Every spring, most high school senior photographers conduct a “spring rep team shoot” to kick off their new team. I want to share my 12 tips on how to conduct a stress free senior rep shoot. With a team of 6 make-up artist, two assistants, a videographer and BTS (behind-the-scenes) photographer, I have to be organized.
(images taken by Ashki Photography of my Street Team spring shoot)
You can too, by taking into consideration these tips.
1 – Timeline:: Give yourself plenty of time to plan your senior rep shoot. I recommend at least 3 – 4 months if possible. It will give you time to plan the theme, contact vendors, and everything else that will pop up. More importantly, set a date for the event.
2 – Theme:: You don’t necessarily have to have a theme, but it will give your team direction and offer an opportunity for you to step out of your comfort zone and get creative. You could involve your team or choose a few topic
s and let them vote. Or just choose it yourself.
3 – Location:: Decide where you want to shoot. Consider if you need to reserve or apply for a permit/permission. Also ask yourself, will the lighting be right for the time you are wanting to shoot? If makeup is done in the morning, will the light still be good at midday? Or if you are starting makeup in the early afternoon, will the light be great in the evening? Just some things to consider.
4 – Vendors:: Decide if you want to partner up with other businesses. This includes your makeup team, hair dressers, stylist and boutiques. Meet up with your vendors to iron out expectations, and clearly discuss how you will share digital images, vendor credit online (for publishing, etc) and compensation. The sooner you contact them, the better.
5 – Pinterest:: I start pinning clothing inspiration according to the theme. This is a great way to share with your team what you are envisioning for the shoot, and you can even add the members to your board. Especially when it comes to clothing inspiration, hair styles and makeup looks, or whatever else inspires me.
6 – Shoot Style:: For a group shoot, I typically have my team come in at the same time to get makeup done. It’s a great way for the team to bond and really get to know each other. You can have planned activities if you want, such as games or even conduct a service project to keep everyone interacting. I totally believe in having food there. It certainly doesn’t have to be catered, but some snacks work just fine (hungry models are not happy models! Provide some protein and water at the least! Check with models for allergens before you serve food). Another option, is to have a staggered shoot. This type of shoot is more for individual head shots. I do this when I am wanting to introduce my team to the world. It also allows me to work with them one on one in a short amount of time just to give them a taste of what it’s like to be in front of the camera. Both work great!
7 – The Logistics:: You might want to ask yourself the following – what type of help will you need? Where will you purchase and serve food, and how will you cool/heat it if required? Do you need assistants? An idea is to involve past senior reps to help out. Involve moms to help too. What type of shoot are you going to do? Group, Individual or both? What type of equipment do you need? I usually rent the 35 mm 1.4 so that I can get large group shots.
8 – Communication:: I like to communicate with my team early on. Especially if the dates are set. I email the parents with the dates (as soon as you know). The next email (6 weeks out), I reveal the theme and a link to the Pinterest board I created. I also explain when my reps have to have their outfit checked off. I also attach a prep checklist so that they begin to get ready for the shoot. This includes nails, eyebrows, etc. This is a great opportunity to get the parents, aka moms involved. Give them a job. Moms love this kind of stuff. They can help with transportation, snacks and helping the reps get ready. If they are providing transportation, be sure to have the reps bring a permission slip with a release of liability clause in it (speak with your attorney on this if you have legal questions). The following email, I relay the final details with a timeline (about 1 month before the shoot). Be sure to state when you are starting, where and what time you think you will be done. I do mention in the beginning of the whole process that this is a one-day deal. I let my reps know that it may be a good time to ask for time off if needed. I send another reminder email about a week before. Of course, I am in constant communication with them in between (when appropriate).
9 – Confirmations:: I typically send out text and emails to confirm vendors, the team and my assistants. I want to make sure we are all on the same page. Do this a month before, a week before and even the day before if needed.
10 – Day of Shoot:: This is important that you are organized leading up to the day of the event. I do a couple of things. For my makeup artist team, I print a sheet with their name at the top. I require my reps to sign in when they get their make up done. This helps me know how much to pay them (I pay per face) and also I can properly give credit when revealing the gallery. I have my assistants take care of social media updates and serve as a runner if needed. Typically, we start in the morning. The reps will come in all at the same time and they start with make up. After they are done, we do any last hair adjustments and then they get into their outfits. They can participate in the games or service project. Once everyone is ready, we head to the location. I start with group shots, the whole group (including silly ones etc.), then smaller groups. After that, I start with individuals. I spend about 10-15 min with each rep. I make sure I get full body, 3/4 length, headshot and action shots. The order I take them is based on who came in the car that got them to the location. You don’t want a mom to be waiting around for the girl who hasn’t gotten her mini session done, when the rest have. Then I wrap it up.
11 – The Gallery:: I want to quickly cull the gallery and get those images in my rep’s hands. After all, I want these images to be shown to their family, friends and peers. I distribute the images social media images, meaning they have my watermark on them via Shootproof and each rep receives a sticky album. They don’t receive the full resolution images until they have purchased certain collections. Of course, you can decide what works best for your business.
12 – Marketing:: Make sure you share these images on everything and everywhere! Create blog posts and a slideshow, update your marketing materials, your senior magazine, welcome packet, website etc. Plaster those images everywhere! Also the day of the shoot, flood your social media platforms with video and behind the scenes stuff. Your audience will love seeing how it all works.
There are many ways to run your rep shoot, but staying organized is important. That will make everyone feel less stressed and make the whole process fun!
Now over to you. Let me know in the comments if you appreciate this post or learned something new.
Have a great week!
PS – Just in case you want to learn how to build a senior rep program, check out “How To Structure Your Senior Rep Program” course.