The Visual Shot List

I have a commercial client who's very particular about the images we capture for their branding. They've spend a lot of time and money figuring out who they are and how to convey that to their customers.

One of the tools that we use to ensure that we work efficiently during our photo sessions is what I call the visual shot list. I think it's a great idea, and you might want to consider it too.

visual-shot-list-1024.jpg My assistant, Leah, reviewing the visual shot list before an important assignment at a salon in San Francisco. Image captured with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Yongnuo 35mm F/2.0 lens.

Here's how it works. The client figures out what type of images they want for a particular shoot. Then they research stock photography (they have an account) to find samples that come as close as possible to their ideas. They build the shot list with pictures and text.

Then, before the shoot, we have a phone conference to discuss the shot list. As a team, we look at the stock photos and talk about how "this comes close, but what we'd like is a little brighter background," and details like that.

If the client doesn't want to build the visual shot list, you can draft one, then review it with them. You'll be surprised at the things you learn during the discussion.

By the time that Leah and I arrive on location, we have an excellent idea about what we have to do and how we're going to do it. The success rate has been very high since using this approach.

I'm a big fan of creating shot lists for all assignments, but the visual shot list takes this concept to new heights.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.