What to expect from a photo shoot

This week we will look into what to expect from a photo shoot.

Everyone needs an outcome from a photo shoot, especially in the portfolio building phase. The outcome from a paid shoot is quite easy; cash for the model and styling team and a sell-able image for the photographer. An unpaid shoot is a slightly different matter, and more of a negotiation.

Some terms that you need to be aware of if you aren’t already is TFP (time for prints) or TFCD (time for CD). This is sometimes called ‘time for’ too.

With TFP shoots there are several issues that you need to cover as a model.

  1. Where is the venue? Is it a studio, or a dreary bedroom with a sheet hung up for a backdrop? Think about it, what is going to be safer and more professional. Are you really going to get a good shoot from the latter?
  2. What experience does the photographer have? Do they have experience in your chosen subject? A fashion photographer isn’t necessarily a good nude photographer.
  3. How long will the shoot be?
  4. Lights – we will cover this in a later post, but lights and correct creative lighting really make a shot, even outdoors on a sunny day – see the shot below. Will the photographer use them?Fashion shoot advice
  5. What will the outcome of the shoot be – will you get a CD with images on?
  6. Will there be any prints or something like a photobook?
  7. How many shots will I get?
  8. When will I get them?
An example of a how creative lighting can make a sunny day seem like a night shot. This shot was taken at midday on a sunny day on location. The light that you see on the wall is from an orange filter on the flashgun.







There are a couple of contentious areas that need to be covered. I don’t mind paying for travelling expenses if I feel that the shoot is adding value to my portfolio. I have also supplied photobooks for models. I do know a lot of photographers that get quite angry when asked if they will cover travel expenses.

Let me explain why and maybe this will help you to understand.

The photographer has invested in many £1000′s of kit. Also, after the shoot to produce top class shots there is a certain amount of post-editing or post-production. This can involve retouching, creating effects and saving the shots down into the relevant format. Most photographers actually put another 3-5 hours minimum work in after you have finished the shoot to get the final shots. This is one of the reasons you may get some negativity when asking the photographer to pay your expenses.

What is a reasonable amount of shots?

I am quite strict with what goes into my shortlist. I never count, but on a 4-hour shoot I will end up with about 30 shots in my shortlist.

As a minimum on a TFP or TFCD I would say that 15-30 shots is a good amount. Any more than that probably won’t be post processed to a very good level. We will cover retouching in another post.

This is from a recent shoot. Abi had 19 shortlisted images in a 4 hour City location shoot.


Outfit changes/hair changes

Remember that you may have other stakeholders in the shoot other than the photographer and the model. You might have a hair stylist, make up artist and also using clothes from a shop or agency. Everyone will want their own piece of the action so make sure that this is discussed pre-shoot.

In a 4 hour shoot you can do 4 outfits easily. Any more starts to eat into your shooting time and also changes in hair and make up have the same effect. Try and plan your changes beforehand.

A 2 hour shoot with a hair stylist and 4 outfits is not really possible to create something special for you.





The creative shoot

This shot was over an hour in hair and make up and I had a single frame where the smoke was just enough not to cover Jess, but not too early where there was not enough. 1 hour set up for a 1/500th of a second shot!

The shots above are pretty standard fashion shots. For a more creative set up you will need more planning and in turn you will end up with less shooting time and less shortlisted shots. An extravagant theme like the shot on the right can take some time to put together.


In the next post from me we will cover lighting and the importance of good lighting. On my next shoot I will show a before and after of normal lights and then using studio lights.


I am meeting with Jess, Moda’s hair stylist, tomorrow and hopefully our new make up artist. One of the subjects we are discussing is hair and make up advice. Watch our for their first post soon!!



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