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6 Questions to ask when developing a shot list.

Whether you are a marketing professional, a creative director or photographer and working on photography for a website, social media, marketing campaign, magazine or any other type of media, you will need to develop a shot. This shot list will do many things to help your project be successful. Below we answer 6 questions that you should ask yourself when starting any photography project. These questions will give you the base to capture the exact shots you require in an efficient manner and keep you on track to creating photos that will be GREAT, instead of just OK.

Who is your audience?

This is probably one of the most important questions when figuring out a shot list. Asking yourself, who will be consuming these photos and how will it affect them? It will lead you into figuring out how many photos you may need, what the style is and even what the tone of the photos will be in the end. You wouldn't try to photograph something for a retirement community the same way you would photograph for concert venue and finding a photographer that specializes in one or the other will most likely help you to get to that tone you are looking for quicker.

How will you use the photos?

Thinking ahead to how these photos will be used for final output will help figure out the orientation will be best to have them photographed. For example, you would take a horizontal photograph for a Facebook header image but need a vertical photograph for the cover of a magazine. Also, social media sizes are all over the place with Instagram being very limiting in size and dimension constraints. Also, will the photos be shown clean or will they have graphics placed over top of them? Also, will the images be printed or found online? That will help determine how large the final output of the photos will be and give you a guide on how much you may be able to crop the photos if need be.

What is the orientation of how each photo will be used?

Knowing the orientation of the final photo output helps to make sure that the needed photo isn't cropped too much. Will it be placed horizontally in an open space with text overlay, will it be posted on Instagram which is square, or how about a vertical magazine cover? This will ensure you have the most pixels for the sharpest image possible in your final destination. It also helps to give a vision to your shoot and creating details around the subject of your photo for background details that may look best during your shoot.

What design elements will be incorporated in the final designs?

Understanding design elements for the final design and how they will be placed over and around your images will help to determine if you can have a clean background or if it can be a bit more cluttered. It will also give your photographer an idea on how they can light the background. Will a brighter or darker background be more impactful to any design elements that might be placed overtop of the image or will the image stand alone and will it possibly not matter if there is negative space for design.

Do you need to consider being consistent with previous assets?

If you have previous assets that you've been using or will continue to use, will you need to keep your new photography or videography in a similar lighting, tone, look and feel and creativity or can you move on and think outside the box for a new look? If you need to stay within a look and feel, understanding how the lighting and creativity was previously achieved is very important to creating similar assets in the future.

How do you identify photo groupings to make for an efficient shoot?

Figuring out how to group similar photos to make for an efficient photoshoot can be tricky. The best way to figure this out is to understand the least moves needed by the photographer, not necessarily what products you think are the most similar to shoot. For instance, if you are planning to photograph products on a clean background and would like a picture of them from the side as well as an overhead with some other props styled around, it would be much easier to photograph all products from the side first and then come back and photograph everything from overhead next. The reason is because the photographer will more than likely need to change lighting angles and will definitely need to change where the camera is positioned. Moving all of this equipment is time consuming and changing any lights and camera angles will make for inconsistencies in your product photos from one to the next. So, think about grouping things per set up, instead of per product. When you do this, the photographer can sometimes squeeze out an additional few photos in each set up anyway which will give you some extra photos instead of worrying about moving lights back and forth that takes up a lot of time you could be using for styling your photos and getting other angles.

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