How to Prepare with Your Photographer Pre-Shoot (and getting the most from it!)

admin October 21, 2013 Comments

Discussing the terms to prepare for your upcoming photo shoot

There are a few things that you can do upfront to ensure you get the most out of each photo shoot you participate in.

STEP 1: Determine Your Goals for the Shoot

What is your goal and purpose for doing this photo shoot? Write that down. Perhaps it is to get a new series of images you can pitch to a magazine. Or it is something to show your sponsor. Maybe it is something that your agency is requesting you to get. Record down your goals for the photo shoot and then, and this is equally important, communicate those goals to the photographer. This allows them to creatively direct the shoot with a clearly defined vision in mind. Setting the goals prior to the shoot can save you the frustration of getting images that you did not want or cannot use. Put a purpose and meaning behind each one of your photo shoots.


STEP 2: Fine-tune the Creative

Once you have the goals of the photo shoot set you now begin to have a clear picture of what the results of the shoot need to look like. This is the conversation you continue to have with the photographer. Based upon your goals; does the photo shoot need to happen in a photo studio, in a gym, outside, or a mix? Do the photos need to be in color or in black and white? Do the photos need a specific style of editing and postproduction, or do they need to be clean and fairly untouched? Do you need to be wearing lifestyle attire or fitness attire? Once again, write this down so you and the photographer can prepare your shot list.


STEP 3: Determine the Output

When the shoot is done, what format do you need the final files in? Are you going to need them in just low-resolution web versions or are you also going to need the high-resolution printable versions of the images? Also, how many photos do you need to have edited? Do you need 2 photos or are you going to require 10? This should be discussed with the photographer before the photo shoot. Communicate your needs with the person you plan on hiring. Every photographer is going to have a slightly different approach that you can take into account when booking someone.


STEP 4: Determine the Usage

Most models or talents will never fully understand photo rights and usage. Ironically, many photographers don’t fully understand it either. However to make it super simple, and to keep you in the clear, always ask and find out what you can and cannot do with the photos you’re provided. For example, can you use them on your website? Can you put them on your business card? Do you have the right to send off to agencies? What about magazines? What if you are approached by a magazine or advertiser who wants to use (maybe even buy) the photo, do you have the right to sell it? Communicate these questions to the photographer you are working with to make sure you understand the answers. Every single photographer is going to have a different approach and protocol for this.

By taking the time to determine and to communicate the needs and goals of the photo shoot, what output you require and the usage terms of the photos can both save you a lot of time and energy in the future, but also help you return the most possible on your investment in the photo shoots you do.

James Patrick, ACS, ALB

James Patrick is an award-winning photographer, marketing professional, public speaker and writer. He has been published nationally and internationally for his works in the health and fitness industry. His work can be seen and you can subscribe to his blog at as well as listen to his podcast on succeeding in the talent industry at