Oh shoot! 5 tips for photo shoot success by
Matt Cullen

April 16, 2014


On site at Breakfast Point location shoot, 2012.
Sometimes going the extra mile and actually starring in the shots is necessary too 🙂

“It’s always exciting embarking on a lifestyle shoot, as it’s the realisation of all of your hard work in the conceptual stages of a project.” says Metropolis designer Rhiannon ‘Nan’ Folpp.  Having directed quite a few shoots lately, we asked Nan to share 5 tips of wisdom for success on a photo shoot.



When planning a shoot, it is important to have a strong desire to create original and striking images that encapsulate the feeling of the development and surrounding areas. Art directing the ‘cheese’ factor out of the setups is also big on the agenda.

Creating unique images for a project means the relevance of the shoot will outlast any generic stock shot – achieving standout and a sense of brand ownership and awareness. Each shoot is different, stylistically and in terms of subject.

However, ensuring you have strong stylistic references at the beginning of the project means treatment of the shots will create the right tone for your product. Obtaining a timeless quality about your images will elevate the brand. This can be achieved in camera when on location as well as in post production, ensuring that the images look like a set. Working closely with the photographer and producer to achieve the right level of grading makes all the difference to the final images.


Collaborating with the producer, account manager and client to create a breakdown of specific locations and a shot list, means you’ve got a well thought out and achievable order for the shoot, that everyone agrees upon upfront.


Selecting the right photographer, with a similar folio to your shot reference, will ensure the perfect match and more relevant imagery.

And of course, labouring over the right talent is always a good way to while away the day. Selecting the right type of model to suit your targeted demographic, is key in achieving believable and authentic images.

More planning

From here, pre-production meetings between the creative and the photographer and producer allow everyone involved with the shoot to be on board with the order of the day and for a call sheet to start to form. Pre-production meetings also bring the entire team together, creating a general sense of collaboration, appreciation and understanding.

On the day

When on-site, it’s important to let the photographer do his/her job. They have a natural eye for what looks good through the lens and it’s vital to trust in their ability when shooting. Of course, getting those hero shots that have been agreed upon is part of your job and the reason you are on location. So, whilst being organic on the day is a good thing, it’s important to remember there is also a specific shot list to be achieved. It’s a fine balance between structured shooting and free form.


Above all, it’s important to enjoy the experience and encourage the client to come along and watch the transformation of initial concepts into reality.

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