Helllooo! If you’re here that probably means you’re either a blogger, photographer, model or one of my Mom’s friends. *My Mom and her friends are the most loyal followers I have, swear.
This is Part One of a highly requested series explaining how I prepare for photoshoots. All of these steps are somewhat interchangeable depending on the circumstances of your photoshoot…
Of course, the obvious is that you need to secure a photographer with a style that compliments what your aesthetic is. After that I follow three main steps to ensure that no one’s time (or money) is wasted.
Step One: Communication
This is definitely the most important step in the whole process. First things first… An example, I know that moody portraits are VERY big in my area right now, so I’m sure that I tell photographers who tend to shoot that way that I’m 100% down to do that for them… HOWEVER, if I’m paying or if I’m giving them my time for free in exchange for content for their portfolio, I also want content that I’ll actually use too. Being upfront can be hard to get used to, but they’re not mind readers, photographers need to be told what you expect and most of the time they’ll appreciate it. If they don’t they’re probably not the photographer for you.
Second, (probably more for bloggers) I let them know that I’ll be putting my preset over their edits to keep my page flowing. Most photographers are cool with it, some get a little touchy- so I always let them know ahead of time that I will be making small edits. I also request that they don’t put any presets on the ones they send to me. I asked Amy, the girl who shot the pictures in this post, how to phrase this to other photographers… she basically told me to say “retouch all you want, just don’t make me look fake or put a filter on that renders it unusable to me.”
Lastly, I ask if they have any areas in mind or have any outfits/general looks that they are going for so I am able to take that into consideration when picking my outfits.
Step Two: Planning
I plan in three steps…. but they don’t necessarily always go in this order. Different circumstances may change up the positions of my planning phase.
1. Find an outfit…
Now this for me is S U P E R easy. I’ve built up a bank in my phone of about 10-12 photoshoot outfits that are ready to go at anytime. I recommend doing this in your downtime and saving them into a separate folder of your phone.
Usually based on my outfit or just what the photographer wants (in which case I pick my outfit second) the location is chosen. After that I usually pick a theme… examples would be coffee shop = lifestyle pics, shooting in the city = fashion editorial, etc… sometimes I do this after seeing inspiration on Pinterest (see next step). In this particular shoot featured in this post, the location was picked first. Since it was in a museum, I decided to take both casual and more high fashion looks. It made for cool shots and honestly seems like we were in two different locations.
3. Mood Boards
Based on the first two, whatever order they may actually go in, or sometimes when I’m just lurking on Pinterest, I create a mood board. To create the mood boards I the Instacollage app… from there they go into their own mood board folder (pictured above) until I use them.
I use my mood boards for three things. 1. Poses… I love studying poses. 2. Themes & inspiration 3. Location specific shots. I NEVER TRY TO MIMIC THE EXACT POSE, OUTFIT AND PICTURE. I USE THEM FOR INSPIRATION NOT IMITATION. I actually rarely use Pinterest or Instagram for outfit inspo because its easy to imitate an outfit and then I find I start to wear things that aren’t necessarily “me”.
Step Three: Collaboration
I use this term not to mean that I don’t pay for my shoots, I use it to mean that an important step in producing good content is collaborating to make a great shot.
It is important to collaborate and talk about your ideas before the shoot- discuss the location, send pictures of outfits you’re thinking about wearing… the more you bounce ideas off of and collaborate with one another before the shoot, the smoother things will go because you’ll be more comfortable. When you know that a plan is laid out, both parties know they’re going to get what they need, it’s more relaxing for everyone and it translates in the pictures.
I hope this was helpful! Any questions always feel free to reach out to me…
*All shots are taken by my photographer friend Amy in the Carnegie Museum is Art, you can find her Instagram that here.