5 Tips to Art Directing an Amazing Photo Shoot

When working on new personal branding projects, one of the first items on our to-do-list is a professional, well thought out photo shoot. Whether you are building a new website or decide improving your LinkedIn profile for the moment, it is important to have a clean, easily recognizable image. The best way to achieve this on a visual level is by using powerful photos that should truly represent you. But how can you make sure that your photo shoot is a success?

Work with professionals
I am sure you are a professional in your field and you would not be very content if a prospective client would choose an amateur instead of working with you. And it is not because you might lose a client, it is just the certainty that excellent results are based exclusively on qualified work. At KO By Karina Ochis we take a multitude of aspects into consideration. Before every photo shoot we do an extensive team research in order to find an ideal context that should be compatible with the profile of the client. We study gestures and poses, then we build guidelines that should simplify the timeline of the photo shoot. We make sure the general concept is clear for each and every member of the team, from the hairstylist to the photographer itself. Bottom line: everything is well thought out. Below are some of the most important aspects of professional photo shoots.

Have a vision
Great photo shoots have a strong message and – in case of personal branding – the message should be your personal vision. So before scheduling a meeting with your team, you would better sit down and have a serious conversation with yourself. “Who am I?”, “What do I want to achieve?”, “What do I want to transmit?”, “How I am going to inspire others?” or “What are my main strengths?” Your personal traits and vision should reflect in every detail of the photo shoot, from poses to clothing items and props.

Create a mood board
Sketches and inspiration photos are a must at every KO by Karina Ochis photo shoot. A useful mood board should consist of inspiring photos that both client and photographer agree with, make-up, clothing, props and hairstyling ideas. Basically, it should be a highly visual creative brief that outlines the entire shoot and offers some general guidance to the whole team. During photo shoots with clients, I have noticed that a prevalent impediment is the fear of posing and acting natural in front of the camera. This can be very easily solved with the help of the mood board, which should contain exclusively suggestions that the client feels comfortable with.

Maybe you are going to spend one or two days at the actual shoot, but the whole planning process might take weeks. When you enter the studio, the photographer and the art director should already know every detail. The personal branding agency should sketch out the concept for each and every shot. Often, scouting photos should be taken ahead of the final shoot day. This allows the team to check out the best lighting. All this advance planning will turn out very useful on the day of the final shoot.

Expect the unexpected
From the hairstylist getting food poisoning to a sudden change of location, anything could happen on the day of the final shoot. Therefore, having a clearly-structured back-up plan is a very good idea. In case you have to change certain members of the team, the creative brief will be helpful to convey the main ideas of the shooting to someone new.

Focus on team (and time) management
A photo shoot is an exhausting job. Even if you only need very few pictures, it might take hours to obtain the desired results. Therefore you should focus on ways of maintaining the energy levels of your team members as constant as possible. Do not forget to plan breaks and have someone to keep an eye on the clock in case you are short on time. Make sure you do not waste precious minutes on irrelevant conversations – all contradictory discussions should take place before the photo shoot.

Have a clear target
Professional photos are not “just for fun”. They are an important part of your personal brand and should represent an extremely flattering, but still authentic version of yourself. You should be 100% aware of what you are using these photos at – are they meant to be posted on your public Facebook page? Are they for your blog? Are you going to use them for future interviews? The whole photo shoot concept should be adapted according to your objectives, even from a technical point of view. Should you need a new cover photo for Facebook, then you would better take the recommended sizes into consideration. Although retouches can be made by a designer, it is better to have the final result in mind from the day of the shoot already.

Last but not least, do not hesitate to ask for professional help. It is not easy to gather a whole team together, especially when you have other daily tasks to focus on. At KO By Karina Ochis, we are ready to offer you a complete range of photo shooting services – you just have to contact us at office@kobykarinaochis.com!