March 4, 2019


As photographers, we are in charge of and responsible for everything that happens on a photo shoot. We plan the shoot. We prepare for the shoot. We shoot. We clean up after the shoot. Then we begin the process of retouching and distribution. There’s a lot to do and a lot to remember each time you have a photo shoot. When your jobs get bigger, there’s always even more to do.Photographers, new photographers especially, are always looking to build and update their portfolio images. You can oftentimes work with models for little to no cost through TF shoots (“TF” meaning “time for” something, usually prints or digital images) as new models are always looking for images for their portfolios and willing to exchange time for images.

A majority of my work at the moment is shooting a model’s portfolio images. Much of this work now comes from agencies needing portfolio images for their new faces. These can sometimes be paid or TF shoots. Since I need to pick an avenue of reference and because I will not be going into marketing and how to get a model portfolio client, I’m going to gear this to the professional photographer who is providing his or her services in exchange for portfolio images. However, many of the tasks are the same regardless of how a model client ends up in your studio – they may just be in a different order.

For this series, I’m going to focus on the things I do before, during and after a shoot in three segments, respectively. These steps can apply to anyone working in a home studio or a commercial studio. For this first segment, I will discuss what I do before a TF model portfolio shoot. Please keep in mind, this is my general checklist when preparing for this type of shoot and that not all of these tasks will apply to every situation.