Future Proof your Shoot with a Shot List

Future Proof your Shoot with a Shot List

One of the first questions I ask a prospect is whether they have a shot list or in common man terms, a list of images they wish to capture. That list has numbers ranging from 1 single hero image to hundreds and it varies based on the prospect’s needs. There’s no right or wrong answer to that question. It’s like asking a person what you would like to have for lunch and the answer can vary depending on your mood or diet plans for the day!

What the question however determines is whether the prospect has thought through of the number of images they would like to HAVE vs what they NEED from the shoot. Because let’s get real here, we all would like to HAVE the $$$ to stay in a huge arse house but do we NEED to stay in such a gigantic house where you can’t see from end to end? Well unless you have a bazillion kids running around then I fully understand the need for space without being driven nuts, but for the majority of us, we would get by staying in a decent sized apartment!

That magic number is not something we as photographers can decide for our prospects because I have prospects who just need 1 hero image for festive promotions to others who need 100s for their asset library. If your prospects have no idea what that number is, guide them by asking them questions such as:

Is this a rebranding or new menu or new product launch shoot?

Do you foresee refreshing your menu, lifestyle images in a year or few years time?

How and where would you be using these images?

Be kind and gentle to your prospects as they could be doing this the first time or maybe their last photo shoot was so long ago they couldn’t remember the experience nor much of the process so they are relying on you to HELP and not JUDGE them. They may be confused or unsure of what to expect and in reality they wish the process was simpler and less of a question mark. They must feel very nervous as they can only hope for the best results in terms of loving the images but frankly they are most likely taking a chance on you unless they are your regular clients then that’s a different story altogether.

In simple mathematical terms, more images would simply cost more because more time would be spent on planning, shooting,  editing the images as well as helping the company make more sales. That’s something everybody understands but don’t be fooled into thinking that the fewer images means that you should be reducing your rates. I’ve shot 6 group images as well as 50 individual images in a day and despite the sheer disparity in the number, it still took me the same amount of time shooting it. Obviously the 50 individual images would have more post production time tagged to it but BEWARE of the prospect who tries to down your rates because you are shooting fewer images. Sometimes they know that fewer images don’t necessarily equate less shooting time but they are hoping that you don’t know so don’t get caught out by reducing your rates!

If a prospect is just fixated on how much your rates are whether giving you any information on the shot list or licensing information, you would be like a mouse with blinkers on trying to figure out the way to some cheese but may end up in a mouse trap instead. They may not be keen to hear how licensing works nor agree with the fact that our images are helping them to make sales happen and therefore has a value attached to it. If your prospect is willing to discuss with their team on the shot list and licensing required, then you have a chance at working with a client who understands the value of images and how our images can help to build their brand thereby bringing in sales for them.

I typically request all clients, whether it’s a first time or regular client to fill up my shot list template (free download below) for each shoot. I don’t expect a prospect to fill it up because if they ain’t working with me, their chosen photographer may have a different way of working and that’s totally cool too.

In my shot list template, I’ve more questions and details that really makes the client think through deeper on how they are going to utilise these images. My focus is ensuring that my clients would be able to use these images that we created together to the fullest and not have any REGRETS such as certain angles were not captured, it’s the wrong format or it won’t work for their desired use or channel. It also works as a planning guide as the chefs/crew/team members including myself are all on the same page and execution is smooth as butter on shoot day. With this shot list template, I find that we can complete more variations of each shot, from just 1 to 3-5. As I always say to my clients, you don’t know what you like until you see it and to know what you like, you need to have options and that’s why we have a few variations of each shot. With this shot list template, never fear that you will miss a shot or feel that you are running out of time during a shoot because TRUST me, you will be able to achieve so much more while feeling relaxed and confident during the shoot.

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