Photography tells a story. This indispensable part of destination marketing will communicate your brand’s message, bring your location to life, and excite travelers about the memories they will have if they visit.
Digital marketing has placed even more emphasis on imagery. Photography is an art form that captures moments to relive and enjoy forever. Photos draw emotion, help your audience relate to you and, most importantly, enable potential visitors to see themselves in your destination. So do it right and create a collection of assets that represent and encompass the people, places, and personality of your destination, using high quality images that will maximize this investment to the fullest. Read on to learn pointers from our Creative Director, Megan Condict, on how to have a successful photoshoot.
Pre-Production is the Key
Though the images themselves may elicit a carefree, simple experience, determining the shot requires intention and strategy. With this in mind, here are a few useful tips to keep in mind while you prepare for a photoshoot.
- Do Your Research
You know your destination, but do you know your audience’s top experiences? Take a step back, look at your social channels and reviews to find out what special things visitors — and residents — have to say. Dust off your marketing plan and review the behaviors and interests of your key personas so you can shoot the images that will create the sense of place that they will resonate with them.
- Create a Shot List
Be specific in the images you want to capture by starting with a shot list. Are there specific locations you need to round out your digital asset library? If shooting for a campaign or a specific marketing objective, make sure your images convey the correct message and take into account how these images will be used. Requirements will be different depending on whether they are for social media, your website or for a large print ad. Keep in mind if text will need to overlay the image, so it is composed accordingly.
Once you have the shot list, you can choose the best photographer to capture these images. Going over the list with the photographer will enable them to give you an accurate estimate based on the equipment and time needed to accomplish your goals.
- Dress the Set — and the Talent
There are many things to consider for the photo composition that you can plan ahead of time. Think: hair, makeup, outfits, and props. Having everything ready beforehand will make everything easier and more efficient. Wardrobe should match the vibe of the location you are showcasing, and props should feel natural and fit with the location. Stay away from plain black or white outfits or big and bold prints, and any brand logos that will have to be photoshopped out later.
- Recruiting Talent
There are many benefits to hiring professional models but, sometimes the budget is tight and that isn’t an option. If it is, send your shot list and personas to the talent agent, and also involve your photographer. If hiring pros isn’t an option, you can recruit friends and fans to save money, just be sure they match your target audiences. When casting talent, make sure everyone feels welcome and included. It’s work, but you can make it fun. That energy will show through on your final images.
- Huddle, then GO!
Gathering the photographer, models and those helping behind the scenes before the photoshoot starts and laying out clear expectations will ramp up the energy and get everyone started out on the same page.
How to be a Great Director
Up to this point, everything has been planned. And the photoshoot itself should be no different. The photographer’s job is to capture beautiful images, but someone needs to have the big picture in mind to be watching the other details to be sure the photos will be on-brand and meet the destination’s needs.
- Create an Example Layout
Think about composition, styling the models, and every tiny detail. Share the layout with your photographer and get their input to get the best product and eliminate surprises.
- Talk to the Photographer About Lighting
What mood do you want to create? Is it romantic, carefree, serious or adventurous? Lighting can be subtle, but it’s critical to create the right mood.
- Think About Your Models
Keep your models in mind. What they will be doing and how they will interact with others and the environment? This will help the images feel more natural and relatable. It is important to make sure that the makeup is luminescent. It should be in the best natural tones, further highlighting or enhancing the original features of the model. Bring in a professional, if possible, to help.
- Bring Your Toolkit
Always have a backup supply of things like water, snacks, a hairbrush, and makeup for touch ups. Be sure you have face powder, so you don’t have shiny faces in your final images.
Having peanuts, fruit or yogurt will help if you have a hungry model who has been shooting for 5 hours; happy models yield happy photos! Having extra supplies on deck is an easy way to be prepared, and can save you time during the shoot.
Get Your Assets Organized
Having one folder full of amazing images that you can’t search or sort, can be inefficient and may stand in the way of getting the most out of the investment you have made in your images. Here are a few strategies to make the digital image organization process easier:
- Create Folders With Naming Conventions
Imagine digital organization the same way we think about physical organization. File naming should be done in a consistent manner that helps you find things later on. For instance, if you have pictures from a photo shoot in Hawaii, create a master folder called “Hawaii” and the date or campaign name, then within that folder create folders by the different shoot locations. Create a system and use it moving forward for all asset management.
- Implement Metadata Management
Metadata is digital information about an image file. It allows the users to search for images based on keywords. If you are trying to find pictures of a beach, you could search “waves,” and your results will allow you to retrieve relevant photos. Metadata also allows users to find images based on author, date, and other specific bits of information.
- Send Your Images to the Cloud
Store digital photos on online servers, rather than on hard drives, using the cloud. These comprehensive systems can help you organize digital photos for future retrieval. Storing assets in the cloud is convenient because they can be accessed from anywhere, from multiple devices or users and they will be backed up should your hardware become damaged.
- Backup is Essential
External hard drives, though they may seem a little old school, are important for redundancy. Even though we keep the images on cloud storage, having the pictures physically backed up can be beneficial. An external drive has ample storage space and is sometimes more convenient than cloud systems, plus a drive ensures that the pictures are available even if the internet is down.
As you can see, a lot goes into planning an effective photoshoot. We at Verdin thoroughly enjoy supporting our clients with this service. Reach out to us if your destination could benefit from this support.
For more information email Mary at [email protected].