photoshoot planning

Creating Your Call Sheet

call sheet example

A call sheet is a document with all of the information that you and your crew will need do know before, during (and even after) a photoshoot — things like contact information, location details, your concept and timeline.

This master sheet is important to have when you’re working with a big crew or producing film, but it’s also really helpful for smaller photoshoots with just a few people involved. By making this part of your toolkit, you can keep yourself organized while impressing clients and making things easy for everyone you’re working with. It’s an easy extra step to take, especially if you have a template.

Some important details a call sheet might include:

  • important contact information

  • date, day of week, time

  • location details — Where are you meeting? Will there be any secondary locations? You might also include a Google Maps link, parking options, etc.

  • names of people involved — Let people know what to expect. List the names of your crew, talent, hair/makeup and anyone else who will be part of your project. (You don’t have to include everyone’s contact information — this could get confusing.)

  • timeline — What’s your arrival time? When will be you setting up, and when do you want to start shooting? Will there be any breaks? When’s wrap-up? You might also want to include here whether there will be coffee or breakfast provided when you get there, what you will be doing for lunch, etc. Indicate whether certain members of your team can arrive at different times.

  • concept — Include a briefing of your concept. You might also want to provide an attachment or link to a more detailed mood board.

  • wardrobe — Detail any outfits that models should bring themselves, and whether there’s anything to be avoided.

  • special instructions — A section with any other important details that people should know.


Defining Your Concept: Tips for Creating a Mood Board

The first step to preparing for a photoshoot is to define your concept. If you have a general vision, but you're not exactly sure how to articulate or execute it, a mood board will help.

Simply put, a mood board is a collage of inspiration to be used as a reference point before and during your photoshoot. It will help you clarify your vision while getting the rest of your team on the same page.

Some tips for putting one together:

1. It’s helpful if you have lots to pull from when it comes time to decide on your concept, so you should always be collecting images and sources of inspiration. Collect tear sheets, save images to a folder on your desktop, make use of your screenshot tool, and take lots of pictures on your phone. Even if you’re not sure where or when you’ll use it, if you see something that inspires you, save it for later.

Programs like Evernote will let you store everything in one place — photos, notes, articles, lists — and then organize your files with folders and tags (check out this article on using Evernote for mood boards).

2. Have a visual reference point for every aspect of your shoot: hair, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, models, model poses, and props. If you’re working with a team, it can be helpful to dedicate a section of your mood board to each member of your team — your stylist, makeup artist, model, etc.

3. Start with a folder, Pinterest board, etc. with all of your sources of inspiration, and then edit it down to a cohesive final mood board. Don’t overwhelm yourself (or your team) with too many images. You can simply arrange your photos on a page in Photoshop, or use an online tool such as Moodboard,, Niice, or Pixelboard.

mood board examples