Managing Your Next Photoshoot: An Essential Checklist

We create a lot of content for our clients at Action, delivering high quality images and video to create aspirational and dynamic brand assets. But photoshoots can be tricky at short notice. To help you with your next shoot, here is our checklist to ensure you maximise quantity and quality of deliverables, every time.


Create an exact mood board of shots you want to recreate. Use Instagram and Pinterest to build an image map of hero shots and back up shot list. BE PRESCRIPTIVE. It saves you time on the ground. If the shoot is to accompany a press release, look at recent media examples of shots that have been included in your media targets. What is the overriding theme? Probably dynamic, clean and tells the story without the need for a lot of words.

Action PR Epic Shoot


The aesthetic of the kit you put your models in adds to the vibe and tone of the series of images. Think carefully about the atmospheric nature of the shots. We always encourage models to come camera ready with a couple of outfit options: 1 black, 1 colour and ensure you have correct branded kit and materials if the shoot requires it.


Think about whether you need hair and makeup. Clean and fresh looks work best, and if you’re working with a big name, ask if they have a preferred team they like to work with. To keep rates down if you’re on a tight budget, we ask models to come camera ready with clean hair. It also helps if you have someone in your team who can braid if you need a different look! Our staples are glycerine spray for sweat and safety pins to fit tops if needed.

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Branded yoga mats, t-shirts, Swiss balls….what needs to be in shot to create an illusion or frame the image?  Obviously if it’s an editorial shoot, branding needs to be more subtle.


Work with those you know who are quick and capable. The fewer people, the better. If it’s an active shoot, go through their Instagram to get a good idea of what they are capable of, movement-wise. They will know their angles best, so use specific examples from their owned digital properties for the shot list. Involve them in the shoot, tell them where the images are going, show them the mood boards and what you hope to create – then they are on board as part of the team and are more invested to nail the shots.

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If they aren’t a specialist in movement, you need to work with them closely to nail the shots. Ask them to bring additional lighting if necessary if you’re shooting outside or in a dimly lit space. Show them the mood board so they understand the framing and where the image is going [Social media/print] so they know if shots are to be portrait, landscape or square. Ensure they are properly briefed and that you have had a conversation with them personally before the shoot to go through the brief together to highlight any issues or questions in advance.

Check as you go

Get the photographer to show you each shot as you go on the viewfinder, so you can see quickly what looks good and what doesn’t and work quickly to rectify it.

Control the environment

As much as possible. Natural light [or lack of] and public places can be a massive headache. Try and shoot early when public places are most quiet. Also do a reccie of the location beforehand and have a clear idea in your mind where you want certain shots to take place. Don’t forget to ensure you have the appropriate permissions if you are shooting in a public place or park

General Rule

Usually the shots that work are light, bright, centrally focused and dynamic.  If you are shooting yoga for example, elongated poses are better, bridges/crows etc. are too small, visually. And shoot from ground up to give the illusion of scale

Need a hand planning a photoshoot for your brand? Get in touch. Email us at

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