Directing During COVID: Three Key Tips For Commissioning Great Commercial Pet Photography When You Can’t Be On-site
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all into the uncharted territory of stay-at-home mandates, self-quarantining, and social distancing. Even after our societal bans are lifted, I have a feeling it’s going to take some time to get back to normal… whatever that new “normal” may actually look like. We must eventually continue on — but how?
You are strategizing how to sell your current products and launch new ones in a time when people are more afraid to spend. Now is the time to focus on creating new marketing and advertising campaigns — and photography is a huge part of that.
The bulk of my photoshoots are done with off-site clients. The following three parts of each project are what make them successful:
1. SET EXPECTATIONS WELL IN ADVANCE
Communication is the key for all commercial photo shoots but it’s especially important when you know you won’t be on set and overseeing things in real-time. To keep things running smoothly, ask yourself:
- Have you put specific deliverables in writing? Shot lists can be great inspiration and give your photographer a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your photo shoot.
- Did you provide clear instructions on how products should be used or displayed? For example, if your collar has a logo, make sure it is readable when the dog sits down. Or if you have a jacket with a collar, note if it needs to be straight or folded over.
- What percentage of photos do you need horizontal vs. vertical and what are the main uses for them? Understanding what the image will be used for (website headers vs. social media) will give your photographer the direction she needs.
- Do you want images that are shot more from a pet parent’s perspective or as a viewer of the overall scene?
- How should the images make viewers feel?
- Will the product be in focus in every shot or would you like to capture a more everyday-life scene in which the product just happens to be there and is more secondary?
2. GET ORGANIZED AND CREATE A PLAN
I truly can’t stress this point enough: the more organized you are on your end, the smoother the shoot will go. If you can’t be on-site, you don’t want to leave anyone guessing about what your intentions are.
- Make notes beforehand so your photographer knows which dogs should model which products.
- Send two of everything so if something gets lost, dirty, or breaks, the shoot can continue without issue.
- For products with different sizes, include the size you think the dog will need PLUS one size up and one size down so you’re sure to get the right fit.
- If you’re pairing anything together — like a collar + leash + jacket — include clear notes as to what goes together.
- Review with the photographer what they’ve received. Make sure they open the box of products and confirm they have everything they’re supposed to. Double check size and color variations of every product were included and not forgotten.
- Let your photographer know if anything needs ironing or to be laid out to relax and re-fluff for a few days before the shoot.
3. BE AVAILABLE
Be available during the shoot time, even if it’s late. If a question or concern comes up and your photographer can’t reach you, she’s going to have to use her best judgement, which may or may not be what you actually wanted.
- Keep your phone ringer on high
- Turn off Do Not Disturb
- Set a calendar reminder 15 minutes before the shoot
- Follow up with your photographer beforehand
How do you feel about being off-site for a photo shoot now that you know the keys to success? Leave me a comment below!
If you are thinking about your next advertising campaign, need high-quality images for your social media, or need some fresh image content for your website, get in touch and ask me about a very special bonus I’m running through May 2020 for all new projects!