Embarking on a photoshoot can be quite nerve wracking. Here’s a few tips I learnt from my latest photoshoot with a professional photographer.
I’ve had 3 photoshoots for my blog and instagram over the past few years, and I’ve learnt so much from each of them.
Before that, I volunteered to be photographed by a student photographer (who did an amazing job) but I had no idea what style of photos I wanted, how I wanted to brand Penny’s Lane, now The great Cornish Outdoors, or what blog posts I would be using them for.
Looking back, I can’t believe I went in so blind. The most I did was plan what I was going to wear!
Given that photography is a big part of blogging, I’ve put together a guide to help you prepare for a photoshoot. Aside from outfit choice, there’s lots to think about before the day.
Plan, Plan, Plan
I like planning. I like lists. It’s no surprise that planning a photoshoot allowed me to harness my inner control freak as well as making me feel like I was being super efficient and productive.
My advice would to be plan as much as you can. I planned my photos around the blogging content I’d prepared in the weeks and months following the photoshoot. This helped me think about the photos I needed, specifically those I find hard to take myself.
I knew I wanted some coffee shop photos as I have yet to muster up the courage to take my own. There’s something more forgiving and acceptable about someone else taking your picture in public. Also, I wanted to emulate different aspects of life in Cornwall.
Aside from future blog posts, I also considered my Instagram. I wanted some stock photos that would look at home on my feed.
Influence and Inspiration
Instagram and Pinterest (oh, I love Pinterest) are wonderful inspiring places where ideas for blogging photos can be collected. I have a Pinterest board solely for Instagram inspiration and I add to it daily. Of course copying is a no-no – no one wants a clone but we are all visually influenced in some way. We all have styles we lean towards.
For my most recent shoot with Emily I sent her some photos as examples of what I was after. These included some from a previous shoot but also those from other bloggers who are acing the photography game.
These pictures weren’t all about the finished photo though. Some of these reflected the colours and mood I was looking for, while others were more specific in terms of layout and position. I also forwarded the my post on 6 blog posts to help you take better photos, so Emily had an idea of what I found visually inspiring.
Being the professional she is, Emily checked out my feed too and put together a mood board based on my influences and her own research.
Communicate, Talk, Chat, Share
While I didn’t speak to Emily directly, I spoke to her boss quite a few times. We clarified simple details like whether we would be shooting indoors or outdoors, the number of outfits I would be changing into, and any travelling required.
I gave an idea of the number of photos I’d probably need too. I’ve learnt from experience that I don’t need 30 photos of me wearing the same outfit, or of me in the same location. From here, the specifics were written up and we had a working agreement which helped shape the day.
Where you shoot your photos is so important. For me, I wanted to show different parts of my Cornish life, so finding independent retailers and a small, local coffee shops was essential.
It’s good to go somewhere familiar and know where the camera-friendly places are. On this occasion I pitched for Falmouth because it’s a diverse town with plenty of choice.
It’s also a coastal town (a main feature of my instagram and blog) and has plenty of pretty pastel and muted coloured houses. Essentially we were spoilt for choice. I knew that if one location wasn’t working out, we would easily find another.
Thankfully Emily was one step ahead when it came to venues. She kindly called a number of places to ask permission but I would’ve been willing to do this myself.
In my experience, most businesses are fine with it if you ask (& please do get permission). I tag all places and businesses where appropriate too. It’s a nice thing to do.
What To Wear?
Despite not having a style or fashion blog, I still planned outfits for the shoot as I didn’t want to be wearing the same thing all day. You don’t want to be working this out the night before either – think ahead. I decided I’d keep my wardrobe choices up to date and include some recent purchases to avoid repetition with previous photos.
Thinking about clothes meant thinking about colour schemes. I tend to wear greys and blues, and wanted to be in keeping with the colour scheme and the brand identity of Penny’s Lane. That said, I ended up wearing a bright jumper for some pictures (but with a blue skirt, so that’s ok).
Take Lots of Props
To say I took a few props is an understatement. I rocked up to this shoot with my wheelie bag bursting at the seams with everything bar the kitchen sink! You can’t have too many props. Much like food, I’d rather have too much than not enough!
I knew we’d be buying coffee, teas, cakes and lunch but brought with me statement jewellery, books, bags, my camera, an OS map, notebooks, sunnies, coin purses, pens, flowers and fruit.
Again, all this was down to considerable planning (I had a working list) and thinking about what I wanted in the photos. We actually ended up using all the props at some point on the day.
And Finally, Try and Relax
It’s not easy having your picture taken in public and I find relaxing the most challenging part. I prefer to do early mornings when there’s hardly anyone about, or I pick quieter places to avoid witnesses!
Sometimes it can’t be avoided though. Me and Emily took all the photo for my Spring Joys post at midday Falmouth’s busy High Street. Was it a bit embarrassing? Yes. Was I self-conscious? Totally.
But when it comes down to it, no one’s going to remember, and seriously, does anyone really care? My tip is to try and block out other people and smile like you’re a tourist. I think there are some places where people don’t bat an eyelid at things like this going on, and I would say Falmouth is one of them.
The reality is that doing a photoshoot doesn’t need to take very long. We had most of the day and made good use of the time but you can get lots done in an hour or two.
The most important thing is to try and enjoy it. Having your photo taken by a professional photographer is quite a special thing. Lets face it, you’re in safe hands.
Smile and enjoy it, the results outweigh the cringe factor.