When I am asked what the most important part of setting up a shoot is, I always say “communication.” As far as I’m concerned, nothing can be more frustrating during the preparation, actual shooting, or post shoot than poor communication. Everyone ends up confused, it can contribute to the evil drama, and is simply not in any way helpful to anyone in the industry.
Good communication is more helpful than you can ever imagine until you start doing it. And it doesn’t have to be time consuming, which seems to be a common concern for many people. It might be as simple as one or two extra messages or e-mails before a shoot. When I am booking a shoot with someone who doesn’t know me I like to send them a little confirmation message. I cover things like:
- the date, time and location of the shoot
- what I’ll be bringing (wardrobe, props, etc)
- hair and make-up
- recap the concepts we’ll be shooting if there’s more than one or two (for example maybe we’ve talked about fine art, boudoir, and then doing some fashion stuff as well)
- my phone number (it’s very important to exchange numbers)
Sometimes I also add in a short bit about how my nails will be done, personal grooming (if relevant), and any other concerns I might have. Anything I can do to eliminate confusion, especially on common issues, I will try to cover.
Another very important thing to communicate about is the products of the shoot, particularly if you have specific expectations. A few things you may want to discuss are the number of photos you will receive, how will the photos be delivered, how long does the photographer expect they will need before they can deliver photos, etc. Many photographers will give this information on their profiles or in initial messages, if not, it should perfectly acceptable for you to ask prior to the shoot. And please do ask before the shoot if this is a concern or if you have any questions.
Communication after the shoot can be important too. I also try to either tag the person/people I worked with (on MM) or send them a message within a couple days of the shoot. I thank them for being part of the shoot and I try to add in something personal (versus just a cut and paste response).
Models, if you’d like to check in on your photos after a week or so, you can send a nice, upbeat message saying again how much you enjoyed the shoot and that you can’t wait to see the photos. Don’t be pushy, be friendly. I takes a while even to do simple work on just a few photos. And chances are yours wasn’t the only photo shoot they have to edit.
Obviously, all models & photographers are different and some of us like to communicate more than others. Some people like to keep it short and sweet, some (like me) prefer to discuss things to make sure the details are covered.
I have found that communication is what has separated me from some other models. It has also often separated the good photographers I’ve worked with from the great ones.