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  • Writer's pictureCraig Thatcher

Tom Campbell talks about the secrets for a successful photoshoot to Craig Thatcher


The conversation between fantastic Photographer Tom Campbell and Creative Director Craig Thatcher focuses on their collaboration on a photography project for Rapport. They discuss the special aspects of the project, including the supportive atmosphere, excitement, and adventure. They also highlight the importance of planning, finding the right locations, and working with the right people. Tom emphasises the need for problem-solving skills and being aware of the surroundings during a shoot. Craig adds that good communication and making people feel comfortable on a photoshoot are just two of the secrets for a successful photoshoot. They also mention the importance of time management and having a well-prepared team.


  • Collaboration and a can-do attitude create a positive and exciting atmosphere for a photography project.

  • Planning and finding the right locations are key to achieving the desired results.

  • Working with the right people, including assistants and models, is crucial for a successful shoot.

  • Problem-solving skills and being aware of the surroundings are important during a shoot.

  • Good communication and making people feel comfortable contribute to better photographs.

  • Time management and preparation are essential for a smooth and efficient photo shoot.

"Champion projects are attained with teamwork and communication, build trust and rapport with your teammates and you will vanquish.” Tom Campbell, Photographer

Sound Bites

  • "There was a real can-do attitude."

  • "People wanted to help and support each other."

  • "We aspired to create quality work and to be collaborative."


00:15 Special Aspects of the Rapport Project

03:03 Interest in New Buildings and Company Culture

04:11 Collaboration and Flexibility in Planning

05:10 Testing Light Sources and Using Wooden Boxes

06:30 The Importance of a Good Team

09:11 The Three Stages of Photography

11:11 Client Focus: Planning, Locations and People

13:06 Legal Considerations: Model Release Forms

15:27 Making People Feel Comfortable

19:02 Experience and Team Dynamics

20:03 Conclusion

Learn more?

Contact Craig today to learn more about how we can help you or discover how our digital marketing team developed the new website for Rapport. 


Transcription FROM TALK about the secrets for a successful phoTOshoot

Craig Thatcher (00:15.771)

You've worked on a lot of client projects in the past in terms of doing photography assignments. What's been special about the one that we worked on together for Rapport, do you think?

Tom Campbell (00:29.901)

I think what was special about it was...

Yeah, we'll serve.

collaborative atmosphere from everyone involved through, you know, all the creatives, myself, Nick, yourself, right the way through to the people we were photographing and the sort of clients themselves. There was a real sort of can do attitude.

that came across, people wanted to help and to support and it felt there was a general excitement around what we were creating. We were also in new buildings which helped. It helped to create a sense of excitement. What's next? Adventure, new beginnings, the future, you know, aspiration. So.

I think everyone involved in the project.

Tom Campbell (01:43.561)

looked at it with a sense of adventure. Yeah, I mean, I've mentioned excitement three times now, but I think people were generally excited about being part of something and creating something new and creating strong brand company vibe that, you know, would vanquish the opposition or the competitors, you know, it's about, you know,

Craig Thatcher (01:55.995)


Tom Campbell (02:14.153)

producing work that is quality and we did that and you know everyone involved in the project you know aspired to create quality work and to be collaborative and to be nice and to work hard to get great results which we did.

Craig Thatcher (02:32.987)

Yeah, I agree with that.

Tom Campbell (02:34.696)

It was a big team, there was lots of people involved and yeah, it was just a very positive sense. The sunshine helped, I remember a couple of days it was really sunny. Generally when it's sunny people are in a good mood and it just went well. The new buildings were good. I've personally photographed a lot of my client base is construction companies and people who work in real estate.

property developers, architects, retail companies and you know throughout my 20 -year career I've taken an interest in the built environment so when I'm presented with a new building I'm generally interested, I'm intrigued, I'm curious.

So yeah, and you know, I go to a lot of businesses and you can pick up on company culture. You can pick up on how smooth a company operates by their sort of operation on the, you know, right from security guards on the outside dealing with, you know, concierge in the loading bay right the way through.

Tom Campbell (04:02.001)

So yeah, it was exciting and adventurous to feel like you were part of something new.

Craig Thatcher (04:11.227)

I agree with you in terms of looking at the buildings. They set the backdrop, don't they? The environment, but actually it's the people that make the operation work so well. And Rapport are really very good at what they do. So that came across in terms of the way the days were organized. But what I wanted to cover off with you was actually what I enjoyed about working with you most really on this project, because...

The photography came out of writing the copy for the website and that provided the brief for you and I. So we had several detailed planning meetings, didn't we? And we did a reconnaissance which helped select the best sites. And then on the day of each of the film shoots, sorry, not the film shoots, the photographic shoots, we had a walk around each of the sites as well.

because we had to remain quite flexible, didn't we? Some of the order of the shots that we took, we had to change because things were going on. And what I enjoyed was the flexibility that you showed and the communication with your assistants. I mean, there were two assistants, plus yourself, plus me on the shoot. And what I really enjoyed was testing the different light sources to achieve the best results. It was all very fast.

and having the tethered Mac there so that the client who was also there for some of the time could see the shots actually taking place was really, really, really useful. And the last thing, those wooden boxes that you've got, they're like, what do you call them? Wooden egg crates or something, apple boxes, you know, just to make it quick and easy to change the relative heights of.

Tom Campbell (05:55.215)


Tom Campbell (06:00.463)


Craig Thatcher (06:08.475)

people when they're standing together or get better angles. And I thought they were really useful because actually moving around a site, taking still shots, we had to cram a lot in. And the setup and the breakdown has to be very fast, doesn't it, on a photo shoot? Otherwise you don't just get the shots you need.

Tom Campbell (06:09.935)

Thank you.

Tom Campbell (06:30.83)

Yeah, what I will say about my team is that, you know, several years ago when we came out of lockdown and work started to pick up for me, I interviewed several assistants over Zoom and Mike, who was first assistant on both the Rapport days, I interviewed him and we've, you know, I use Mike a lot because he's a great assistant and, you know, he generally takes interest, he's calm, he's consistent and, you know,

That's a big part of a winning team is working with teammates, people you're comfortable working with, people that you know. It's a team. Teams build trust, communication, patience, and that's what it's about. The other second assistant, I've known one of them, Tom Buller, he's actually the son of a photographer I used to assist in.

Mike has actually been assisting Paul Buller now. So, you know, it's a...

it's a small industry and you know...

Paul who I learned a hell of a lot from back in 2006 when I assisted him, he phoned me up a couple of weeks ago and said do I know any good assistants? I recommended Mike. So, you know, it's a lot of successful teams and successful work comes from quality people and you know.

Tom Campbell (08:12.556)

It's, you know, people make businesses and that's precisely, you know, you can apply that to a report because it's a people business. It's, you know, how you greet someone, how you deal with people. So, so yeah, it's, you know, and award -winning teams are, you know, they're about people as well. You know, we got to know each other slowly, Craig, and, you know, then we worked on this together and it was great. It was a fantastic project. So.

Craig Thatcher (08:43.035)

Now, I have enjoyed working with you on it. That team spirit, that good communication actually on those days was actually vital. But I mean, just like filming photography is made up of three parts, you know, pre -production, the planning, detailed planning, and then the production days where you're actually doing the shoes, and then the post -production, the editing and the Photoshop or Photoshopping of the images afterwards. You know, there's those three stages that make up.

a good end result really. And I have to say that I was really pleased with the photography. You know, it was tough getting some of those shots, but actually we did it and they look fantastic on the website, which is the most important thing. Because for me, a lot of clients don't understand quite what goes into getting shots. You know, there's lots of people now who've done photography degrees.

who are competent photographers, but actually when it comes to getting the right shots, you need to know what you need to get, how to get it in the time frame that you've got in which to get it. And that takes a team effort. That's not something you can just sort of...

Tom Campbell (09:56.425)

for questions.

Tom Campbell (10:00.489)

It's yeah, 20 years experience working in the industry. But you know, it's like AI now. People just click a button and make the sky blue. You can, but you need to know what's the prompt the software with. And that comes from experience. You know, there's no real.

Craig Thatcher (10:04.475)


Craig Thatcher (10:15.323)

Yeah. So...

Tom Campbell (10:20.168)

quick fix to any award winning projects. You know, things might appear, you know, they take minimum amount of time, but you still got to get to the job, prep it, assess it, work with the people, direct people, especially if you're working with real people, you need to know how to speak to people and know how to direct.

Craig Thatcher (10:42.599)

Well, I've made a list of some of the things that I think are important that clients need to focus on to get the best out of their photography really. So I was just going to sort of go through those, I'm sure, given that your experience, you've got some others as well. But for me, the most important is allow plenty of time for planning the photo shoot, because if you don't plan, you can't always get the shots that you want.

you want. I mean, there's a certain amount of flexibility that you have to build into the plan. But if you don't have a plan to start with, it's hopeless. I think finding the right locations is key. We were so pleased with the rapport locations because they gave the right feeling for what we want to get across. The new website had to look less formal in terms of people, but also a very contemporary design. So you can have a

contemporary design for the website, but if what you're shooting, the shots themselves don't look contemporary, there's a bit of a clash there. So I was really pleased with the locations we got. I think for me, and this is something that clients underestimate, is actually getting the right people to the shoots on time. And what I mean by that is allowing for their diaries. A lot of clients will use colleagues.

You know, some of them are on holiday, some of them on shifts. Some clients use actors, so that's a little bit easier because you can just sort of pay for their time. But I think clients often underestimate how difficult it is to get the right people there at the right time. I think also they underestimate just how much time it takes to set up and break down for different shots. So on the face of it, they always want to get more shots out of a day. And for me,

they should always attend a photo shoot because there's sometimes there are detail that you and I just are not quite aware of which they can spot and that's why having You know the the Mac tethered to your your camera was fantastic to see those shots and then finally and this is a legal point, but this is about getting models of Rapport ambassadors to sign model release forms. So there's no legal comeback regard their images and that's something that

Tom Campbell (13:02.596)

Mm -hmm.

Craig Thatcher (13:06.875)

That I know you take for granted, but actually you'll be surprised how many clients don't do that and it can lead to problems So that's my list Have you got any others that you would add?

Tom Campbell (13:21.634)


Tom Campbell (13:26.691)

I think the ability to problem solve is quite important. You know, anything from... I know there was... When we went upstairs...

at the Victoria shoot, we didn't have a pass to get into the glass atrium room, so it was all about communicating with people on the ground to get everything up. Just a can -do spirit that, you know...

Tom Campbell (14:03.809)

It would be, you know, I'm sure photographers early on in their career would freak out, you know, because they couldn't get access to a space. But you've just got to stay calm and communicate. Communication is key and be polite. And, you know, that's why I'm a sort of big advocate for exercise is because, you know, exercise helps me keep a balanced temperament. You know, if you if you're on the clock and.

two models have got to go at three o 'clock and you know you can't get into the room and it's quarter three you just stay calm and you've got to be a people person read the room know when to press people you know on stuff but do it in a polite way it's I think the awareness is key there's a good saying on awareness I'll have to look it up.

and send it to you, I might add it to my quote, but you've got to be aware, you've just got to be aware of what's going on, whether it's taping cables down so people don't trip up, or making sure everyone's got a security pass signed in. Just be on the ball, match fit, and show up.

Craig Thatcher (15:27.963)

I think there's one more I wanted to add to that really. And this is not something that a lot of clients think about. And that is as a photographer and as a credit director, we need to have the social skills to, if you like, make people feel relaxed in front of a camera. You know, when you point a stills camera at some people or a film camera at them, it can make them feel uncomfortable, make them tense, and it doesn't get the best out of them. And what I noticed when working with you is,

Tom Campbell (15:51.969)

Yeah, it comes in. Yeah.

Craig Thatcher (15:57.595)

how good you are at making people feel comfortable because if they do feel comfortable then they'll perform better, they'll look better on the shot, they'll look more relaxed, they'll look more authentic. So that's a skill that you don't necessarily acquire overnight. It's something that you have to develop.

Tom Campbell (16:08.961)


Tom Campbell (16:17.153)

Yeah, and through after doing photography for 20 years, mainly photographing real people, you learn to prepare, prepare, prepare. And, you know, that's why you suggest to people that they bring a few different outfits. So they know what to expect. Basically, it says what it says to them is this guy, his team knows what they're doing. We trust him. And that's what it is, trust, you know, and then you're able to direct people.

Craig Thatcher (16:40.123)

Yep. Yep.

Tom Campbell (16:46.561)

say you know maybe we should try a different outfit to stay there and just got to be quick. You know people don't have, people aren't that, you know people have a, unless you're a professional model, real people have about an hour's energy with a photo shoot and then they drift off, which is understandable you know they're not doing it every day but you've got to maximise on that time you know and to maximise you prepare.

Craig Thatcher (17:12.859)

Yep. That's.

Tom Campbell (17:14.433)

So yeah, it's little things as well. Like if you know you've got a full day shooting and you want fresh batteries in all your kit, because you don't want to be messing about changing batteries halfway through the winning shot. You want to make sure that everything's fresh and ready to go.

Craig Thatcher (17:33.947)

that you make a very good point. A lot of people see sort of models and photo shoots as very glamorous, but I mean, most of the time people are sitting around waiting, aren't they? And then they've got to concentrate. And if you're not used to doing it every day, yeah, you have a 45 minutes, an hour's window of concentration, then your mind starts wandering and then they don't do what they're asked to do in quite the right way. So yeah, that's a very good point.

Tom Campbell (17:48.129)


Tom Campbell (18:04.033)

Yeah, and you've got to communicate with people. You've got to say, look, right, we need 20 minutes to set the shot up. Just bear with, as soon as we're ready, we'll pull you in. And, you know, just talk to them. I tend to talk to a lot of my subjects, get them relaxed, and just for photography, just, you know, all the technical stuff, sort of like 5 % of what I do, you know. So yeah, but you know, you've just got to, you know, surround yourself with a good team. But yeah.

Craig Thatcher (18:26.235)



Tom Campbell (18:33.761)

you know, it's experience as well, you know, like little things like knowing that we should bring a selection of apple boxes and that will allow us some flexibility with composing the shots. It's just, you know, little things make a big difference. You know, you don't want to be sort of scrabbling around on the day to get someone an extra two inches in height because, you know, what are you going to find? And they're going to be uncomfortable if you just, you need stuff on hand and on set and to be ready.

Craig Thatcher (19:02.875)

Yep, they work really very well. Simple things, but actually you're right. They give you that flexibility. Well, unless you can think of anything else, I think we've covered everything that I wanted to. Yes, that's it.


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