Photoshoots play a huge role in my business as a blogger. In the beginning, the process of planning a shoot, pulling props together, and getting in front of the camera in public was so overwhelming and nerve racking. Today, it’s a very normal thing for me to do. Many of you have expressed your feelings about shooting in public and how you can get quite shy and nervous. To help alleviate some of those stressful feelings, I’m going to walk you through the process of how I plan for blog photoshoot. (For more photography tips, you can visit my blog tip archives.)
Every shoot starts with a concept especially if it’s a partnership with a brand. If you’re just starting out, I recommend you concept all your shoots until you’re comfortable enough to run out into the streets and snap away. Planning photography concepts and ideas can be helpful so that you capture the essence of what you intend.
When thinking about a concept, consider the following questions:
– Are you showcasing a clothing item, shoe, jewelry, or accessory?
– If the intent is lifestyle, is it travel, food, wellness, or beauty?
– What purpose do you want these images to serve?
– How do you want someone to feel when looking at them?
– Most importantly, what is the story?
Once you have your idea down, you can start creating mood boards or inspiration boards. Some of my favorite ways to mood board a shoot are through the following:
– Pinterest – I have plenty of inspo images you can start with here but note that all my photoshoot inspo boards are secret.
– Instagram – The archive/save feature is so useful and I love Instagram because it’s filled with creative talent.
– Magazine Tears – If you’re the creative type, rummage through your collection of magazines and tear out photos/editorials that inspire you, then tape them to a poster board.
– Google Images – Sometimes, finding the right images on Pinterest can get tricky especially if I want to try something new. That’s where I’ll turn to Google Images. The results are endless and I can usually throw all the images onto a Google Doc for reference.
– The top left image was shot for Nasty Gal for a July 4 promotion. I went for a lifestyle, celebratory feel. I thought pretzels would make a great prop because it is an American classic and favorite. Plus, the bridge is pretty iconic of the U.S.
– The top right image was not a sponsored post. However, I was traveling to Greece and planned to do an Instagrammable Spots and Travel Guide post. I knew neither would be complete without a monumental shot of the blue domes!
– The image above (left) was from a Mother’s Day story for David Yurman. You can see Hazel in the background because kids play a huge role in Mother’s Day. The focus was the jewelry and bond between a mother and her child – both were captured in this image.
– The photo to the right above was a beauty concept for Clinique. The damp hair, mirror shot, and product in hand leaves no lingering questions.
As you can see, concept plays a huge role in how I plan my photoshoots. It’s a great way to refine your photo-taking process.
Location & Props
Now that you have a concept, start brainstorming locations and props needed to fulfill the shoot.
If you’re creating a beauty story, it’s important to showcase the product in its natural location. The photo right features an Olay body wash, so my bathtub makes perfect sense. Notice the cool and clean space – and how the towels, flowers, and shoes served as props to drive up a relaxing scene.
Now, let’s break down the location/props of the three photos below from left to right. The important thing to note is how the location/props tie back to the concept.
– The first image (bottom left) was driving up exposure for Fairmont Mayakoba x LIKEtoKNOW.it. What better way to endorse Fairmont Mayakoba than showing the natural environment and breathtaking sunset?
– The second image (bottom middle) was for Bortaga Hotels. Highlighting the stellar in-room service with a full breakfast spread sure is enticing!
– The last image (bottom right) tells the story of my trip to Venice. Of course I painted that picture with Venice cliches.
No concept is complete without styling. After you’ve conceptualized your photoshoot and dialed down to a few locations, it’s time to get the right clothes in place.
Ask yourself, should your outfit be trendy, clean and elegant, edgy, or androgynous? Often times, brands will include guidelines for styling, but when you’re just shooting an everyday look, it is your responsibility to make that decision. Think about colors, silhouettes, and patterns – and how they will sit in the scenery of your shoot. You always want to pick colors and styles that complement the backdrop.
And put together outfits that aren’t too distracting or similar to your surroundings. This could be an indicator that it’s time to go shopping for new outfits in order to have a successful shoot. At the same time, don’t be afraid to mix and match what you already have. I strongly feel that the styling piece will evolve and improve with time.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes.
That was a mouthful, so I’ll finish the segment next week with my ultimate shot list! Let me know how you plan for a blog photoshoot now – and if you’ll change your method going forward with my tips!