How a shot list affects the quality of your photo shoot

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To get the best results and the highest quality photos for any photo shoot, it is important to give careful thought about how the images will be used and what story they should tell. If you want the most from your marketing efforts, it’s essential to convey the right message to your customers through visual imagery and professional photography, Will the images be used on your website? In a printed brochure? For an ad, or maybe your company’s annual report? Your professional photographer should ask these questions so that they know how to create an effective shot list prior to the day of the photo shoot.

What is a shot list?  A shot list can be a variety of different instructions and uses of your photos that your photographer will use to capture specific angles and focal points. It can also be a more general, creative set of ideas of what is needed as deliverables from the shoot. Both of these kinds of lists have their advantages.

If your company wants your marketing materials to have a very consistent look and tell a consistent message, a specific shot list is the best way to communicate with your photographer about the desired images. Prior to the photo shoot, email or discuss with your photographer a very specific list of areas to be shot with details about closeness, background, angle and height from which the shot should be taken from. Remember however, when you hire a professional photographer that is good at what they do, they will use this shot list as a source to capture what you want to say in images, and will allow the photographer to have creative license to produce the highest quality results from the shoot.

This approach will give your marketing program a very distinctive style and consistent feel throughout all media. For many companies, this consistency is their hallmark. Ask your photographer to view your website while they are looking at your shot list, to get a very clear idea of what you want and how you want it photographed.

A specific shot list might look something like this:

 1.       Reception area shot from a straight-on angle with signage clearly focused,

2.      (3) wide angle shots of the showroom

a.      1 shot from the west side facing east with excellent depth of field

b.      1 shot from the east side facing west with excellent depth of field

c.       1 shot as wide as possible viewed from the reception desk (no fisheye lens to be used.)

3.       Daytime front elevation shot to include full building with additional left, right, top and bottom space to allow for copy and to fit our brochure format, shot at ground level.

4.      Daytime full front elevation aerial shot (with additional space for copy)

5.      Blue Hour full front elevation (ground level) (Additional space)

6.      Blue Hour full front elevation (Aerial) (Additional space)

As you can see from this example, the photographer has an exact list of the shots needed, and if they have looked at your website, will have a good understanding of the story you want to tell through these images

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The more general shot list might look something like this:

“We need 6 to 10 shots of the interior to include the reception area; lounge areas; showroom area shot at different angles, (mostly horizontal and a couple of verticals;) amenity areas; offices; wayfinding signage and any other interesting angles that show our work. We need 2 full front elevation daytime shots, (1 ground level) and (1) aerial; and we need 2 full front elevation dusk shots, also (1 ground level) and (1) aerial.  All images need additional space top, bottom and sides for copy and collateral format. 

These instructions might produce a variety of more interesting shots: The general shot list still gives the photographer parameters of what is needed and expected, and allows the photo team to use their creativity to produce a variety of excellent shots.


An Eye for Business specializes in commercial architectural photography, both interiors and exteriors of all types of design and construction. We ask a lot of questions about how the images will be used and the story you want the photographs to tell, along with any specific layout requirements.  We ask you about what media presentations they might be used in and we cover all specifics so we can detail everything in our estimates and invoices. By following this process, we produce great results for our clients. A collaborative effort between client and photographer is the only way to produce the best images and to help you make your brand standout.

For more information and to see examples of our work, please visit our website, an-eye-for-business.com. Keep up to date with the latest commercial photography trends and enjoy our photos from time to time, make sure to sign up for our email list.