Dream Smarter Podcast Ep30 - BTS of Planning a HMS Brand Shoot


Dream Smarter Podcast Ep30 – BTS of Planning a HMS Brand Shoot

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex


We’re going to talk today about planning a shoot, and more specifically, I’m just going to tell you everything that I do. I know how hard it is to plan a shoot, especially if you’ve never done one before. I’m going to just kind of walk you through how to plan a shoot or how we plan a shoot.

First things first, at the beginning of the year, my team and I sit down, and we plan the shoots for the rest of the year. And the shoots are always planned because of a reason.  I don’t ever plan a shoot just to plan a shoot. They always have a purpose behind them, and it’s tied to whatever we’re launching. Just to give you a little bit of background, we’re shooting on April 13th, and that is going to be photo and video for our ad funnels. Specifically, we just started investing in Facebook and Instagram ads.

So basically, we’re planning out all of our ad funnels for designer training and for other programs like passive income products and stuff like that that we have. And we’re creating photo and video ads specifically for those funnels. So that’s what this shoot is all about. It’s going to mostly just be me, and we’re going to do some talking to the camera bits.  I know how to plan the shoot based on what the shoot is for. This shoot will be different from the next shoot that I talk about because it will be a lot of me talking to video, like inspirational, motivational type of content. And we’re going to create awesome videos for a minute, and we’re going to shoot some amazing photos for the ads, and we’re going to have all the copy for the ads before we shoot so that we can shoot for the copy.

We know what we’re shooting based on the actual copy, which is great. And then we have script copy for the videos.  I’m not just going to be like falling over my words the whole time. It’s going to have a purpose. So very, very excited about that. Lots to prep for that photoshoot. But the thing is, with that shoot, we’re not going to use many props or anything like that. It’s like less planning with the props, but more planning with the actual content of the shoot.

We have a shoot on June 21st, which will be of the Highmoon studio team, which I’m so excited about because everything has been just me. And since we’re in an agency, it’s not just me working everything. I have a team, I have full-time people, and we’re going to hire at least once before that happens. We’re doing a retreat for all of the Highmoon studio employees in Joshua tree, which I’m so excited about. And part of that retreat is going to be a photoshoot. We got this dope AF house, and we’re going to shoot just photo only for social media and our website, which we’re going to be redoing our website around that same time. We’re going to add in shots of the team rather than just being an Alex fest because I don’t want it to feel like it’s just me.

Then, another shoot for my second business that I cannot share quite yet, but it’s a product line. That’s going to be the end of August-early September when we have the samples we can shoot with. We’re going to do lifestyle, photo, and video, and then I’m also having a product photographer shoot that as well.

And we’re going to be doing that in Palm Springs, which I am just so excited about. You have no idea that house is amazing. Then we are going to be shooting in September in New York City. This will be video only, and we will be shooting many courses and mini-lessons.  I can’t wait to share that with you. That’s just a little, a little preview of what’s to come at the end of this year with Highmoon studio. We’re going to have a lot more courses, more professionally shot, more straight to the point, no more lives. I’m not going to say I’ll never do lives again, but I want our stuff to be completely straight to the point.

So in September, we can shoot many lessons that go in between those screen recordings, intros, outros, all of that fun stuff. So that’s going to be video only, and those are all of our shoots for the year. We have four shoots, which is quite a lot. Highmoon studio only has three, and then my new business has one. So that’s, that’s what 2021 is looking like right now. The first step plans out your shoots for the year. And to do that, you have to have a plan, like your business plan for the whole year. You need to have your launch plan. What are you launching?

I’m just going to talk through the shoot I’m planning right now, which is this April 13th photo/video, for our ad funnels. Basically, throughout the year, we’ll start like saving an Instagram on Pinterest, just some inspiration.  I create a Pinterest board. I start saving. I have an idea by the time I have to start the Pinterest board for the full team photographer, videographer, hair, makeup person, anybody who’s involved. By that time, I have a little bit of a vision. Then I create the Pinterest board, and the Pinterest board is really what we work off of.

You’re going to get behind the scenes look. So basically, my plan is it’s going to be like a Kardashian interview, like a super clean studio, beautiful, but simple. I want it to feel effortless. I don’t want it to feel overly staged or anything like that. It’s just going to be raw, like me talking like this, but looking like fresh AF. Then we’re going to have behind-the-scenes stuff that’s going to be shot with a super eight. And if you don’t know what a super eight is, it’s like a vintage camera. It creates these like almost home video-style looking stuff. I want the photo and video to reflect our brand voice a bit more moving forward.

I don’t want it to be staged. I don’t care what I look like. If that’s how I look in that very moment. That’s exactly how I look, and I am perfect, just like that. Of course, I’m going to do everything that I can before the shoot to feel my best, but, I don’t need to lose 20 pounds before this shoot.

I want to feel good, and I’m going to work out every day, and I’m going to eat healthy, and I’m going to drink water and all of that. But I don’t ever want to look at myself as like, I’m not good enough at this moment ever in any circumstance ever in my life, whether that’s my mind and body, anything that I’m doing.  I want the behind-the-scenes to be very much like me getting my hair and makeup done while being on my computer, me running around the team.

They’re two people that are on the Highmoon studio team, project manager and executive assistant. I want it to feel as if you were there. I want you to feel like you’re standing there with us with this behind-the-scenes stuff and get a look like I don’t have anything to hide. That’s kind of how I want it to be, very put together.  Then behind the scenes of like, look at how messy this is, look at how difficult this is because you know me, I am never the type of person to be like, Oh, this is easy. Everything I’m doing is easy. I always give you guys a behind-the-scenes look, and I want that behind-the-scenes look to be real because that’s who we are here at Highmoon studio.

We’re real. We’re raw. We give you all of the details. We are not going to hold anything back. And so that’s how I want it to feel. So anyway, so I kind of choose that look and feel. I create a Pinterest board. I invite the team, photo, videographer, all that stuff, and they will add to it where they see necessary. And then from that, I choose my outfit.  I look at that behind-the-scenes vision stuff, and I’ll pull stuff too from Instagram like I’ll save it or do a screen recording on my phone if it’s a video. And I will add those to the Pinterest board and stuff. And then I kind of look at everything that I have panned, and I say, okay, what are all these people wearing? Like, where are the patterns here?

And often, it’s like the same. You’ll be like, oh my God, I pinned 20 white suits. Wow. Surprising. And then you’re like, okay, well I should probably get a white suit. You have to mesh your style with what you see on the Pinterest board.  I just went, and I order tons of clothes. I typically will order from places that have easy to return to and become fast. And I don’t skimp. If I like something, that’s $400. I just buy it because it’ll pay for itself. Or sometimes you put it on for the shoot, and then you just return It after.

I hate to say that, but it’s sometimes it’s the truth. But anyway, so I’ll get the shoes. I get the outfits. I get any hair accessories or earrings; you just have to think about everything for this shoot in particular. It’s again, and it’s very raw.  And then you have to look at the props too. Like, what kind of props do you need? Do you need to create a newspaper? Because we include newspapers a lot in our shoots. That’s like our thing. And now everybody else is doing it, but you know what? We started that trend. If we are going to have a newspaper in our shot, we will have to design that prior.

And those take a little bit to get, so you have to do it like a month at minimum before to have it in time for the shoot. Is there a cute glass that I want to purchase to make the shoot better? Are there candles? Are there flowers? What is what’s in the shot? So, you just got to look at those things and make a list. It’s not cheap, but it’s always worth it. Make a list of everything that you need to buy, shop around.

You got to make sure that you feel good and whatever you’re wearing and make sure it’s on-brand and all that. Everything that I bought is neutral. There’s like one thing that I bought that has color, but for the most part, it’s still pretty neutral. The color itself is very faint. So that’s kind of what I do there. And then now I’m at the point where I have everything. This is what I was getting to. Tomorrow morning, we have our call with the team, makeup artist, photographer, videographer, me, Becca. Before that, I have a clothing rack that I purchased from Amazon. And what I’ll do before shoots is I will get my clothes in I’ll return.

Make sure you leave the tags on, and I’ll hang everything up on my rack in my room. It’s not in my closet, but it’s on this rack. Everything for the shoot is on a rack, and I can see, and I can be like, okay, so like this top goes with these pants and these pants. I like mixing and matching things to shoots because you want the shoot to feel like you had like 10 shoots. A great way to do that is if you have a pair of jeans that you love to swap out your top or like to add a hat or to change your shoes, or like just easy switches that you can do throughout the shoot so that you’re wearing like 10 different outfits.

I’ll hang up all my clothes. I can see them all next to each other. You can then start to see a pattern. You can start to be like, okay, so this can go with this and this, and then this can go with this and this. And you can kind of plan out a timeline for the day. I always suggest wearing your least favorite outfit first because the first shots are always the worst because you’re not natural. You’re like, what do I do in front of this camera? This is so awkward. You know, obviously, you want to play music and all of that, but the first shots are always like, you’re just getting the hang of it. And you want to wear not your favorite outfit first. Once I get all of that done, I start to kind of pack up everything that I need for the shoot so that I’m not stressed out.

Because if I’m like running around the day of the shoot, no way. If I’m stressed, that’s when I get bitchy, and it’s just not fun. You can then see it in my face because I am not somebody who can hide my emotions very well.

I have all my clothes lined up, and I start a box that I’m going to bring to the shoot. I like to make a shot list, too, of different things.  I know at this shoot, we’re using a projector, which I’m so excited about. We kind of set the bar when it came to brand shoots. I would say because when I did my first brand shoot with Jackie and Natalie, I was like, okay, we need to like, do something different here. Like I don’t want to be sitting on a computer. I mean, sure. There are some shots like that, but I don’t want them to be all the shots.

Like I want it to be provocative. I’m sick of boring brand shoots. Boring brand shoots are dead. And after that, it was kind of like everyone, and their mama wanted to get a dope brand shoot, which I love. I’m so glad that we kind of helped spike that movement, but now it makes it a little harder for me because I’m like, okay, I pushed myself to do things differently. And so how can I go outside of the box with this shoot and make it different and make it fun and unique? How do I just do something different without it being weird? A projector was an idea that came to me, and I’m excited to see how they turn out. They might fail the shots that I have in my head, they might not turn out, and that’s fine, but we tried.

I bought a projector for the shoot. We’re going to project different things onto the wall, and I might stand in front of it. I’ll write down some different concept ideas like that because we’re doing this for ads. I’m also going to record on my iPhone as if I was recording an Instagram story type of stuff for the ads. You’re going to have like the professional studio by the photographer and videographer, and then I’m going to have the in-app, more authentic stuff. When you’re doing a shoot because both can perform differently depending on who they’re shown to. We have our concept ideas. You want to choose your location.

All this stuff I’m talking about right now is like, after choosing your location, after choosing your photographer videographer, when choosing your photographer, videographer, you want to choose people you admire their work. Don’t find someone who’s mediocre and expect them to do something awesome because it’s just not going to happen.  I suggest investing in somebody that you truly want to work with that inspires you, that you’re just really excited about. Then your location, you have to pay attention to like, what are we shooting this for? Obviously, what’s the vibe. Look at your Pinterest board are all of the shots outside. Are most of them inside a studio? Like, what is it?  Then choose your location. We found a location here in LA, a great studio.

It has many different rooms, or like areas like there’s a brick wall, there’s a black wall. There’s the white, which is the white is really what I was looking for. But there are other areas too. It’s more expansive than what I needed. And I did that on purpose because I always am looking for something that has more than what I want, just so that we can kind of get outside of that box that we’re thinking of in our head. And that’s another thing too. I booked my shoots extra-long.  we’re shooting for nine hours. We’re not going to need nine hours, but I like to have it. We’re not running around frantically with our heads cut off, like, go here, go here, change your outfit, change your home.

It’s like, we can sit down as a team, as a creative team. And we can be like, okay, so how can we make this as creative as possible? And just take our time and let the ideas flow on the day of, so that’s another little thing then you want to look at just like you did elephants. You want to look at hair and makeup.  I get my hair and makeup done by Vera, which I’m so excited to work with her. I haven’t, I’ve met her, and she’s amazing. I’ve spent time with her, but she hasn’t done my hair and makeup before.  I’m excited. She’s so talented. She works with the girls.  I’m going to put together another Pinterest board within the board. On Pinterest, you can separate the pins and aboard into different categories in one board, which is nice.

One of the categories I’ll have is hair and makeup, and I’ll kind of put what I’m looking for there. So then, when I talked to the team, we have a plan. We have concept ideas. We have inspiration for just the shots. We have inspiration for the video, for the photos. We have inspiration for hair makeup. I have all my outfits, and I have everything ready so that when we’re on the shoot, we’ll kind of put together a timeline. I like to put together a timeline of the day of like, okay, so we will shoot in this outfit first. So honestly, too, I’m going to backtrack a little bit. And when I hang all my outfits up, I also have a steamer. Make sure you get a steamer.

I’m going to try everything on because if I don’t like something, I’m not going to bring it. You know, even if I got it for the shoot.  I’m going to try every single outfit on; it’s so important. And I’m going to take a picture of myself in every single outfit. And then I’m probably going to print those pictures out almost like a fashion show and clip it to the actual items.  I can be like, okay, here’s this outfit. And I can show the team at our meeting too, with all the photos and be like, these are all the outfits. These are all the concept ideas that I have.

Like what should I shoot studio stuff in, in what’s the timeline of the day? You have your concepts, your shot list basically, and then you have all your outfits, and you pair them with the concepts. Then you can create a timeline so that this hour we’re shooting this, this hour, we’re shooting this. Then the actual shoot on the day of goes by so much more smoothly. And then on the shoot day, just have fun. Like make sure you have lunch, make sure you have breakfast, like coffee, whatever you want to do, make sure that you have lunch.

I find a lot of people will just kind of forget about lunch. It’s like, no, get lunch delivered or whatever. And then, after the shoot, I always take out the whole team, and I bring them to dinner. And we have a great time. We get half-drunk at a restaurant and order whatever we want, and we just have a good time together. Make it fun, make it something that you’re excited about because if it seems like too much work, you’re just not the passion isn’t going to be there. And then it’s not going to turn out very great.  I always just try and stay in the best headspace that I possibly can and just have, have fun. They can be stressful, but just be yourself. Don’t worry. I think that’s the biggest thing.

Click here to listen to the full show on Apple Podcasts