How to set up your very first branding photoshoot
10 things you need to know about organising your first product range shoot
The questions I get asked here at Inside Stylists HQ are a bit like buses. You don’t get any and then you get the exact same one three times within a few days of each other. Last week it was from brands who really want to up their game, stop using Danny from accounts to take their promotional shots and get a real shoot set up with stylists and photographers and good lighting! Brands want a professional photo shoot that will be picked up by magazines and to have a good selection of images that showcase their new ranges for social media.
And that’s where we come in!
Inside Stylists is jam-packed full of interior stylists, interior writers and style assistants who are experienced in exactly what you want to achieve so it makes sense for us to explain exactly how shoots work from the very beginning of the process.
Here are the 10 things you need to know to set up your photo shoot.
1. You need to know exactly what you’re going to shoot
Of course, you know what the exciting, brand spanking new products are but before you set up your photoshoot you need to have the samples ready? Do you have 100 new products but only want to shoot for two days? Have you got an edited choice of the hero products you want to get shots of – or can some items be shot together? Get clear on exactly what you want to shoot.
2. Shots to consider
Have you thought about what size shots you want to create? How you want them to look? What feel the shots need to have? Once you know exactly what the shots are for you can put a brief in place and share it with the interior stylist.
Things to consider are: do you need images for your website, the layout of your commercial brochure, advertising, social media posts, do you need stop motion or video content?
How many images do you need? This all affects how many shoot days you’ll need to book.
3. First hire a stylist
An interior stylist’s job is to make sure your products are the hero in each and every inspirational shot. We come up with the concept for your shoot, plan the shots, create mood boards, sketch out ideas so you can see our vision for you, get the props, book the team – the assistants, set builders and couriers. We organise logistics and generally make sure everything on your shoot runs smoothly and looks fantastic on the day and afterwards deal with the returns.
Which Interior Stylist you chose can depend on a number of things. Where you are, what you’re shooting, how big the shoot is. Have a look at the profile pages for Interior Stylists on Inside Stylists here and you can see which brands and magazine’s they’ve styled for, what they’re all about and see examples of their work. Once you find someone you think is a good fit give them a call. We’re a very friendly bunch.
Interior Stylists train for an average of two to three years before they lead their own shoots. That should help to understand why it’s a learned profession and not just making an interior look good.
If you want to know more about why hiring an interior stylist is a good idea then have a read of this feature. It explains why styling your own shoot isn’t as good an idea as you might think.
4. Book a photographer
Once you have a stylist booked you’ll need to get a photographer lined up. Experienced stylists will have a few photographers they like to work with – we call them our work husbands/wives as we work with them a lot! Getting a team who have worked together before is always a good idea as the shoot will flow smoothly.
If you have a specific photographer in mind stylists will be more than happy to work with someone new, if not ask your stylist for a recommendation. There are a lot of amazing interior photographers out there with stunning portfolio websites to look at. When choosing you should specifically look at the photographer’s experience, style and lighting.
5. Where are you going to shoot?
Next on the to book list is a shoot location. There are literally hundreds out there. Do you need big rooms with panelled walls or a real home with plenty of furniture to shoot on? Maybe you need plenty of options for an outdoor area. The location for a shoot will make or break the shots. Have a look at location websites to find the perfect one or again ask your interior stylist for recommendations. We’ve literally shot in hundreds.
You can see shoot locations on InsideStylists.com here
6. What’s your props budget
Keep in mind that if you want a specific look for your shots you’ll need to hire props. Prop houses have pretty much everything you’d find in a home available to hire. For a general idea of hire costs it’s around 10% of the purchase value of the item plus VAT /9to hire for one week – which is the minimum loan time.)
Not everything you need for the shoot will be available from the prop house so there will still be items that need to purchased – food, flowers, plants and specifically requested items for your styled vision.
Stylists will need to receive the props budget before they start any work. They don’t purchase the props with their own money so be ready for a props advance invoice. This is why you need to have a good idea of what your props budget is. If you have no clue you can ask the stylist for a guide to this. They’ll have a good idea of what it will cost to buy items on the props list but hiring can be a ‘how long’s a piece of string situation’. Hiring an Ercol chair can cost £50 per chair but a vintage cafe chair might be £12. It all depends on the style. It can add up.
Another note on prop hire is that the stylist will pull together all the props for your shoot and the hire venue will create a hire list. This will need to be paid for prior to being collected for your shoot. Just a good thing to be aware of.
7. How are you getting everything from A-B?
When it comes to getting everything from your product store cupboard, the prop house, and the props that the stylist has bought to the shoot location and then be returned again – you’re going to need to book a courier.
I would always recommend booking a shoot courier who is used to picking up a lot of boxes, in general, has two people to help load and unload the van and has plenty of blankets and straps to keep valuables safe in their vans.
Shoot couriers know what they’re doing and are a lot more careful than a regular delivery courier. They know the score, arrive with a smile and always help lift and carry props. They’re an essential part of the team.
8. Do you need to hire models?
If you want people or dare I say it … kids, in your shoot think long and hard about using friends and family in your shots. Now, I’m not saying they aren’t good looking enough. I’m sure they are, but shooting can be slow and maintaining a believable smile and sitting in the same position or posing as directed by the photographer for a long time is best left to the professionals.
This is never more true than when it comes to kids. Get the right model agency kid and you’ll get the best shots. It’s an added expense but one that’s worth it in the long run as you’ll get the shots. No amount of chocolate bribery will get a friend’s kid to smile when they just don’t want to.
9. What’s my shoot going to cost?
It’s almost impossible to say as stylists, photographers, assistants and location houses all charge different rates.
10. Where can I get help with setting up my shoot
Once you book an experienced interior stylist they will be able to advise on your shoot and getting a team together.
If you want Inside Stylists to help set up your shoot and pair you up with everyone you need just let us know.
You can also check out our Insider’s Studio for smaller shoots. We’re here to help.
So there you have it. A brief explanation of what’s involved with setting up your first shoot. I really hope it helps but if you need more help there’s a ton of stylists here to book and advise and you can always book the Insider’s studio if you want to get cracking on with your shoot right away.