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Photo Shoot :- From planning to execution [Part 1]

Hello and welcome back! How was your mini holiday? I hope you got to shoot and practice with your cameras. I want to apologise for the late post. I was supposed to post this yesterday but I had 2 shoots over the break and lots of work to get done.

I mentioned last week that we would be looking at the process I go through when planning and setting up a photo shoot.
For easy consumption, this post will be divided into 2. Today I’ll talk about the process and tomorrow we’ll go through a call and production sheet of an actual shoot.


I spend lots of time reading, watching movies, visiting museums and galleries, looking through any and everything visual as I love feasting my eyes and my mind. This is probably the most important part for me. It keeps me excited and challenged while also staying in the loop of what is out there and what is not.

You don’t want to spend valuable time planning and executing a shoot only to find out it has already been done; believe me, it can happen.


Ideas can start out from the lyrics of a song, a character in a book or movie, something visual I have seen or from a figment of my imagination. Once I have that, I start to do some in-depth. I read around the subject and more importantly collect pictures or visual ideas that represent what the idea means to me. (This stage is very important to enable visual representation of the idea to the team that will execute the shoot). At this point, I’m gathering images of what I think the location should look like, the hair, the make up, the colours I want, etc.

Once I have a direction for my shoot, I try to pick a date when the shoot will hold and then set a time line to work to. Then I start searching for a team. Hair and make up artist, a stylist, models and an assistant(s) if I’m going to need one.


Putting together a team is always tricky. The right or wrong team can make or break a shoot. If you have people you’ve worked with before and want to call on then that could be good but be sure to continuously try out different teams so your images don’t all look-alike. It’s also a good way to build a list of contacts you can call on at various times.

At this point, things become fluid and I’m doing a few things at the same time; location scouting, hunting for models coming up with lighting diagrams etc. I make sure to always give every member some leeway to express their own creativity.  So while I might show the make up and hair artist visuals of what I imagine I want, I give them time to research and come up with unique and fresh ways of interpreting the brief. I find this process yields great results.


By now I’m in the final stages of what I want the images to be. The idea is all developed, any props have been gathered, styling and make up is all but set and I’ve drawn lighting diagrams and created a shoot list. I sketch or collect images reflecting the poses or compositions of the intended final images so once we’re on set we can set about creating those particular looks. I aim to get the planned images done and then I’m free to experiment.

Be sure to always leave room for surprises and be sure to try for a surprise once you’ve gotten your “safe” shot.


We will look at the production sheet tomorrow. See you then!

Here’s an image from a shoot based on the idea “beauty and time”
I’ve used and kept a lot of the negative space here to represent time and loneliness. The image was created specifically to be viewed as a large wall print.

Time, Beauty and Lonliness

An image from the series "Beauty & Time"

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