When it comes to custom content production, there are a lot of moving parts. The key to a successful studio production (and leaving with your sanity) is proper planning and prep time. Thinking through every little detail will make your content that much stronger in the end. Ultimately, there will be last minute changes that need to happen on set, but anticipating and planning for those moments as much as possible will keep your production from going off the rails. Less time spent stressing means more time for focusing on the creative task at hand.
Ahead of concepting the individual shots for the day, make sure you have clear content pillars or a theme to map back to. Are there current events or social holidays you would like to tap into? Is there a seasonal look and feel you would like to achieve through the color palette and propping? It is helpful to include a brief write up at the beginning of the shot list deck that clearly details the production theme, any relevant content pillars, and the extended color palette that the shots will feature.
Next, establish a creative strategy and defined mix of content to execute. For example, if video content performs best with your audience, perhaps a large portion of the day is spent capturing short form video or dynamic content. The creative strategy for your brand will depend on the brand objectives you are trying to achieve, how existing content has performed on the brand’s social channels to date, and any areas of white space you would like to experiment with for this batch of content.
Now it’s time to dive deeper into the shots for the day. Create a slide for each concept you would like to execute. It is crucial to include the following key information for your production team: a brief description of each shot concept, all camera angles to be captured, desired scene background or surface, aspect ratio for the finished creative, any featured products, and a full list of props. Each slide should also include any inspiration photos or videos, so the photographer or videographer can better understand the desired look and feel, angles and lighting requirements for each piece.
*Download our simple shot list template to kick-start your next shoot.*
Timing is everything! It is crucial to estimate how long each of the concepts in the shot list will take to capture to ensure you can fit everything in the allotted production hours. Pare the shot list back as needed and make sure to pad the hours to account for any pivots that may be needed while on set. After you have established the time needed for each shot, create a Run of Show schedule for the day. To be the most efficient on set, all concepts with similar setups and angles should be grouped together to avoid unnecessary equipment and prop resets that will eat into your shooting time.
Buy or rent the necessary props to execute the right look for the brand and season. More options are never a bad idea, so you can make sure everything reads perfectly on camera. In general, it is best to stay away from extremely bright colors and very busy patterns. Think through the texture of each item, since that will give your photo or video more depth and dimension. It is always nice to add a couple pops of the brand or product colors to really hit home the brand style in every piece of content.
As tempting as it is to overshoot while on set, that will complicate your post-production process later. Capture all the must have shots first, and if there is extra time, throw in some alternative options. Keep an eye on the clock to ensure you are moving at a good pace, so you don’t end up rushing through the last concepts of the day. Pro tip: flagging selects as you’re shooting will save you a ton of time when editing and retouching.
Looking for outside support with content creation? Socialfly Studios can help! Our in-house studio can handle all levels of photo and video production. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and custom pricing information.
Written By: Lindsay Gilbert, Creative Director, Studio