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Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook

Jourdan Aldredge

When you’re pitching your next film or video project to investors and building a production team, a strong “lookbook” is key. Here’s what to include.

Cover image by SFIO CRACHO.

Making a film is hard work. It’s a round-the-clock job, and it takes energy and focus to assemble all the moving parts into one unified product. However, the more work you do at the very beginning of the process to define your vision, the more smoothly things will run during actual production.

One of the best ways is to put your vision to paper to share with potential investors, team members, and anyone else who will be involved. A “lookbook” is a great way to present your story, introduce your team, and share your vision.

So let’s look at the elements of an effective, professional film lookbook.


Basic Project Info

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Project Info
Image by Pogorelova.

Lookbooks can vary in size and vision. They can also vary in volume of text and images. However, whether you’re more of a writer or a painter, you must at least include the basic project info at the beginning. Here are a few elements to be sure to include:

  • Title
  • Logline
  • Synopsis
  • Character descriptions
  • Filmmaker/team bios

Inspiration and Images

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Inspiration
Image from Tangerine (via Magnolia Pictures).

Once you’ve arranged your preliminary information, the biggest purpose of your lookbook is to show off your project’s looks. If you’ve already done some test or spec footage (or photography), great — use that! If not, you can always draw from other sources to showcase what inspires you.


Color Palettes

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Color Palettes
Image by shipic.

Along with your images and inspirations, it’s often helpful these days to include the color palettes that you’d like to use to build your world. This will help with everything from prop, costume, and set design to camera choice and lighting setups.


Lighting Examples

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Lighting Examples
Image by J. Henning Buchholz.

As with your color palettes, sharing your lighting vision will be a huge benefit to your production team when you start storyboarding and deciding on gear. If you’re looking to shoot minimal, period-specific, or black and white, your team will need to make many different decisions early on to prep the lighting.


Locations

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Locations
Image by The Mogli.

You’ll also want to start outlining your ideal filming locations. If you already have exact locations set (and ideally secured), definitely include images of those. Or, if you’re relying on ideal locations, the more information you can share about what they need to look like, the better location-scouting and pre-production will go.


Camera and Lenses

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Cameras and Lenses
Image by ponsulak.

While it’s not always necessary to include in a lookbook, knowing your ideal camera and ideal lenses can really help the development of your look and style. Understanding the dynamics of different cameras and media — digital or film stock — is an important decision, and it should be part of your production process from day one.


Ideal Distribution Goals

Tips for Creating a Sleek and Professional Film Lookbook — Distribution
Image by Fer Gregory.

At the end of the day, when you’re going into a production, you should have clear goals for distribution upon completion. From investors to crew members to family and friends — if you can show that you have clearly defined goals, everyone will have more confidence in your project.

Here are some great resources to help with the design of your lookbook:

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