One golden rule to a great photoshoot is to start with great production. A smooth production puts everyone and everything in the right place for the shoot to succeed long before the shutter button gets pressed. That said, I have some of the best producers in the biz on staff. And here, Megan outlines one essential to every commercial production – the production notebook. Use this info to help make your next production run smooth like butta’… Take it away, Meg. ___ Hello peeps, Megan here, producer for Chase. We’re gearing up for a several big international jobs, so as I’m booking travel and working with a local producer on locations + permits, I’m also putting the Production Book together. This is critical information that all professional production houses put together and it’s something clients and agencies expect from you on any large-scale shoot. Think of it as a one-stop shop for all pertinent details. It can be distributed to all parties via email prior to the shoot, and a printed copy should accompany you to set. Not only does it help make you look super professional, it just might be the most practical thing you carry (aside from your camera, of course).
You don’t need special software; start with a Word or Pages doc. Just keep an eye on formatting. It should be clean, easy to read and align with your brand. Once it’s complete, save a template you can always use to generate this doc for your next shoot, then output a PDF for the production crew and send it out!
Here’s a basic list of things to include (as applicable):
1. cover sheet: a nicely laid out page that identifies the client, the production company and/or the photographer _client + photographer logos _name of job
2. contact info: detail the names, titles, phone numbers + email address of all associated parties _client _agency _crew
3. shot list / creative: detailed shot list and/or photo references _wardrobe/prop specs _art direction
4. travel itineraries: who’s going where and when? _flights _confirmation numbers
5. accommodations: where is everyone staying? _address _contact _check in/out dates _directions to/from airport _meeting room location + details
6. location info: every shoot happens somewhere, whether it’s at your studio or the Mojave desert _address _contact info (i.e. site rep) _map _directions _photos _certificates of insurance for each _releases _permit info _copy of permits _contact info for city or governing agency (i.e. FilmLA)
7. talent: actors, models, friends, guy you scouted on the subway _contact info _agency info _call times _locations _photos _releases
8. vendors: a list of any and all 3rd party resources involved in the shoot _visa/Carnet confirmations _caterers _shipping _equipment rentals _ground transpo
9. shooting schedule: what does each day look like? _call times _wrap times _travel to/from locations _HMU + wardrobe prep _lunch + breaks _shot breakdown
10. production calendar: all pertinent deadlines should be identified here _pre-production hot items (i.e. location + talent selection due dates, permit approval process, etc.) _shooting window _post-production requirements (i.e. number of rounds to client, amount of time allotted for feedback, proofing, due date of final images, etc.)
There you have it! Start with these categories as a template, and add or subtract as needed. May seem kind of tedious as you’re doing it, but I promise you, it’s so worth it. Until next time! Stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes goodness from our shoots, trips, and travels! -Megan the Producer