concept – If you are reaching out to models/MUA/hair/etc. for a specific shoot, you should have a concept to share with them. A Pinterest board, a small two-three sentence description of your vision and possibly even a small storyboard of images you want to make sure you capture. Being prepared and showing this organization to potential team members is professional + more structured.
5. Photographers/MUA/Hair/Models/etc. – From your saved crew list and the names who commented on your post, you will have a few people to look through and message for a shoot! It’s important to keep a running list of talent that you can go through and work with each one at least once, see who you work the best with, and who from the list will introduce you to even more people. Check to see who matches well with your concept, look through their portfolios and see what type of team player they are!
6. Location – Don’t forget to figure out WHERE you want to shoot. For me as a photographer, I shoot a lot in studio so I check to see availabilities in advance for dates, and if it’s outside I go scout the location.
7. Build Relationships – Can’t shoot with a specific person for the shoot? Make sure you make a note and follow up with them! Get on instagram, interact and if you have another shoot reach out again. If you are real good, they might even reach out to you before for a shoot they have. Note: ALWAYS BE KIND.
8. Communication – **MOST IMPORTANT** Talk to each crew member, make sure everyone is on the same page. Self-explanatory!
FINAL NOTES FOR ALL OF YA
You receive what you give, and throughout all of this it’s important to be a GOOD TEAM PLAYER. Make sure you set ground rules for usage and how each person plays a part in the shoot.
Promise the images in a week? Get ’em done for then.
Said you’d make a mood board? Better get on it!
HAVE FUN 😀
For Photographers: we often get questions such as “can I have all the images? Can you fix this or that? The colours just aren’t right!” I think it’s important as part of a collaboration to make sure you do your best creative work + style but to also hear out some of the other people as part of the shoot. If a MUA wants a close-up to be a little brighter, help them out. This especially goes for TFP shoots since it’s all done as a collaboration together and no one has paid anyone.
Your limit should be set right away with clear communication. Make sure you tell the team when + how they’ll receive images, follow through on it, and also remind them how many you will be sharing as the final images. I like to share the images I have shot with the art director/designer and ask them to favourite some they really like and take that into consideration in the final image cull/edit. I always mention though that I will deliver a certain amount of edited images and any more will cost per image. At minimum, I usually deliver 20 – 30, which is a fair amount, and any more will start to cut into my time. Want to be secure? Create a general terms contract that people initial agreeing to the final delivery terms.
I hope this was helpful for you to jumpstart your next photo shoot with some new people!! Creating new work is exciting and who knows… maybe we’ll work together next 😉