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Tips for planning a photoshoot

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Once samples have been approved and it’s all steam ahead for bulk production, a photoshoot will be next on your list so you have everything ready once the bulk order is ready.

Whilst the bulk order is being made it’s good to use this time to get all your marketing materials, website and photoshoots prepared, so when you receive your order you can go live as soon as possible.

But you might be thinking, hang on a second, how can I organise a photoshoot when I haven’t received my bulk order yet? Many people decide to use their pre-production samples for the photoshoot as they will be just like the final product and as per the design - including any branding, trims and in the correct fabric and colours. However, this is not to be confused with prototypes. Here’s a quick rundown of the difference between prototypes and pre-production samples:

Prototypes are an example of the final product. Usually a prototype is made from stock fabrics and trims (not your chosen fabric) so it won’t match the designs exactly. This is purely to get an idea of the fit and how the design looks on a body. Fitting adjustments can then be made accordingly.

Pre-production samples are the second stage of sampling before bulk manufacturing. These samples will be in the correct fabric with all branding and trims (as per the tech pack).

So now you've got your pre-production samples, here’s some tips for organising a photoshoot.

Create a moodboard

The first stage of planning a photoshoot is creating a moodboard. This will help to map out all of your ideas and translate your vision onto paper so that everyone involved in the photoshoot will be on the same page. It’s also a good idea to print this moodboard on the day so that the models and photographers have the vision to refer back to.

Decide what images you will need

There are different types of images you need depending on where you will likely be selling your products. Here are 3 common types of images needed for a clothing brand.

Invisible mannequin shots/product flat images

These images show your product either on a model or flat with a white background (note the model will be photoshopped out of the image leaving just the product - this is helpful to get a sense of the garments' shape ). Usually there will be a front and back view and if needed a side view.

Some retailers require these shots in order for you to sell your products on their platform, as they want to keep their website uniform and the invisible mannequin shot is always the first image used.

E-commerce shots

These images are mainly used for the website to show the product from all angles, including any details and aspects you’d particularly like to highlight. They are usually shot in a studio against a plain or coloured background. The items are really the star here, so it’s best to stay away from using too many accessories etc.

Style/campaign shots

This is where the fun really is! These shots go beyond showing off the product, but trying to convey the brand image and campaign message. Movement from the models and projecting the brand’s personality is key here. Usually these shots are taken on a location or street style that is in line with the brand. These images will also mainly be used for social media, website banners, homepage imagery and for any press related activities.

Choose your location

The location will depend on the type of shots you’re after. When choosing a location, consider the following things:

  • Is there a rail and hangers to hang the clothes?

  • Are there toilet facilities nearby?

  • Are there changing facilities or areas of privacy to change?

  • What is the lighting like? If shooting in the winter consider the amount of daylight hours into your schedule

  • If shooting outside, consider the season you are shooting in and does that match the clothing? For instance if you are shooting you winter campaign make sure there isn’t vibrant blossom trees in the background which are very summery

Cast models

The easiest way to source models is by contacting a modelling agency. They will typically ask for a brief overview of the type of model you’re looking for, then with your budget in mind they will send you a selection of models that are available for the job to select from. You can then organise a fitting to meet the models and check the clothes fit them accordingly for the shoot. Although be prepared you might have to make some adjustments to the clothes by using clips etc, this is normal for any clothing brand as bodies are so unique and different.

Make sure when communicating with the modelling agency to state how long you intend to use the images for and on what platforms, i.e. social media, your own website, retailers websites. Most agencies offer a year's license to use the photos and thereafter you will need to pay to extend the licenses.

If you’d rather not go through the modelling agency route, you could always ask around; ask your friends and family if they know anyone who would be good or even them themselves! Depending on your brand vision sometimes it’s better to use ‘real people’ as customers may respond well to them and resonate more with the brand.

Find a photographer/videographer

Then you need to find a photographer/videographer. It’s always a good idea to check out their portfolio and previous work they have done. Finding someone who has experience shooting clothing would be the ideal situation as there are definitely certain techniques and details involved to get amazing garment shots. Videographers can also be very beneficial, as with social media, video is becoming a very important media outlet. Not only can the customer get more of an idea about how the clothes look and fit, it’s another opportunity to show the brand’s personality and build up their identity.

An important aspect to consider when finding photographers/videographers is the way in which they work. Some photographers charge per hour, some charge per image and many will charge an extra fee for editing. Before going with one photographer, make sure you lay all the terms out on the table so everyone is clear on how many images will be taken/received and how many will be edited etc. Because, as any brand will tell you, by the end of the day there are various footprint marks on the background.

Find a hair/makeup artist

Many people overlook or even forget about organising makeup/hair artists for a shoot, but they can be a vital component (if needed). You could ask the models to come with their hair done and makeup already on, however it might not be to your liking or reflect the right brand image. Therefore hiring a makeup/hair artist is more ideal as you have more control over the finished look and they are on hand to do touch ups throughout the day.

Organise a schedule

Once you've got everyone on board and all the details above sorted it's a good idea to organise a schedule for the day. You might not stick to the schedule 100% but mapping out the day roughly beforehand will make sure you keep on track, as time can run away with itself on shoot days! Also let the models, photographers and makeup artists know when you will be stopping for breaks so they can adjust their own schedule and keep everyone on the same timeline.

With all these tips in mind you'll be set up for an amazing shoot and create some amazing content. Good luck!

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