Conjured Images

Invoking the Magic of Light and Shadows




The Shot List


As part of our series of posts to help customers get the most out of our services we are going to take a look at deliverables. If you work for an ad agency this will be old hat and you can skip this article. But if you are new to the process this will help you understand how the process works. In this post the focus is going to be on pictures then we will look at videos in another post.

Before we can start shooting we need to know what it is we are shooting and what we are trying to create. This starts with a shot list. Common questions we need to look at to generate a shot list are

  • What are we shooting?
  • What angles?
  • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • What is the background?
  • What other items do we want in the shot?
  • What crop are we going for?
  • Is there any branding that we need to incorporate in the shot?
  • Do we need to leave room for text or logos and if so where?


  • If we are approached by an ad agency or a company that does it’s own marketing and has been around for a number of years then they will have worked all this out ahead of time. For customers who are new to doing their own marketing this will help you understand what we are asking and why we are asking it. Lets take them one at a time.

    What are we shooting?

    Is it a bottle, a tool, clothing, a car etc.

    What angles?

    We may be doing just one shot for a poster or we may be doing a series of shots of the same item for an ecom site. For the poster they may say we need a hero shot. See what you can come up with. For the ecom it might be more detailed like we need the following shots of widget ‘A’.

    What ever the list turns out to be we need to know so we can capture it.

    What are we trying to accomplish?

    Are we looking for some thing dramatic and with impact in order to hook peoples attention so you can then present them with other marketing material or drive them to your contact page? Or is this a straight up no frills, no distractions ecom style shoot?

    What is the background?

    The most popular choices are solid colors usually studio white or infinite black but for solids we can do almost any color. The background can also be a textured surface of some sort or it can be an environmental background. Solid colors work best if you need to add text or if you need flexibility for multiple crops. Environmental backgrounds usually work best for telling a story. Textured back grounds like the ring shot can be a good compromise between the two.

    Gold ring on black slate

    What other items do we want in the shot?

    Adding a few props can go a long way to helping tell a story and make a picture more interesting as we detailed here. On the other hand if you spent the last 10 years trying to make your product synonymous with football you probably don’t want us to confuse your customers by including a hockey puck.

    What crop are we going for?

    How we place the camera, how far to zoom in etc will all depend on this question. We will be producing another article just on crops in the near future.

    Is there any branding that we need to incorporate in the shot?

    You may want us to place an item that has your company logo in the shot. You may want us to use a back ground that matches your company colors or you may want us to use a back ground that is complementary to your company colors for the back ground so your text stands out better. Getting a picture that shows off your product well is great, but getting one that also promotes your branding is even better.

    Do we need to leave room for text or logos and if so where?

    Along the same lines it is very common for customers to want to add text on a picture like a title, description, or it may be a paragraph from an article or any number of other things. If your product won an award you may want to place a logo that represents that award on the image.

    Usually we deliver the picture then the customers art department will add the text or logos themselves. But when we are creating the image we need to know where the text will be so that we make sure that part of the picture is not so busy that the text will get lost in it. Text over calm water or blue sky's is very common. Text over a bunch of trees will just lead to headaches as the text gets lost in the leaves.

    Once we have the shot list we will have the customer review it and sign off on it. That way we will both know what it is we are trying to create and we now have a document to help you determine if we delivered what we agreed to.

    We want to help make your next advertising campaign as successful as possible. Use our contact page and lets discuss how we can make that happen.