Photoshoots and my learnings

7:05 AM

Wow we have moved to 2016...time has a pace that noone can match. Specially not people like me who like to soak the sun and daydream. Anyone else out there? But 2015 was different, it gave me a new direction, a new dream.

We have always read about following your heart. But many times the heart is as lost as the mind. And for many of the mums who left their corporate life at the threshold of motherhood, this might be a familiar territory. Of loosing their own self in the demands of kids, family and home. The same was my story too. And I used baking & blogging to pursue my interests and to create my little world of creativity and passion. Blogging has given me a lot, apart from a hobby. It gave me lot of friends, numerous interesting events, umpteen yummy dishes and it introduced me to something new - photography. A passion, which grew over the years and made me a better blogger. Till last year, when I ventured into it professionally.

After over a dozen of such family/kids/party shoots in last few months professionally, I'm still a beginner, who is trying to create her space & style. But the important thing is that the journey has started. And like anything which is unfamiliar or new, it gets daunting & overwhelming at times. So I thought it would be good to keep making notes of my learnings & observation after every shoot. And today I want to share them with you....who knows when it might be useful to someone.

So here's my top learnings/some pointers for any of you looking to venture in the trade. Please note that its not a technical post nor do I claim to be a pro. But a glimpse of my learning...

1. Set the expectations right - This is of critical importance to understand, discuss and agree on all aspects of the shoot, like:
  • Duration of shoot -  (whether you are particular that 2 hours is 2 or max 2 hr 15 mins). Else someone might be free to expect you to stretch to 2.5 hr. Is that fine with you? So be specific for the duration
  • No of shots - whether you are going to give only 'x' number of edited pics of or going to share 'y' number of unedited pics as well. At least a good range should be decided upon. I have experienced that with a birthday party of same duration of 2 hour, some clients have been happy with 80-100 pics, which covered it all; while other client expected nothing less than 500. Of course I had to politely refuse that client, since I wouldn't have liked my quality of image to be compromised by capturing only quantity. 
  • Location/Props/ Clothes
  • Style/ Kind of shots - Apart from location, which I'm sure would be agreed upon, the style of shots should also be well discussed. Whether its fun style, or posed portrait or a candid shoot...share enough references with client to make them aware of your shoot plan. And for this pinterest is your best friend.
  • Delivery timeline
  • Permission to share on your social accounts/website - Don't forget to get a written/email confirmation of the same
  • Payment date & mode 
Be as detailed & specific in your communication as you can be, and it will save a lot of pain later.

2. Make a shoot plan - Once you have it all sorted with the client, then make your own shoot plan. Even if its for a quick family portrait shoot. Plan the sequence you want to do, for eg. - first group, then individual, then 2nd group in 2nd location/dress change. This helps me firstly to plan it in my head how to compose the shot, which lens to use, and how to use the lighting as per the location. Also if a small child is there, its a good idea to get the group shot quickly when he is happy & rested, and then to move to couple shots when he is napping. And of course the basic flow needs inputs from clients to know their dress change or kids schedule. 

3  3. Review your shots This might be a very obvious one, but in the flow of covering the event or family photoshoot, I myself am guilty of not doing enough of this. And that is - Click. Review. Retake. Once you review immediately, you would either find something that is totally wrong or something that can be improved. Like a blurry shot, or low lighting or eye blink....could be anything. But you can fix it there than to regret it later.

4  4. Change your angle - I'm discovering how much wonder a change of angle can do. Again an obvious tip, but only when you put it in practice you will notice the difference. It will make the mundane more interesting, like this one.

6  5.  Have fun - Don’t forget to get some fun, unique shots to make the most of the shoot. I can bet that would be the best of the lot and make the experience memorable.


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