How to Produce a Photo Shoot

This Generation held its first event at The Wing SoHo in New York City. Vogue's Senior Producer, Danielle Gruberger, spoke on how to produce a shoot.

Photo by Juliet Wolf

01 Production Checklists & Determining Needs

The first step of the production process is filled with questions. Is the shoot in studio or on location? Is production responsible for booking talent and artists? What are the pre-pro, on set, and post production needs? It can be helpful to create a reusable checklist encompassing all potential studio and location shoot needs. The checklist can be beneficial throughout the production process and as a reference for initial discussions to ensure nothing is overlooked.

02 Budgeting & Timelines

Once production needs are clear, breakdown every foreseeable cost into a line itemized estimate. The estimate should be agreed upon and signed before production commences. It is also helpful to create a timeline for all stages of production. Prior to the shoot day, connect with the photographer and wardrobe stylist to determine the number of looks and shot count. Create a shoot day schedule that accounts for prep time, glam, wardrobe, changes between shots, meals for the team, and wrap out.

03 Booking Artists, Talent, & Vendors

Production is responsible for booking shoot vendors including but not limited to studios, caterers, equipment houses, etc. In some cases production is asked asked to book hair stylists, makeup artists and even possibly stylists or photographers. Talent is typically booked through casting directors, but producers are sometimes even asked to handle model and street castings.

04 Streamline Communication

Clear communication throughout the production process is the key to success. Label email chains and keep an eye out that all key parties remain on copy as needed.

05 Call Sheet & Shoot Day Prep

The call sheet includes key shoot information such as location, call times, and team contacts. Using a template and adding team details as they are booked saves time and avoids a last minute scramble for any missing contacts. It can also be helpful to have another pair of eyes look over the call sheet, if possible. Preparing for a shoot may also include purchasing craft services, building a production kit based on the shoot needs, arranging set transfers, etc.

06 On Set Production

On the shoot day, production is always the first to arrive and last to depart. All of the hard work throughout pre-production ideally results in a smooth shoot. Remember that issues can and do arise so when they do, stay calm and remain solution focused. The show always goes on and the way production handles an incident can impact the tone for the rest of the shoot.