From start to finish Tim Bracey

Photo Shoot From Start To Finish


Much like writing, I always have a hard time coming up with ideas for shoots. 

I typically get inspiration and help from multiple sources.  I know a lot of people complain about Instagram and it’s algorithms when it comes to gaining followers or booking clients, but when it comes to inspiration for shoots, I’ve found it very useful.  There have been several times I was supporting my fellow creatives when Instagram has suggested a post, account, or website.  After clicking on these links and following the proverbial rabbit down the proverbial rabbit hole, I’ve found inspiration for concepts and locations as well as finding reasonably priced wardrobe to use for shoots.  My second source of inspiration for shoots also doubles as a source for posing.  That source is the website  Initially it was a site used by magazines in order to promote their magazine submissions.  Over the years it’s become more than that.  Now it’s a site where creatives can post their work.  While using it to build a posing guidebook for shoots, I’ve come across several photos that have been the basis for multiple photo shoot.  The last source of inspiration and without a shadow of a doubt the most important is people.   So many shoots are based on ideas brought to me by fellow photographers, models, hair stylists, makeup artists, and parents of models.  People tend to put more effort into a shoot when the genesis of the idea came from them.  It’s always great to collaborate with people on coming up with ideas or fine tuning them.


Once I and/or the team has decided on a concept then comes the hard part of finding the right people and location to bring the concept to life.  If I’m lucky I’ll already have individuals in mind I want to reach out to about the shoot.  If I’m even luckier those individuals will be available within an established window of opportunity.  If I’m not lucky, then I have to reply on posting casting calls on Instagram and within various photography/modeling groups on Facebook.  This is very problematic because people never read the entire post or don’t respond with the necessary information for me to ascertain their qualifications for the shoot.  It’s a very stressful and time consuming process to weed out the unfit candidates.


Once I’ve selected the team then comes the hard part of selecting the right location and wardrobe for the shoot.  I have an extensive selection of wardrobe because I live by the mantra “I rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”  If I don’t have what we need to the shoot, then I or someone else on the team is usually willing to purchase, rent, or borrow it.  Once wardrobe and location has been selected, then it’s time to look at schedules at decide on a shoot date which will allow us to prepare for the shoot.  Preparation time involves acquiring all the necessary items for the shoot, studying/mastering poses, and addressing any sort of facial, hair, or body concerns…acne/dermaplaning, split ends/hair coloring, and tan lines to just name a few.


I like to follow up on all the outstanding items during the preparation period to ensure we’re on track to meet our targeted shoot date.  A few days prior to the shoot, I’ll make the go/no go determination for the shoot.  The day of the shoot starts off very typical.  I’ll steam the wrinkles out of the wardrobe, charge my batteries, and pack my gear if we’re shooting on location.  The team usually arrives 30 minutes to an hour before the shoot start time so they can rest if they just drove in from out of time or to setup and meet and get to know each other if this is our first shoot together.

Once hair and makeup are done, we’ll look over to to see if anything was missed and if so correct it before shooting starts.  After shooting starts I’ll take a few test shots to fine tune the lighting and to also determine if any changes to hair/makeup need to be made to compensate for the effects of flash photography.  If the shoot is a collaboration and the hair stylist/makeup artist has time, which is typically the case, they will stay for the entire duration of the shoot, serving as a expert second set of eyes to ensure the hair/makeup is as perfect as it can be to lessen the amount of editing which will need to be done it post.  They will also make any sort of adjustments needed to address issues and change up the look in order to produce as much unique content as possible.  I do this in order to maximize the amount of content we create for the purposes of explaining our portfolios, generating multiple looks for magazine submissions, and having enough content to keep me busy with until we can plan our next shoot.

After the shoot is over comes the fun/not so fun part depending on the photographer.  I personal enjoy editing.  To sped up my workflow I employ the use of various presets and plugins in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Although on the expensive side, I highly recommend the suite of plugins developed and distributed by Retouch4Me.  For the most part the team leaves the selection of photos to be edited up to me.  On the rare occasion they want to pick for themselves.  My editing philosophy is to pick the best of the best and edit those even if that number is in the dozens.  People are willing to collaborate with you more if you respect them and their time and provide more than a single edited photo…6 months later after you’re messaged them constantly.  Once editing is complete I upload the photos to a secure online gallery and they are available in perpetuity for everyone to use.


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One Comment

  1. Tim Bracey

    Thank you so much for letting me write this article!!!

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