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Creating a Photo Shoot

There are a lot of people out there who are looking to do photo shoots. Models, Photographers, Make-up artist are all trying to find new creative opportunities. However it’s not always easy to get a photo shoot from idea to final image. This is a little guide to help you develop a shoot from concept to final product.

Choose a theme/concept



Firstly pick a theme, concept, idea or object to build your shoot around. Some things you can base your theme around are:

-          Locations like a local nature reserve or rundown building.

-          Clothing items like a top hat, bomber jacket or blue jeans.

-          Fashion styles like street wear, steam punk or disco.

-          Seasons.

-          Colours, emotions, elements and other non-physical concepts.

-          An image, photo, artwork or art style.

Be clear about what your theme is and narrow it down to a few words because that will help you with the next part.

Do research and make a Pin board

Pinterest is your best friend when planning and researching a photo shoot. Pinterest lets you collect photos and links from the internet into one easy to browse page.

Make a Pinterest board for your shoot and then fill it with ideas. Start but typing your theme’s key words into Pinterest’s search engine and then pick the photos that fit what you want to do. Pay attention to the words that you start to see frequently in the descriptions and start adding them to your search. Also when you click on a pin you will see related pins underneath the current one. Follow the pins related to images that really fit your theme and if get stuck just go back to the original search and start again.

When you think you have run out of things on Pinterest then head over to these website and search through them:

-          500px: A photo sharing site for photographers. It’s full of amazing photos and it’s very easy to search.

-          DeviantArt: One of the first social media sites for creative people. There is a massive library of images here with a huge variety of themes and ideas. (Warning: there is a lot of NSFW images on DA. Search with filters.)

-          Flickr: The biggest photo sharing community on the internet. It is very hit or miss but worth a quick look.

-          Google image search: There are lots of blogs and websites that talk about fashion and photography. A deeper understanding of how to use Google searches will change the way you create.

Once you have been through all these look at your board and try and weed out the pins that don’t fit. Look for the patterns and try to define the key components that you will use to make your shoot happen. It could be a colour, a piece of clothing, lighting style, effect, prop or location that will be help define what your shoot looks like. Once you identify this you can move onto getting prepared for your shoot.

Plan location and schedule

Now you know where you are going do, find a location that you think will give you the look you want. To find locations it helps to be very familiar with your local area. Keep an eyes open for places that fit the theme as you are working on it. Use Google Searches and Google Street View to hunt around. Ask around as well, not just with other photographers but also with your friends and family as they may know about a place that no one has used before.


You also need to work out a time line for your shoot. What time of day is going to be best? What time during the week are you normally available? What time of year would be best? (Bikinis in winter are not the best). Outline some times and dates that you can work so when you start talking to other creatives you can sync up your calendars.

Gather resources

Find the resources you need to get this shoot off the ground. Models will need to find their outfits, photographers they technical equipment and make-up artist their consumables but anyone can organise props, vehicles or effects for the shoot.

Search op-shops, Facebook buy, swap and sell pages, eBay and Etsy for the things you need. Make them yourself or find someone who can make it for you. Talk to people about what you want and you may get ideas for things you never knew you needed.

Reach out to other creatives

Now it is time to bring in people with the skills you need to make this shoot a reality. Put all that you have together in a package you can present via email and then contact the people you would like to work with. Be polite, be professional and present your best case for the shoot.

This has been left until last because having everything else sorted will help you here. If you appear organised and committed you are more likely to attract talented people to your project.

This is not a hard and fast rule, but I would, at least, have a pin board ready before talking to someone about your idea. Having someone join you in the creative process in the early stages gives both of you ownership of the ideas. They can also give you more resources to draw on and the potential for a greater end result.

We all love making great images and being part of something creative and beautiful. That is why we do what we do. I encourage you to think big, do your research, gather your resources and then find your team so you can continue to make amazing things.

Damian WallsComment