Behind the Scenes: Planning a Photo Shoot

In July I was finally able to share with you a summer shoot that I had published in Reverie Magazine, so I thought I would start out this rainy Monday by sharing a little of the behind-the-scenes and unpublished images.

I’ve talked a little about location scouting previously, and while sort of an unseen part of the behind-the-scenes details, it’s something that I think is extremely important. For this shoot, I started researching and looking into location several weeks in advance. We shot this in early May, when it really isn’t quite beach season yet and I soon discovered that most beaches weren’t officially open, meaning public transportation was not going out to them at the time. This is a problem for someone, like myself, living in NYC where a car is rarely needed and therefore I don’t own one. The day I originally planned to do the location scouting of Reiss Beach it was freezing cold and raining, not ideal conditions to be checking out a beach location, nevertheless I went out there anyway.

While I didn’t stay long given the weather conditions at the time, I determined that it would work for the shoot. Once the location was set, the next step was figuring out transportation. You can get to Reiss beach via public transportation, taking the train and then transferring to a bus to get out to the beach. However, getting an entire team: models, makeup artist, stylist, etc. out there together and on time, it seemed risky to leave everyone to get out there on their own, so I decided to hire a car service.

With location and transportation out of the way, everything else just has to fall into place. You have to count on your team to show up on time, ready to work. I had to have a last minute switch with a model but other than that, it went pretty well.

I had hoped to shoot a scene on these rocks, unfortunately the tide rose too high before I got to it and they were completely covered by the water.

We got out to the beach around noon I think and wrapped the shoot around 6:30pm. By then it had cooled down considerably. We set up in the grassy park right by the beach. Here you see Liz working on Aliona’s makeup, Veronica trying to stay warm in the background. It was already a little cool that day with a bit of a breeze, not quite summer weather. That’s typical for fashion however, you have to shoot Fall/Winter during the Spring/Summer months when it’s hot outside, and then Spring/Summer must be shot during the cool days of Fall/Winter. Once “on set” I usually let the makeup artist and hair stylist do their thing (having pre-determined usually what the look will be) while I prep my equipment, get in some test shots and do a little more location scouting.

Above is one of the images of Aliona that I decided not to use. I like the image but ultimately decided I wanted to use the photo of the two models together. Sometimes one shoot may take a lot more planning than another, it really depends on how many looks you want to shoot, how much time you have, how ambitious the concept is, etc.

And this image is one of Veronica that I shot a few different ways and ended up using two of the other shots of her in this dress and left this one out.

Hopefully this gives you a little insight into the process of putting a shoot together. Only the basics of course, and as I mentioned, it definitely depends on how large of a production you’re planning, which may require additional planning for extra assistants, etc. And the planning is only the beginning!


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[Location is Key]

About Brandie

I'm a freelance photographer based in Paris.
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5 Responses to Behind the Scenes: Planning a Photo Shoot

  1. astrawally says:

    Thank you for the sneak peak behind the scenes, it is very interesting and always great to learn more on the entire process. I really like the shot veronica, stunning

  2. Pingback: How It Was Done: The Beauty Shoot Edition | Brandie Raasch Photography

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