How To Style and Plan Your Photoshoot

I recently decided to hire professional photographers to help me create content for my brand, and I think that part of a successful shoot is to plan and style your photoshoot. I’ve been really analyzing my business and what my pain points are, and honestly photography has always been a struggle. I can take good photos and flat lays and I like to think I have the eye for it, but I can’t really take photos of myself. I’ve had my husband try to help me but I always end up frustrated and unhappy and it often leads to me just lashing out at him.

I even quit Instagram because of the pressures of putting up content not only on my site, but on all social channels. I just don’t have a great track record with photography. Its the center of everything, from the free social media marketing, to your website, blog posts, print material, lead magnets… I mean you need it for everything! I’ve tried subscription based services before, but then I see the same images used on Pinterest over and over, original content is definitely something I want for my brand… so I finally decided to just hand over the reigns and hire a photographer.

I want to have an arsenal of photos branded for me so that I can cut the anxiety and just know that that is taken care of. Im on this money mindset that everything is abundant and what I invest is coming back, so right now was the perfect time!

I’ve only had one other photoshoot around four years ago and I was soooo unprepared. I got 400 images that were unplanned and I had this one frumpy outfit that was less than intentional. Which brings me to this…

Why You Should Plan and Style Your Photoshoot

Since I’m investing in this, I want to get the most out of it. Luckily I found the perfect photographers that fit my brand and they were so easy to talk to. I sent them over this mood board and basically the vision I had for my photoshoot and it made the on boarding process so much easier. We were both on the same page from the start and I felt very comfortable.

When you plan and style your photoshoot ahead of time you save yourself any anxiety on the day of the shoot because you have everything ready before hand. I’m talking about setting the tone for the session, knowing what your colors are, goals, what you need. Everything! I created a simple mood board with some styled shots I liked, some brand and tone words and a color palette.

Props + Outfits

One of the things that I lacked the last time I had a photoshoot was the lack of props. The photos then have no variety because there is just not a lot to play with. You want to give yourself a couple of variations based on your mood board and needs. Just think of what feels natural in your line of work.

I picked out my props ahead of time so that both my photographers and I knew what we had to work with. Since I’m revamping this website and including my design studio I need a lot of workspace images, and so I literally made a separate board for them to see exactly what items I would be bringing. These are all things I have at home and follow my color palette and my joyful and minimal aesthetic. I think these items are pretty flexible as some of them can translate to my lifestyle shots too.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

When you plan and style your photoshoot, really think about what look you are going for and how it transfers into clothes. If you’re fashion impaired like me, keep it simple stupid. Let the locations shine and keep it to a nice blouse and jeans.

As far as clothes go, I’m trying to have a couple of outfits that can be restyled to look different without having to bring 20+ items of clothing. So for example, taking on one jumpsuit and styling it three different ways. Same thing for a dress or a pair of pants, this way you create the illusion of different outfits without carrying around endless changes of wardrobe.

I haven’t exactly picked the clothes as my photoshoot is a week away but I’m starting to think of things that I can re-purpose. I have this one jumpsuit I really want to wear as it is perfect for my brand and I am starting with styling that.

Aim for Candid & Authentic

On the actual photoshoot, you should aim for less posed and more candid! You want to show people who you are and you can’t really do that by posing. We all see how Instagram can be a very fake place so if you want people to connect with you and your message, just be yourself. Whatever that is. Don’t try to imitate someone else’s Insta grid, don’t compare yourself to strangers. The more authentic your photos are, the more people will respond to that. Aim for a photo where your readers/clients think “I wanna be her friend!”, other than “I wish I had what she has”.

Have a Shot List Ready

When you plan and style your photoshoot, make sure that you have a shot list. Meaning, be prepared and have a list of photos you would like to have. Really think about what you need and be ready to talk to your photographer about it. Give them free rein but keeping in mind that you need one image for your header, or a blog profile picture, whatever it is, have a list ready so that you don’t forget and get everything you need.

On that first photoshoot I had, I didn’t really have a shot list. I just told my photographer I needed headshots and just random ones to use. That was such a mistake, when I finally got my photos and was designing my website, I realized I had no images for a good header. Plan and style your photoshoot, I promise it will be so much easier and anxiety free the day of.

Have you ever had a professional photoshoot? If so, do you have any tips!?


Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Hi! I'm Emmy!

Designer, professional nap taker & Disney enthusiast. I’m a daydream believer and it’s my quest to help empower you to own your magic and make your dream life come true.


What's Your Brand of Magic?

How to own your magic, overcome your biggest struggles and pursue your dream business with joy! – Only 40 seconds to find out!