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February 12, 2021 —

How to prepare for a product photoshoot with a photographer

Good photography is essential element of running any small business. If you've never worked alongside a professional photographer before, here are some top tips on how to prepare for your photoshoot to get the best results
Nuraan Ackers
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We recently shared a list of 25 UK photographers available to help small businesses with their product and lifestyle photography. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – great photography should be one of your top priorities as a business owner – especially if you rely heavily on online sales and promotion.

So, you’ve booked a shoot with a professional photographer – what now?! Sit back and wait for the day to come? No, I’m afraid there’s a little bit work that needs to happen in preparation for your shoot!

Photographer Nuraan Ackers is here to share her advice about how to best prepare for your shoot so that you get the most out of it….

preparing for a professional photoshoot
Prepping for a professional photoshoot

The very first thing you must consider ahead of your professional shoot is understanding how you want your brand and products to be perceived. Putting in the time and resources to create a cohesive brief is essential for ensuring a smooth photoshoot.

As a photographer, when working with new clients, I always send a questionnaire designed to gather all the information I need for the creative brief.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Know your brand and style

Before you even consider professional photos, you need to know your brand, your target audience and your brand message. Ask yourself who your brand is speaking to and what would attract them visually?

Photography speaks to a particular lifestyle and this should align with your brand. Translate your brand identity into how you want your photos taken and what that end result should look like. At the very least, photographers will need to know your brand colours, aesthetic and audience.

briefing a photographer for your brand photoshoot

Create a shot list

Before you start thinking about the photos you want, make a list of all the products you need photographed and all the shots you might need. If you need website images, do you need a banner image too?  How many images do you need per product? Think about the orientation of the images too – do you need them to be landscape, square or portrait?

Creating an itemised list of all your products and the type and number of photos you need per product ensures you receive everything you need from your photographer and avoids any unnecessary re-shoots.

I usually send my clients a shot list template and this also works as my checklist while I am shooting.

Canva mood board. Images sourced from Pinterest
Canva mood board. Images sourced from Pinterest
Keynote mood board. Images sourced from Pinterest
Keynote mood board. Images sourced from Pinterest

Create a mood board

Once you know which shots you need, it’s time to find some inspiration and create a mood board. Here’s a few tips for bringing this together:

  • If you already have an idea of some shots you want, or have any reference images, make a note and save them.
  • For ideas and inspiration, have a look at your photographer’s portfolio, or do some research to gather some imagery that you love. I usually recommend that clients create a Pinterest board with images they feel align with their brand.
  • Pay attention to things like brand colours, textures, lighting and styling.
  • Besides Pinterest, you can use an app like Canva, which has built-in mood board templates, or simply paste your images into Microsoft Word or KeyNote.
  •  If you need some more inspiration I have a selection of boards on Pinterest by product category here.
Planning props for a product photoshoot
Sourcing props for a product photoshoot

Plan out a prop list and budget

Have a rough idea of the props you want and don’t want in your photos. Ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend. Do you want a marble background or a seamless backdrop of a particular colour? Do you want plants in your photos, or is that a complete no-no? Sharing this ahead of time and having a budget in mind makes it a lot easier for your photographer to select and purchase props. The more specific you can be, the better.

Preparing for a product photoshoot

Prepare your products

Lastly, prepare your products. Since most photographers are shooting remotely at the moment, you want to make sure you’ve worked out exactly which products to send. Sending multiple of each product, where possible, is always recommended and it’s best to always send clean, unused products for the best results. Package your products securely and post with tracking.

With these tips, a rough shot list and mood board, you will be way ahead of the game and your photographer will be able fill in the rest and plan your shoot!

Thank you Nuraan! If you are yet to consider using a professional photographer for your product / lifestyle photography, then I urge you to start chatting to some of the photographers on our list, get some prices and start taking your visual branding to the next level!

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