Don’t know the area? Need  to deliver a killer photo shoot? Here’s how.

Not all photo shoots you manage will be in your own back yard. If you work for a head office marketing team or a global brand, you may be required to oversee a photo shoot in another state, city or location. Our Top 10 Tips for organising an out of town photo shoot will help you get it all under control.

Planning

The biggest tip of all, of course, is to plan ahead! These kind of shoots can often require months of organisation. People, dates, weather, location, property availability. There’s a lot to factor in to the schedule!

Organising an out of town photo shoot

Make sure the starts align

Ensure the hotel or venue can accommodate the shoot and your photographer is available on those dates

Claim your spaces

Have the hotel or venue book out all the relevant spaces you will be shooting in. Make sure they confirm the bookings – the last thing you want is to fly in and find you can’t shoot the ballroom because there is a wedding going on!

Cast and schedule your talent

Do a casting call and book your talent (if you’re planning to use models). Before making your final bookings, ensure the talent is available for the time the shoot is booked for. Also ensure they are available for the time it takes to travel to and from the location – you may need to add a day either side.

Look at local options

If you don’t want to fly the talent to the location, you can consider casting local talent if you’re comfortable booking models from their folios alone. Ensure all of these costs are within your budget – don’t forget agent commissions and ongoing license fees as well as the day rates for the talent.

Style support comes next

Stylists and hair and makeup artists should be booked next. Depending on the nature of the shoot, it can be simpler to source these locally.

Don’t forget you’ll need to sleep

Ensure all accommodation is booked. You may also consider booking another room or two for your photography equipment, props, and anything else you’ll be taking with you. Your crew will need space to organise themselves and it’s best to book as much space in advance as you can.

Extra time equals less stress

Flights; don’t schedule flights and photo shoots on the same day if you can possibly avoid it. Flight cancellations, traffic, delays, all of these can mount up and add to the stress of a shoot if you try and pack your schedule too tightly. Leave enough time for people to get settled, organised and oriented before you start!

Mine your local brains trust

Make it a priority to nurture your local contacts. If possible, nominate one staff member at the hotel/venue to be your liaison person; available to assist you for any ad hoc requirements during the shoot. If you’ve got contacts in the area, ask them to make a list for you of all the different things you may need whilst you’re on location. Where can you buy flowers? If you need to take in some clothes, where can you buy pins? If your photography team finds they need extra supplies, where can they go?

Minivan, anyone?

Organise transport at the other end. Travelling with a crew can be chaotic and the more you organise in advance, the calmer you’ll feel! Book a car or organise for transport – not just for when you arrive at your destination, but for your entire schedule, particularly if you’re shooting at different locations in a single area, and then also for when you’re ready to return to the airport.

The 24-hour count down

Always ensure you’re photography brief and run sheets are circulated in advance to everyone involved with the shoot and check with everyone 24 hours ahead to confirm everybody is ready to roll.

Final inspection

Site Inspection. If you’re managing the shoot, you should make a point of doing a site inspection the minute you arrive. It can be best to do this either by yourself or with your photographer, so you can identify any problem areas and plan around any unexpected circumstances. Did they forget to tell you the pool was undergoing renovation? Or that the roof was being replaced? Never fear. Things like this occur more often than you might imagine, but if you’re cool, calm and collected you’ll usually find a way to work around them!

Organising an out of town photo shoot