Words mean what we want them to mean, what we think they mean, or what we would like them to mean. Language is fluid, and nobody (least of all me) owns any sort of controlling interest. We all have to do the best we can with what's available, and live with it - though nobody says we have to like it. Who here would object to the validity of the strange and (apparently) meaningless expression "shoot the breeze"?
Originally Posted by Jim Noel
"A shoot" was originally a collective activity (like "a picnic") wherein a group of shooters, beaters, loaders and dog-handlers went out for a day of shooting at game - probably in vehicles called "shooting brakes". [Incidentally, I first typed "hooting at game" - maybe I should have left it uncorrected. Hooting bakes, anyone?]
The term then transferred (via "shot" coming to mean "photograph taken") to the collective activity wherein a photographer (with models, stylists, assistants and so on) gathered for a session of photography, whether in a studio (with lights: a Hot) or on location (with flashing: a Hoot). Amateur photographers who don't have the stylists, assistants and so on can quite legitimately engage in or embark on "a shoot" all by themselves. It's still a hoot.