Photography Shotlist Template
Build a successful, workable photography shotlist with a simple template.
How to create an effective photography shotlist. Over the years I’ve been privy to a large mixture of shotlists. Ranging from overly complex to overly simple. I’ve created this workable template, so you can make sure your project has the best use of time on set with your photographer, (or for your client if you’re a creative). The list is pretty simple, and I’ve included explanations below. If you’re a veteran photographer, the below descriptions will be apparent, so enjoy the day and stay creative, and go ahead and download from this link below!
If you’re still with me here, that’s awesome, lets get you started and teach you a simple, yet effective way to manage your shoot. The key to a good shoot is making sure you have a workable shotlist. This isn’t a schedule, I highly recommend separating them, as clients who parsed out location times and shots got much better results as we weren’t always focused on staying aligned with the clock. The shoot day is fluid helter-skelter, and the times can fluctuate; as the project manager you can adjust on the fly while keeping your photographer focused on creating solid media for your brand.
Here’s the main data that a photographer needs to make the shoot happen, if you haven’t already click the above link and open the PDF in a new window, you’ll notice it’s a very simple document, so it should fit most needs.
Self explanatory, this gives each shot a number. NOTE: This doesn’t mean you’ll only get one of this shot, photographers will work with the talent, location to get the shot you need based on your description (more of that below).
This outlines where you want the shoot to be. If you’re a large building, the floor number, office, sector etc. We’ve been in Hospitals where there are numerous waiting rooms etc, so make sure to be specific here. If you have entrusted the location to the photographer leave this empty. We have had some open ended suggestions for shots like “somewhere industrial” or “modern cafe”, this is good, but it might be wise to help find the right location for your brand.
Who’s in front of the camera. If you are using employees, models, friends or volon-tolds, the photographer needs to know who’s getting photographed. This is a very large choice for your brand as they will REPRESENT your brand. I’ll be going into a deep dive on this soon, so for now we’ll keep it as the person or creature (le woof) who’s reppin’ your brand. I like to add an easy to connect phone number to this, so you can have quick easy access to find out where the hell Brian is when he’s not at his call time.
People in front of camera is great, but if your security guy looks like he just got out of a rave concert probably won’t sell the image. Make sure the wardrobe is prepped ahead of time, this is primarily to let the photographer know what they should be wearing… That way they can suggest the doctor get a lab coat on to cover their Meatloaf Tee. This section is good for stylists too.
Make-up and hair is a time consuming business. Make sure you note specifics here. If you need the talent to look authentic, stylish, modern etc, this is a great spot to note any style based choices.
Describing the shot you need. This can be as simple as keywords (HAPPY, ENERGETIC, FUN), or as detailed as you like.
“Family enjoying a meal while interacting with server”.
“Boyfriend being made fun of by Boyfriend while he misses his ax throws”.
“Mother of 2 tries to focus on paying for groceries while kids play up”.
“Lifestyle shot of athlete relaxing with her freshly made juice, wearing post-workout gear, messy hair and big smiles”.
This will direct the shot to what you need. Being specific (I know, I know; take a drink for each time I say specific) is the key to getting the images that you need. Simply saying “employee interacting with client” isn’t the same as saying “Employee helping client pick the right cat deterrent for his family”. Notice how the product could get overlooked in the first one.
Here’s where you put anything pertinent to the shoot from the photographer’s angle.
“Tony loves the camera, but we really need Natalie to shine in this shot”.
“The next 3 shots (Shots 12-15), feature a core product [insert product name here] that are focused on. Please grab some static product, in environment, as well as the description too”.
The notes here can often compliment everything else, this is where you can push a specific point, something that might get overlooked or you add on as a “would be nice”. Don’t go overboard and cram. Your photographer can’t get a years worth of media created in 5 hrs, so don’t force too many extras, if they’re super important… Add them in as a separate item. We’ve ended up on set for an extra day because the shotlist was just too long, so be aware of this too. You also want to compliment this shotlist with a schedule (as I mentioned above), this allows you to be realistic for the shots.
Closing notes for the shotlist. This is a simple shotlist. If you’re looking for more information on the pre-production check out this post here. If this shotlist was useful, I’d love to hear from you. Like, follow, etc on instagram, Facebook, shoot me an email. Building a brand can be daunting. Hopefully this post gives you clarity on the importance of groundwork for the imagery that you present to your target audience. Cheers, and happy brand building. Ash.