The Art of the Run Sheet: Keeping sane on the day of a photo shoot

A comprehensive run sheet is key to the success of any photo shoot you plan.

Photo shoots always require the timely synchronisation of people, locations, sets, props and equipment. Not to mention managing the flow of guests around any shoot that happens to ensure minimal disruption.

A good run sheet allows you to tell people where to be at any one time of the day.

It gives everyone involved a clear understanding of what will take place and when.  Because there is always the danger of time slipping away faster than you anticipate, and a run sheet also keeps you on track to complete all the shots you’ve planned for the day.

Three ways to perfect the art of the run sheet

1. Location. Be sure to include all details of where the shoot will take place. Be as specific as you can. Include the address, the floor of the property, a room number, or a part of the hotel. Include a contact number for the location – for example your reception number – for anyone who gets lost.

2. Kick-off time.  It is not  uncommon for photo shoot teams to run late. It is especially common for big shoots and where there are hassles with directions or parking. It can also take time to unload props, garments and photographic equipment. Avoid this by scheduling your team to arrive at least an hour before the shoot is scheduled to begin.

3. Contact details. Include the names and phone numbers of all people involved in your shoot. If you’re running the shoot, your details should be at the top of the list. Include the details of the hotel / resort manager, photographer and his crew, and additional staff including stylists and assistants.


More important things to consider

4. Breaks. Schedule breaks throughout your shoot, particularly if it’s a full day shoot.  Breaks will also give your photography crew the opportunity to download and back up images images, change equipment, charge batteries and to plan for the next shots.

5. Shot List. List all the shots you want captured. Allocate around an hour in your schedule to each one. It may not take an hour to get a single shot, but you should incorporate time for moving equipment and setting up lighting, as well as giving the photographer time to take a range of shots. You can then choose the best ones at a later stage.

Five more ways to perfect the art of the run sheet

6. Shot sequence. Convenience and timeliness matter on a shoot. If you are shooting the restaurant and then the bar, scheduled them one after the other so the photography team can relocate quickly.

7. Guest Experience. Where are your guests are going to be when you’re shooting? Plan to avoid Reception at check-in time. Do the same for the restaurant during meal times, unless you have advised guests in advance.  Where will people want to be? If you clear the pool on a hot day and tell guests it’s not available, you may not be very popular.

8.Cleaning. Have your maintenance team ready to clean, clear, polish and sweep the areas being photographed. Brief them to work on the area you’re scheduled to go to next. That way, you know that as soon as the photography team arrives, the area will be ready to shoot. If you can arrange for glass to be cleaned and lawns manicured in advance, even better!

9. Props. If you have planned to use props, make sure they’re ready before the shoot. A trip to the market to buy flowers or fresh produce early in the morning can be a great way to prepare mentally for the shoot ahead!

10. Communications. If possible, you should write your run sheet at least a week in advance, and everyone gets it at least one day before the shoot. This will help  the smooth running of your shoot. It will give other teams the chance to bring to your attention things you may not have known about that will be occurring on the day of your shoot.

Imagery by Mauro Risch, The Hotel Photographer

Over the last decade, Mauro Risch has become known simply as The Hotel Photographer. He is trusted by PR and marketing teams, hotel managers and executive brand teams right across the Asia Pacific region. Mauro is the preferred photographer for some of the top operators across the industry, including Intercontinental, Carlson Rezidor, Marriott and Wyndham.

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