What Are Call Sheets & Why You Need to Use Them?

What Are Call Sheets & Why You Need to Use Them?

What’s a Call Sheet?

  1. A call sheet is a simple but effective tool that helps you to adhere all the different photo shoot parameters (= info) you negotiated and fixed with your model & crew.
  2. The sheet contains organizational matters; it’s not the contract(s).
  3. It contains all decided upon and prescribed settings you will need for the shooting date.
    In short, it summarizes tasks, times, special agreements, contacts, and more in one written document.

Why You Need a Call Sheet?

  1. Even if the planned shoot will “only” consist of the model and you, the sheet will record and reflect the most important specs: date, time, location, type of shoot, outfits etc.
    It’s absolutely essential that you and your model have all the production data located in one simple spot.

Call Sheets are an extract from a photo shoot setup - Dan Hostettler

What’s on my Call Sheets?

The content of my call sheets varies depending on whether I’m about to book a model for a workshop or a production.
Key data for workshops are mostly less extensive than those for large productions. All in all these are the specs you should have noted down and distributed to your model & crew:

  1. Date
    In order to avoid errors (or typos), use figures and words so the others can cross-reference your data. As example (Europe): Saturday, 13.6. (June) 2015
  2. Address
    Very detailed! If the location is hard to find: Come up with easy to follow directions! Provide an additional website link, Google Maps link etc. Leave no room for excuses why they couldn’t find it and showed up too late! Inform about parking spots and how to get there via public transportation.
  3. Call time
    What time the respective persons need to be on-site (can vary depending on the roles). If unsure, always calculate an additional 15 minutes time margin that requires them to show up earlier than necessary. But don’t tell them!
  4. Wrap up time
    Plan generously. Better set the shoot’s wrap up time 30 minutes later than it actually will be. It’s a good feeling for everybody if you wrap up earlier. But most of the time you will make use of that additional spare time anyway…
  5. Type of work (Model)
    Implied nudes, frontal nudity, Playboy style etc. This certainly was already agreed upon during the negotiation and separately recorded in the contract as well. However, it’s simply a good idea to have it present in the overview once again.
  6. Special preparation agreements met with the model.
    Washed hair, nail design (neutral, extravagant, special color or length etc.), trimmed/none pubic hair etc.
  7. Special preparation agreements met with the model/stylist.
    Outfits, accessories etc. – Attach mood/decision board copy.
  8. Bring ID/Passport (Model)
    Always remind the model to bring her ID documents. This is obvious and they always do. But just in case she forgets it: You have proof you wrote it and addressed it to her.
    It’s all about the contract signing & ID shot (securing your investment).
    No ID shot = no money.
  9. Breaks, Food & Beverages
    Clarify whether you will provide beverages & snacks/meals during breaks – if any.
    This information is a highly important to your team/model!
  10. Contacts
    Cell phone and emails from all crew members. Please read Tip 1 under “Distributing & Handling”.

Model Call Sheet to Czech Playmate Coxy Dominika

If you are putting together a dedicated call sheet for your model, you can additionally add:

  1. Working type agreed upon as per model contract
  2. Contract type (the contract you agreed upon, mainly what is the usage policy of the photos)
  3. Agreed fee
  4. Additional outfit/accessories
  5. Whether MU&H artist will be available on-site or if the model has to apply this herself.
Photo Production Call Sheet To Make Up Artist Aneta LozkovaCYMERA_20150613_003500

Distributing & Handling Your Call Sheet

  1. A call sheet is commonly distributed via email.
  2. Tip 1: The sheet shows contact details of the full crew. For me this comes in handy in case I need to contact people in a pinch situation – all contact info is available in one paragraph…
    But beware: Sometimes you pull together a new crew, meaning you set up a team with people who never worked together before. So out of privacy reasons (!) you first must ask the different members if it’s OK to reveal their data to all other members. For you it’s a necessity to have data cramped together, but you can’t send them just to peoples email’s via CC.
  3. Tip 2: Take the call sheet(s) to the set. Print it out, or have it at least present on your phone/pad.
    In my opinion it is needless to mention this because this is the data you need for yourself. However, it can also become very helpful if discussions about agreements flare up. You can always rely on the document you’ve sent to the respective parties.
    BTW: I always have a printed version with me. It’s just way more handy than having it on an electronic device (in taxi, handing it over to an assistant, Pad is used for tethered shoot etc).

More Insights, Best Practices & Checklists: Photo Shoot Production Blueprint

Tutorial: “Glamour Nudes: Shooting Blueprint. Concept, Planning, Shoot, Legal.”

Tutorial: ‘Playboy Glam & Artistic Nudes Photo Production’

7 Films. 133 Min Runtime. FullHD
Follow A Complete Production Process: Prep & Shoot. 5 Sets! Starring Czech Playmate Coxy Dominika.
Photo Shoot Blueprint: Get a detailed overview about all steps of a photo production process: Concept, Planning, Art Direction, Implementation, Full Tech Specs, Secrets & Results. Observe, feel and learn from this extremely detailed glam & artNUDE production by following Dan’s single steps. Consider this tutorial a glimpse into a private workshop from the comfort of your home.


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Dan Hostettler

A traveler at heart, inspired by women, working along Swiss precision. Dan is a mediapreneur, photographer, author of several books and founder + Editor in Chief of SexyWomenPhotography.com.

Being a successful photographer for more than 15 years Dan got internationally published and featured on/in GQ Online, The India Times, FashionONE TV, FotoTV, GoodLight Mag, amongst many others. Dan is currently residing and working in Prague, CZ.

Dan will talk about his projects, provide insights in shootings & concepts, produce webinars, create Academy content, explain styles, emphasize the importance of working with models and any other exciting topic he discovers along the way.

What details do you put in your call sheets?

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