Planning a photoshoot is literally one of my favorite things in the whole world. I planned over 40 in the last 3 years alone! Here are a few things I have learned and refined!
The last thing you want a day of is to be digging for outfits, running into terrible lighting or feeling awkward af in front of the camera.
You also want to avoid getting the images back and realizing that you shot in a rainbow of colors that are not on brand, but you just thought were cute.
Here’s how to avoid those mistakes and many many more.
Decide what the photos will be used for. Are they for a website, a blog, your social media? Are you launching specific products with these images? Are they for a campaign? Be as specific as possible, this will inform what outfits you buy and where you choose to shoot.
With the above in mind, write down at least 3 key words- these can be from your brand values or for your specific projects you’re using the images for.
Create a pinterest board, what do you want the overall experience to feel and look like. Add a lot of images in there- don’t worry, you will refine these later, dump it all in- so you can see over time what you’re attracted to. Give yourself a few weeks for this part.
Look at your Pinterest board- do you notice any themes? Styles of clothing, lighting, indoors, outdoors, in studio, natural light, artificial lighting?
Start inventorying your clothing and accessories, do you need to purchase specific items to match the trends you see in your board? What kind of flat lays does your brand need? This is the fun part- start shopping!
A few tips on wardrobe- find items that have movement, buy oversized, you can always use wardrobe clips in the back (and shhhh you can return those items), but you want movement and impact, if you’re stuffed in like a sausage and can’t cross your legs or dance around- you won’t have as much fun and that will show in the images!
A few tips on flat lays- what kind of images do you obviously think of? A laptop and calendar, pens on a desk, ok cool cool- do that, but what are some less obvious things you can add it that relate to your brand or personality? I recently saw Lawyer Chandler use playing cards in her images, and I had pop rocks and champaign- representing my wild rebellious nature… think outside the box with layers.
A few tips on accessories- Bring hats, jewelry, different kinds of shoes; boots, strappy, flats, heels.
Lastly- don’t be afraid to thrift for your shoot! I have found so many cute items to add to my styling that cost a few bucks and I donate them right back!
If you haven’t already, book a photographer/team who can fulfill this type of photoshoot. Make sure they have the same style, or that they are into the kind of work you’re asking them to do. Do not try to get your food photog friend to take lifestyle shots or hire a an event photographer to do branding shots, unless they specialize in both… But photographers are artists, they generally have a style, am aesthetic, and a type of photography they focus on and enjoy- you want to work with those photographers- that’s where the magic is! Share with them your intentions for your photos- how and where will they be used specifically. This is important because it will direct them on how to shoot the images, like portrait mode of landscape, close up details, vs lifestyle.
Usually this is done together with the photographer. You will likely agree on how many hours and how many locations. Going back to your vision board- are these indoor or outdoors? What is the distance, be sure to check in with the properties to make sure they allow personal photography on site. Many hotels, restaurants, etc will require you to pay a fee or book in advance. The photographer can help you choose based on your desired outcome what locations will work at what times, due to lighting, etc. If you leave the photographer out of this step- they will have to work in less than perfect conditions to try bring your vision to life- and that’s definitely not what you want.
Do you want a hair stylist, makeup artist, director, or assistant? Hire a makeup and hair stylist who match the vibe of what you want. If you like dewy, don’t hire someone who loves full coverage. If you want effortless hair, don’t hire someone super edgy- you get the deal.
If you feel fairly proficient at your own hair and makeup, amazing, but I would then recommend hiring an assistant or director to help shlep things around and make sure you’re not shiny or frizzy.
This is a pivotal moment because you still have time to order wardrobe and accessories, items for flat lays.
Get you a mani pedi. Get your hair done- nothing new, but make sure you have had your regularly scheduled touch up, maybe a nice toner and gloss.
Make sure the night before you pack early, sleep well 8 hours+, drink tons of water, moisturize, wear a hydration mask (maybe- if you’re not sensitive), visualize having the best and most perfectly aligned photoshoot.
Wear moisturizer, bring hydration and a snack, pack visine and your own foundation (just in case), and leave early. Refer to your pinterest boards for each location’s poses, vibe, hair + makeup and your phone album for wardrobe.
Let the team work their magic, stick to the plan, but also be flexible. In production there are always unexpected issues that arise- find your flow.
If this is a lot and you want some help to bring this all to life, you can me to direct your next shoot, we have a whole team to support you check out our upcoming dates in Miami LINK