Planning a photography or video shoot can be a time – and resource – intensive endeavour; but, with extra care put towards a few key steps in the process, you can get a great return on your effort. The Destination BC team has compiled our top tips to help you navigate the shoot planning and production process below:
Please note: A video-version of this article can be found at the bottom of the page.
It can be tempting to try to cover all of your needs with a single shoot, or to define your needs at too high a level (i.e. “restaurant shots”). However, you’ll likely get a better outcome if you give your photographer or production team a clear focus by creating a list of the specific shots you hope to capture at the arranged location(s). When building your shot list, consider the following:
Tip: Take a look at Destination BC’s content checklist for more info on responsible and safe travel visuals.
Tip: In addition to a shot list, you can create a “mood board” using photos that depict the style you want the team or production company to emulate.
Here in BC, we’re lucky to have access to an incredibly talented and diverse pool of content creators. Each photographer or videographer will bring a unique perspective to your experiences and products—and the strongest ones will act as a creative partner for you to help you bring your brand to life through compelling visuals. While there are benefits to working with the same suppliers who are familiar with your brand and product, there are also benefits to seeking out fresh perspectives and creative approaches.
Think about how and for how long the materials will be used, and what channels or markets they will be used in; these elements can impact the quote you’ll get from your supplier. We recommend seeking third-party usage rights in perpetuity for the images if budget allows, as that will allow you to grant usage to others (i.e. third parties), such as businesses in your community, sector associations, media publications, or Destination BC.
If budget is a concern, you can try negotiating a shorter usage window, or usage rights for specific channels only (like digital). It’s often more cost effective to negotiate third-party rights for your organization from a supplier before the shoot, than to go back to them each time you want to add another party to the usage terms. Destination BC can share suggested usage rights language to ensure we and other partners are also able to use the materials in future to promote your destination or experience. Contact [email protected] for more information.
While identifying subject matter and locations is critical, it’s also important to consider who will be in front of the camera experiencing your destination or business. If you are not capturing an editorial-style story where there’s a narrative arc with a lead character, you or your production team wil likely be hiring models to “star” in your visuals. Your chosen production supplier can often help you to source models, provided you identify that need up front and build it into the project timeline.
Tip: Use Destination BC’s consent & release form instead of, or in addition to, your own to allow usage for DBC and other tourism partners.
Shoots are often initiated in support of a specific campaign or marketing initiative. In addition to considering the photo and video needs for those specific uses, also consider what materials you might need to extend the story or visuals into all of your channels. Do you also need vertical video so that your social media team or marketing agency can create Instagram or AMP stories? Do you need “behind the scenes” footage to use on your corporate social media accounts? Holding a quick brainstorming session with your team or agency during the shoot planning period can help to identify opportunities to extend the life of your new visuals. You can then proactively build these deliverables into the contract with your supplier.
You will also want to give your production supplier guidance on what format(s) you’d like the final materials delivered in. Here are DBC’s recommendations:
It’s important to put a written agreement in place with your supplier to ensure that you are aligned on the terms of the work they will be doing for you. This critical step can help you to avoid relationship issues or even legal challenges in the future. The contract should clearly outline deliverables, payment, and usage rights for the resulting imagery. You may want to consider including a requirement for insurance on the part of the supplier as well.
Tip: If your agreement includes a specific number of photographs, consider pre-negotiating a set price for purchasing additional shots in the future.
Taking the time to talk through the goals, creative vision, and logistics of the shoot with your production team before the shoot starts will result in stronger alignment, more clarity for the team on the ground, and a better outcome for you as the client. We recommend planning for at least two check-ins with your production team before the shoot begins: One, for you to provide a creative briefing to share your vision for the material—but also to get their creative perspective. Second, a pre-production session when you are focused on finalizing any logistical considerations, from locations to model wardrobe to contingency plans for inclement weather. Ideally, you’ll create a project brief, so all details and expectations are documented.
Also, we strongly recommend that you speak with your production crew about their COVID-19 shoot protocols before the shoot begins; they should be able to clearly outline the steps they take on the ground during a shoot to keep everyone involved safe and to ensure they can answer any questions should they be approached on the ground by members of your community.
Ensure you set your production team up for success with the following tips:
On-location shoots are dynamic projects with many shifting elements; you will likely generate some key learnings from your project that you will want to apply to future projects. Take the time to debrief with your production team to discuss what worked, what was a challenge, and what you may want to do differently next time.
A simple and effective way to extend the ROI of your content creation investment and increase reach and exposure for your destination or experience is to share your new visual assets with others in the BC tourism industry via Destination BC’s shared Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, the BC Content Hub. Provided you have secured third-party usage rights from your supplier, and all recognizable individuals in the images have signed Destination BC’s Consent & Release Form, you can submit your visuals in order to give Destination BC and others who promote tourism in BC (such as Destination Canada, regional DMOs, sector associations, and global travel media and travel trade) the ability to use your visuals in their marketing activities.
For more information on how to submit your visuals, please contact [email protected]
Watch a video-version of this article:
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