Listing the subjects you plan to photograph into a Shot List – and prioritising them on a scale of 1 to 10 – focuses your assignment and is a critical part of my process to manage my shoot and my client’s expectations.

Generally, I provide 30 prime images and 30 secondary images from a seven day shoot which, given I take a couple of thousand shots every assignment, means some serious culling is required. So it’s important, and certainly more efficient in terms of processing, to know what you’re going after at the outset.

Generally it falls on me to initiate the Shot List unless, of course, the client knows exactly what they want and how to get it. In the process, I visit their marketing strategy, the images they already have, the type of tourists they want to attract and the destination’s highlights. Having recognised what needs to be shot and what the client wants the photographs to say, we work through the logistics before mapping out a plan to deliver as much as we can within the time (and budget) available.  The outcome of this process is a Shot List we both agree to which is largely what I expect to match at the completion of the assignment.

I have a draft Shot List template of the subjects that generally need to be photographed to promote  a destination which I customise with my client’s input at the beginning of the assignment. As I gain a better sense of their needs, I draw from my experience to provide advice on the best way to capture the images. Potential “Hero Shots” are canvassed and subjects in the list are prioritised on a scale of 1-10 so I can weigh the time I spend on capturing an image against the time available to complete the assignment.

Of course, nothing goes quite according to plan as we look to take advantage of the conditions and opportunities but, from the outset, we’re all heading in the same direction so the likelihood of me delivering to my client’s expectations – and my own professional standards –  is a lot higher.

For more tips on Travel Photography, click here.

If we'd not prioritised this shot and planned for it, it never would have happened.

If we’d not prioritised this shot and planned for it, it never would have happened.


Next Assignment: I’m heading off on an 11 day cruise of the remote Lau island group in Fiji….and I’ve been given a serious Shot List. Three days back and I’m off to South Africa for three weeks.

David’s personal blog

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A successful promotional photograph starts with knowing what you want it to say and who you want it to appeal to - before you even bring the camera to your eye.




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