Avoid the Photoshoot Hangover With These Simple Tips

Avoid the Photoshoot Hangover With These Simple Tips

Have you ever gone to a photoshoot you were so excited about, had the greatest time there, just to go home and realize all the images were shot in JPEG? Or you go through the photos and you realize a lot of the shots the client’s hair was in the way? These are both examples of a Photoshoot Hangover.

You were so in the moment at the shoot and thought everything was going great, but now that you’re home you realize all the mistakes you made. We all have gone through embarrassing moments like this at some point in time, it’s all a part of growing as a photographer. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Here’s some tips on how to avoid the hangover at your next shoot!

Understand the Histogram

Every camera displays the histogram differently. Here's how it looks on my Nikon D610.

No matter if you’re shooting tethered or to an SD card, a histogram will give you accurate information on exposure. This means you’ll know if what you’re shooting is too bright or too dark no matter the screen you’re on. Here’s an article to help you understand your histogram a little more.

Always Shoot Everything Possible

I can’t tell you how many times a client thinks they know exactly what they want, or someone wants a headshot with a kooky tie or really bold pattern. I always try to advocate for getting as much as possible because you never know if it’s going to work out or down the line they regret the choice.

I shot with a small business owner who knew exactly what she wanted. It was a branding shoot to show her personality through her story and she was just a happy person. She wanted only shots of her smiling. So I shot her smiling and in more happy ways. What we did wasn’t terrible, but I just wish there was more there for a diverse selection of images.

Even with my beauty work, if I know we’re going to do something creative we always try to get at least one look that’s clean to go along with it. At least then I know I’ll get something from it in case the creative look doesn’t work out.

Shoot Tethered If You Can

Shooting tethered to a calibrated monitor or an iPad can save you when it comes to retouching. The histogram might not lie, but the back of a camera will. When it comes to small details, you want a screen with good contrast and sharpness to really see everything that’s going on.

Shooting tethered allows you to see every little detail up close.

That could come into play when shooting beauty and you need to see how the makeup looks. I’ve had times when the makeup needs to be re-applied because the foundation didn’t sit on the model’s skin correctly and it became very flaky across the forehead.

Maybe you shoot outdoors and it’s not viable to bring your laptop everywhere. Try a CamRanger  or CaseAir. These products attach directly to the camera and can transmit to an iPad so you can really see the details you’re working with. It really can be a life saver when you get down to the small details.

Find Problems Before They Happen

No matter what, problems are going to happen. They always do, they always will. What you need to do is know what you’re getting yourself into before the shoot happens. It could be your equipment or the location you’re shooting at. You might run into an unknown variable that ruins a few of what could be the best photos.

This could be as simple as knowing your camera is shooting in RAW or knowing what looks work best for a model. The latter is especially important because you may try something experimental and it may lead to things you don’t like at all. Which leads to my next point….

You’re Not Hanging out With Friends, You’re Conducting Business

This was sort of tough for me when starting to shoot with charismatic models. You’re around people your age and you’re making conversation. Sometimes you’re just having fun and you click on a topic. You don’t realize you’re in the moment and aren’t paying attention to the fact that one of the strobes isn’t responding or that the poses they’re doing could use slight tweaking between shots.

Always keep that “I’m doing business right now” barrier. It’s fine to joke around, but don’t get caught up in it because that’s when mistakes are made. This tip you just need to be cognizant of, unless you’re keen on tattoos and want to get "THIS IS BUSINESS" on your hand.

At the end of the day, hangovers will happen. They can hit especially hard when you first start. The best thing you can do is learn from them and move on. Hopefully with the advice given here, you'll be able to catch yourself before making one of the more obvious mistakes.

David Justice's picture

David Justice is a commercial beauty photographer in New York City.

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