How a photo shoot happens on the streets of NYC from start to finish

Apr 13, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How a photo shoot happens on the streets of NYC from start to finish

Apr 13, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Watch and learn as fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski takes us on a journey from concept to completion of a photo shoot on the streets of New York City.

While the video does build on the foundation of a magazine shoot, almost all of the tips and suggestions mentioned can apply to pretty much any session you might shoot, whether it’s a commission for a client, a personal project with friends, or a professional collaboration to pad your respective portfolios.

YouTube video

Beginning with creating a basic concept for the shoot, figuring out the story you want to tell, and how it can evolve and change as things progress, Alexi talks us through the basics of how to research ideas and inspiration.

Is your shoot going to be in the studio or on location?  Is it just one subject or several?  What equipment will you need?  Do you need a dozen lights, or just one?

I take up to about 8 lights out with me when I do a location shoot, but I rarely use more than one or two, along with the sun.  Planning your location out in advance, and scouting it if possible, will allow you to more easily determine what gear you’ll need on the day.

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You’ll also want to make sure to check over that gear beforehand, possibly several times, to ensure that everything is ready to go.  There’s nothing worse than showing up to a location to find that half your batteries are flat, you’ve ran out of memory cards, or you’ve left a vital piece of equipment at home.

Creating checklists can be a valuable aid in making sure you and your equipment are fully prepared before a shoot.

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Will you require assistants, stylists, make-up artists, hair stylists, set builders or other crew?

Make sure to keep your subjects and any crew you have happy.  Treat them with the respect they deserve.  They are all there to help you create the best possible images that you can.

Also make sure to keep them fed, and keep their energy levels up.  A tired and hungry crew isn’t going to help anything.

I usually end up taking far too much food and munchies on my own shoots, but anything left over at the end just means more for me. :)

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Alexi packs a lot of information into this 13 minute video, but the message throughout is consistent.

Planning things out in advance and showing respect to those with whom you work are key to a successful photo shoot.  Planning won’t always guarantee one, but not doing so will often result in images you’re less than satisfied with once you get back and look over them on the computer.

I don’t shoot anything even vaguely resembling fashion, but I shoot often on location and I apply much of the advice Alexi mentions to my own shoots, so the video is definitely worth a watch, even if fashion isn’t your thing.

What other tips do you have for planning a photo shoot that aren’t mentioned in the video?  Let us know in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “How a photo shoot happens on the streets of NYC from start to finish”

  1. Robin Avatar
    Robin

    A lot of talk and no shoot.