The various stages behind a photoshoot with artistic direction.

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An art-directed shoot is much more than just a photo shoot. It’s a process that requires careful planning and effective coordination to deliver results that live up to expectations. High-quality visuals are essential for any brand. In this article, we’ll explore the various stages of this methodical and creative process.

Everything needs to be studied and thought out in relation to the product or service to be highlighted. How much light you’ll need, what type of models/persons, how many images per product, what type of images (packshots, lifestyle, still life…), how many days of shooting you’ll need, what type of equipment you’ll need… All the while keeping in mind the audience the images will be aimed at, image rights…

Here’s a short list of steps to consider when preparing a photo shoot :

1. Define the objective of the shoot

Before you start planning, it’s essential to clearly define the shoot’s objective and requirements. What do you want to achieve? What message do you want to convey through the visuals? What atmosphere or visual style do you want to create?  This brainstorming phase lays the foundations for the artistic direction of the project.

2. Draw up a list of products to be shoot

Once the objective has been defined, it’s time to draw up a detailed list of the products that will be highlighted during the shoot. This list ensures that nothing is forgotten, and that all important products are included in the shoot.

Nothing could be simpler than an excel list to note down what has been photographed during the shoot. This will serve as a kind of roadmap during the day(s) of the shoot, so as not to forget anything.

3. Determine the types of visuals required

Next, it’s necessary to determine the different types of visuals required to meet the brand’s needs. This can include images of products alone, packshots, lifestyle visuals, with or without models, etc. Whether these visuals are destined for an e-shop, print or web advertising, print or press.

Create a presentation in PowerPoint or any other visually useful tool. The most important thing is to have a summary of the different visuals and their objectives, which can be used as a briefing for the photographer, stylist, decorator or team taking part in the shoot.

4. Create moodboards

Moving on to the more creative part, moodboards are essential visual tools to guide the artistic direction of the shoot. They gather inspiring images that represent the desired aesthetic and mood of the final visuals. They serve as a guide for the photographer.

In creating a moodboard, the key is to create an atmosphere as well as inspirations, an artistic style to keep a guideline during the photo shoot.

For inspiration, we go to: Pinterest, Instagram, Unsplash,…

5. Select the team and create a summary document

It’s crucial to select a team for the big day, and to choose a professional photographer. It’s also important to create a summary document containing all the information about the project and the day’s proceedings. Good communication and coordination between team members will ensure the success of the project.

The photographer’s style will influence the image, so choose a photographer who is in line with the desired artistic result.

If you have models, always have them sign documents to ensure that you have the rights to distribute the image on what territory, for what period, and under what conditions.

6. Find and book the ideal location for the photo shoot

The choice of location is also important. It must correspond to the creative vision of the project and offer the ideal conditions for achieving the desired visuals. It’s always easier to find a location after you’ve made your moodboard, so you have a clear idea of the kind of place you’ll need to get the best possible result. – Home, studio, beach, forest, city, nature…

7. Prepare materials and accessories

Once the concept has been defined and the moodboards finalized, it’s time to prepare the equipment and accessories needed for the shoot. This may include photography equipment, sets, props, lighting, etc. It’s always better to plan too much than too little.

It’s always better to plan too much than too little 😉. It allows you to be creative and make several settings for one or more products.

8. Briefing with the creative team and photographer

Before the day of the shoot, a briefing is organized with the whole team to discuss the concept, expectations and logistical details, planning, etc.

9. Carry out the shoot

Time for action!  D-Day arrives, and the team gathers at the chosen location to capture images in line with the artistic vision, leaving plenty of room for spontaneity and creativity. It’s also the perfect time to create backstage content for your brand or company. It’s fast-paced, super Instagrammable content that audiences love. The life of a star, the real thing… or almost 😉. A sneak peek at one of our backstages.

10. Photo selection and retouching

Once the photos have been taken and the shoot completed, the next step is selection. The best photos are selected and reworked with some retouching to achieve the desired result. Retouching can include chroma (light can influence the true color of products, and these things can be corrected in post-production), a few unsightly creases, stains, skin color, background, etc. But in general, it’s always best to work well during the photo shoot, so that there’s a minimum of retouching to be done afterwards.

11. Sorting by folder

Finally, the photos are sorted by folder, according to the different types of visuals and products, for future use on the brand’s various communication media.

As you can see, the key to a successful photo shoot is organization and meticulous planning! Everything must be thought out in advance. By following these methodical steps, a photo shoot with art direction can result in the creation of striking visuals that reinforce the brand’s image and the communication around it.

After all, photo shoots are often great moments that get us out of the ordinary and behind our screens, but they’re also often physically very tiring.

Need to put it into practice, but not enough hands or ideas on how to do it? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We love to put our customers’ ideas into images and bring out the best in them.


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