4 Key Phases of a Photography Project

When striving for excellent shots, it is fundamental to understand each phase of a project, and address it accordingly. Ideation, goals, techniques and evaluation must all be considered.

In this article, we will guide you through the complete planning and implementation of a project so you can get the most out of your photography skills and subsequent projects.

Most photography projects tend to have the following phases:

  1. Definition
  2. Planning 
  3. Execution
  4. Close-out


Project definition – where are you going? 

Having a clear sense of what it is you wish to achieve, is the best way to begin a project. This initial phase involves first creating a vision, and then a road map of activities for your project. Changes will occur along the way but a clear vision will act as the driving force for your work. 

A vision creates a united purpose and a framework that allows your team to develop your ideas in harmony.  In order to inspire clients and stakeholders and to attract sponsors and motivate your team towards a common goal, your vision should be aspirational, ambitious and interesting. Consider including keywords such as: ‘exciting’, ‘promoting’, ‘extensive’, ‘progressive’ and ‘showcasing’.  

From a strong starting point you can create goals and objectives aimed at realizing your vision. As your project evolves, changes will naturally occur. Don’t worry if your initial idea becomes something else, this happens all the time.  

Image source: Pexels.


Project planning – how are you going to get there? 

Your vision and roadmap may begin as a very ambitious project but as you enter the planning stage, you will begin to consider what needs to be done to meet your objectives. You will then examine whether or not your goals are realistically feasible.

In this phase, you will need to consider what you have access to including the financial, physical and human resources that you will need in order for your idea to materialize. How easily can you access them and will you need to find substitutes? Also, how will you source these resources and are there time limits involved? The answers to all of these questions will affect your project’s success. When considering tasks, resources and other activities in your plan, it is useful to ask yourself, ‘what am I doing and why am I doing it?’.

Image source: Pexels.


Project execution – realizing your project

A successful photoshoot relies on detailed planning to ensure nothing is forgotten before arriving on location. The plan developed in the previous phase of the project is a very useful tool and should be referred to often. The plan can be edited and updated as the project progresses and a workflow system is strongly recommended to help with the smooth execution of the project.  

Never underestimate the volume of preparation that is needed to complete a successful photoshoot. Everyone involved in the project should be aware of what is happening, when it is happening and what their role is on the day. Post-shoot editing and file management plus delivery of the final product is also a crucial part of this phase and needs careful consideration.

If you have a workflow system in place, ensure that everyone involved has access to it.

Image source: Pexels.


Project close-out – a successful journey? 

When photoshoot and post-production work are complete, there are still several administration and evaluation tasks that need attention. These can include:

  • Balancing the books;
  • Drawing down final stage payments; 
  • Lodging money to the bank;
  • Finalizing any outstanding bills; 
  • Thanking everyone involved in the project 

Image source: Pexels.


Sponsors and funders may expect a formal or informal report which should have been confirmed at the beginning of the project. In the report you may be asked to include all media coverage and monies received plus, you may need to update your website with a post-project brief including images and acknowledgments.

Finally, you need to consider what happens with your project documentation. For example, will you need to archive material, is there post-marketing campaign material needed or sponsor reports and website content? Also, some documents and images may require safe storage for a period of time following the completion of the project. 



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Written by: Eduardo Rios

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