In talking with various modeling talents, I sometimes hear frustrations about struggling to get what they wanted (or thought they were going to get) out of their photo shoots. I think there are a few very simple steps that talents can do upfront to help better their ability of getting what they want or need from their photo shoots.

1) Determine why you need (or want) to do the shoot.
Write it down. Perhaps your agent has asked you to get some new headshots, or you want some commercial looking images for your book that you can market with. Whatever your goals are with the shoot, write them down and then be sure to communicate those goals with the photographer.

2) Determine the specific look(s) you need
Do you need your shots in color or in black and white? Do you need to get headshots or full body shots? Do you need to have a glamorous look or a more lifestyle appeal? Once again, write it down and communicate it (in writing) with the photographer.

3) Determine the tangible output you require
Do you need 2 photos edited or 10? Do you need the photographer to print the images for you, or are you okay printing them yourself? Do you need high resolution files to print with as well as low resolution files to use online? Do you need shots without a watermark or logo? Communicate those needs to the photographer you plan on hiring.

4) Determine how you want to be able to use the photos
This is actually very important. Do you want to be able to just use them in a print or online portfolio? What about permission to use them on business cards or composite (comp) cards? Are you allowed to use them on your website? Many portrait photographers will allow for nearly all promotional uses (which are what is described above), but once again; communicate what you would like to do with the photos in writing.

Nothing is guaranteed. However, by just taking a few moments to determine and communicate the needs behind your shoot in advance can save you a lot of energy and time in the future having to go back and redefine the terms.

Happy shooting!