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Building a shot list is more than making a list of products. It should also take into consideration time of day, time per shot, location and number of views/scenarios needed and talent. An experienced art director can help develop a focused shot list that takes these things into account. It seldom all goes exactly according to plan and you have to be adaptable. A shot list is a goal and it's good to try and leave a little breathing room in it because you'll probably need it.
One way is to start with an AM and PM session and divide your products or location set ups into each. How many things or places can we cover in AM? How many in PM? Can we group our AM locations together to minimize travel time? How many shots can we realistically do in an hour? Are there mandatories? Are there specific views needed like overhead or 3/4 side? Are there specific croppings needed? Those need to be on the list. Assign talent to each shot and group them into one session if possible.
Another way is to group it by location. We'll do a half day at A, a half day at B and a full day at C and then see if you can fit your shots into the time allotted to each location.
Use Excel and set up a spreadsheet and you can sort by location, by day, by session, by talent and adjust as needed. With large shoots on location, you may even want to set up a cheap printer at the hotel, so you can make updates and give everyone a hard copy.
You can make it as detailed as you want. Some people like that. Some people like to be loose and just say make it look cool. As the client, it's up to you, but if you have specific needs, its best to communicate them before the shoot and a shot list will do that.
And add some references and be sure to discuss with your photographer. The photographer will be able to tell you how to make it even more efficient or whether its totally unrealistic and why.
If you are an art director or designer and are going to handle post processing and doing the retouching either yourself or with a professional retoucher then the answer could be yes. Otherwise, no.
Many photographers will refuse to give RAW files to anyone other than an agency or publication they can trust. Their reputations are on the line and unless you know what you're doing, you can make a big mess of a beautiful photo really quickly. Also the photographer may prefer to do the post processing themselves. And did I mention RAW files are really large compared to JPGs? You'll have to have hard drive space to store them and have a computer capable of even handling them.
In some cases the photographer may provide DNG files to an agency. DNG is Adobe's RAW format which allows a photographer to make adjustments and have them stay embedded in the file. In most cases though if you are not a designer, then JPGs are the way to go.
— Brian Bruzewski, Owner/Photographer, Doublebee Photo