If you've ever come across high-quality shots that left your jaw dropped in absolute awe, you might be wondering how the photographer achieved such remarkable shots. Truth be told, beautiful and high-quality images don't just happen. They require paying attention to detail and having good imagination skills. More than anything else, they require proper planning.
There are various ways to plan and prepare for a photo shoot. These include breaking down your script, knowing the perfect time for the shot, understanding the objective of your photoshoot, using the right website and application, and so much more.
There are literally countless websites and apps available for planning your shoot. Some are available for free, while others require a fee to access their rich library of resources. Depending on the level of professionalism you're looking to get, you can decide whether or not to pay for premium membership.
Typically, these apps and websites will have similar features with only a few differences in their tools. As a result, the planning process looks quite identical, and the choice of app or software depends mainly on individual preferences. To plan your shoot, the following are the steps to take.
1. Organise the project
You may have the details of your project scattered throughout various folders. Whether it's a personal, a product, or a company shoot, it's essential to organise your project and get your ideas together. You can create a folder or board in your app or website and label it accordingly. Bring in all necessary materials that will help you achieve your photoshoot goals into the folder or board.
2. Define your goals
What do you want to achieve with the final result? What idea do you love to communicate with your shoot? You need to understand the overall goal to plan your shoot properly. Suppose you wish to communicate friendliness and cheerfulness with your photos; it wouldn't make sense to use any element that communicates fierceness or hostility.
Defining your goals helps you cut off irrelevant design resources and converges your thinking. Here, you also need to define your target audience as part of defining your goals. The general objective of any shoot is to resonate with the audience and appeal to them.
Once you know who'd be viewing your images, you're on your way to making something perfect.
3. Create a moodboard
A moodboard is simply a collection of various photos that have similar goals as your intended shoot. Moodboards help you get clear visual directions and solidify your imagination.
You can see how certain elements make other photos work and decide which of them you need to incorporate into your shoot. Perhaps you love the lighting or camera angle idea in one of your moodboard items; you can adopt the same with some little extra touches.
For photographers who love inspiration, moodboards is the perfect way to bring your inspiration together. You can use Instagram or 500px to discover new ideas including locations, best times, and so on. You can as well use google earth to get perfect locations and backgrounds.
Moodboards will help you to determine which time of the day will be perfect for your shoot and how to go about it. Most photographers prefer to shoot in golden hours or sunset since these times give amazing colours. Website like photoephemeris.com will help you to get information about the golden hours, milky way location and date, and some other relevant information.
If you're an iPhone or iPad user, the app Photopills will give you virtually the same information as photoephemeris.com.
Another very useful app is Sol. The app gives you details on sunrise, sunset, civil dusk time, astronomical dusk, etc
4. Follow your shot list
Photoshooting can be a daunting task, especially if you'd be capturing humans. It's easy to forget some important shots or background elements, and that can impact the quality of your results.
Keep a shot list of the photos you (ad your client) want to capture, and tick off each one as you progress. This way, you'd be sure not to leave any stone unturned.
5. Review and refine your shoots
After capturing all the required shots, you then need to review each one. Decide which one will be useful for the project and which ones will not be.
Afterwards, refine your shoots in any photo editing app or website and include texts, merge images, and any other final touches. Your shoot is sure to come out perfect, just the way you want it.
Planning your shoot ahead can save a great deal of your time and resources. Instead of going the "trial and error" way, you know exactly what to do and that gives you a sense of direction with the task before you.