Manifest It: Producing A Shoot

While it appears that many fashion models live in a perfect world in which everyone is dying to get a chance to photograph them, that's not always the reality. This past week I produced a shoot for some portfolio updates and I can tell you, firsthand, it's much more work than you know. So what exactly has to happen before you get "the shot"?


1. Come up with a vision

Start by pulling together inspiration and looks that you think can be achieved based on the model's appearance. In this case, I pulled looks from models that are most successful in my market. I took a lot of inspiration from Joan Smalls and other black supermodels to give me direction in identifying the components necessary to achieve the desired look.



2. Organize a Team

The first thing that needs to happen to ensure a quality professional shoot is you need to have a quality and professional team. This means troubleshooting every and all aspects of what is necessary to get the best shot. I started by finding a photographer. I spent weeks looking for photographers on Instagram, clicking through other models' photos and identifying the shots I liked most and the ones I think agents can market best. I reached out to the photographer first and confirmed some possible dates.


Next, I scrolled through my contacts to find a makeup artist (MUA), wardrobe stylist and hair stylist. They all happened to be people I've worked with previously and therefore this would be a great place to note how important it is to network.


Photography by Katherine Elam - Backstage at NYFW 2018

3. Confirm Shoot Details

After finding my team, I had to formally write up and send out all of the pertinent details for the shoot. I made sure to include time, location, photographer information, social media handles and the purpose for the shoot. I also sent out the images I originally pulled for my inspiration board so that all team members knew what look was trying to be achieved.


4. Execution & Angles

Last, but certainly not least, the day of the shoot. Be prepared for everything to go wrong. You never know what could happen the day of a shoot. In this particular shoot I faced many obstacles regarding scheduling and missing team members. In the event that part of your team does not show up, you need to be prepared to handle the situation in the most professional and efficient manner. If you feel confident in your ability to execute this part of the production on your own, then do so. If you feel it is best to reschedule, be sure that you communicate why you need to reschedule with the photographer.




The photographer and the model are the key roles in the production. A strong hair and makeup team as well as wardrobe are an added bonus to achieving a professional product but ultimately, if you have a bad photographer or a bad model then you won't really get what you're looking for.


Here are some behind-the-scenes pictures from shoot. Stay tuned for the final edits!

It's not all fun and games behind the camera but it's worth it when you finally get the shot. Follow me on Instagram @katherine.elam to keep up with my latest works!




by katherine elam