Planning a photoshoot when you’re first starting out with your Instagram or blog can seem like an impossible task. There are so many little bits and pieces to be organized and thought through when planning a photoshoot before heading out with your camera. What to wear? How many looks to shoot? Where and when to take photos? Planning a photoshoot can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but the truth is with just a small amount of planning and effort, the pay off can be huge.
Although candid content often times turns out the be the best, planning a photoshoot and working to create quality content is just as important for bloggers and content creators alike. Instagram feeds like Tatjana Catic‘s take hard work and dedication to create and curate the perfect pieces of content to share with the world.
In this article we’re going to walk you through the basics of answering those exact questions (and the many more) that you might face when trying to take photos.
Planning A Photoshoot 101: Finding A Photographer
One of the first things you should figure out when planning a photoshoot is who is going to take your photo. This might sound like a small detail, but take it from us when we tell you that whoever is behind the camera is going to dictate how well your photos turn out. There are a few options here, so don’t feel panicked if no one immediately comes to mind:
A good, mutually beneficial option for photographers is to reach out to other local bloggers when planning a photoshoot. Chances are, that girl/guy also needs someone to take their photos, and has the same goals and interests as you when it comes to Instagram. Shooting with other bloggers is especially convenient because they’re more willing to go through outfit changes and the time and effort it takes to get “the shot.”
True story, when we first started out on Instagram, we worked with a local student photographer at New York University when planning a photoshoot. We found him on Instagram and, considering he was a student and not a professional photographer, his rates were super affordable. Despite not being a “pro,” his photos were incredibly good, almost magazine quality. Relationships like these are also mutually beneficial business relationship in the sense that the photographer gets to build their portfolio and make a profit, while in turn, you get high quality photos and in most cases, even some editing help.
Friends & Family
The friends are family option is a little bit tricker when planning a photoshoot. If you have a specific creative vision for the shot, be sure to give them LOTS of direction and hold their hand through the shooting process. When we shoot with a friend behind the camera, we’re sure to hold the camera is a specific position for them to set up the angle, and then jump into the frame. It’s also best to instruct your stand-in “photographer” to take as many photos as their finger can press the button to take. This way it gives you a bunch of options, which increases the chances of you finding “the shot.”
Planning A Photoshoot 101: Outfit & Creative Planning
Outfit planning is hands down the most important part of planning a photoshoot. In a lot of cases, the outfit will dictate when and where you take a photo, and sometimes who’s taking it. For example, if you want to shoot a sparkly top with a flash, you need to wait until after dark to get the desired effect and will need to use an iPhone flash or a photographer who has an external flash for their DSLR camera.
If you ask most influencers and bloggers, they very rarely shoot one single look when planning a photoshoot. In most cases, outfit photos are being taken 2-3 looks at a time. This allows you to feed plan and stock up on photos so you don’t have to shoot every day to have content. If you’re in a city like LA, it’s as easy as packing up your car with different clothes, bags and accessories. If you’re in New York, though, it means packing a bag and outfit changing in public bathrooms. Somehow we make it work, and believe me, the work is worth it when you’re able to take days off from shooting.
Concept & Pose Planning
Concept and pose planning are often overlooked elements of planning a photoshoot. In our opinion, though, they’re some of the most important. We always check Pinterest or scroll through our saved posts on Instagram for inspiration/direction before heading out to take photos. Having a clear vision and goal before a photoshoot makes a huge difference in the quality and creativity of the final images.
We also highly suggest practicing your poses in each outfit before a photoshoot. Every piece of clothing requires a different pose to fully show it off. Practicing poses beforehand can also help to eliminate any awkwardness and cut down on shoot time. Knowing your angles is one of the most important piece to a good photo, so the more you practice, the better you’ll get! Something to keep in mind is concept and pose planning also help to achieve a better, more cohesive Instagram feed overall.
Timing & Sunlight
When planning a photoshoot, always be mindful of the light. Early morning, mid afternoon and at golden hour (before sunset) are the ideal times to shoot outdoors. Mid-day, the sun is directly overhead, casting super harsh shadows on the face. When figuring out when to shoot, try to keep lighting and the sun in mind for the best results!
If you have to shoot when the sun is harsh, be sure to bring along a reflector. Reflectors help to bounce the light from the sun onto your face, eliminating shadows. This photography tool essentially looks like a piece of soft tinfoil, is affordable and can easily be found on Amazon. Do note, though, that if you’re planning to use a reflector, you’ll have to bring along both a photographer and a second person to hold the reflector.
Another aspect of timing that plays into when and where to shoot is foot traffic. If you plan to shoot in a busy area, try to get out there early morning to avoid having too many other people in your photos.
At the end of it all Planning a photoshoot can be as intricate or laid back as you want to make it. Sometimes, a perfectly directed editorial style photoshoot is what you’re looking for, while in other cases you might want some more candid style content. In either case take the time to put effort into planning a photoshoot pays off big time with quality content. Head to the Wolf Blog for more great advice to help you take your content to the next level!