Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tips For That Next Photography Shoot

Thinking about hiring a photographer for head shots, blog pics, or Instagram?  Fantastic! I think that's a great idea! One that you won't regret. In fact, with the right amount of planning, your experience can be an investment that you thoroughly enjoyed.

When it comes to hiring a photographer my biggest issues are budget, schedule, planning outfits, and choosing what pictures to use once the shoot is over! However, with lessons I've learned along the way, I have tips to share, as well as some PRO tips from photographer friends that you'll find sprinkled about this post!
Why Should I Hire A Photographer?

Before we get to those tips, let's consider why hiring a photographer is even beneficial. If you're great with a camera and take your own pics (hello Ruthy Annie!) or your hubby, friend etc is a photographer - awesome! You've got a sweet deal going. However, if this is not the case think about these things...

Professionals know the good spots! In fact, they often have a favorite location where they've had plenty of practice, knowing the best times to go etc. P.S. Rachael Horton from Aurora Photo Atlanta says the best lighting is around sunrise and sunset. 

Professional Photographers are looking at the image as a whole, shadows, hand placement, harsh light, people in the background, etc. If you're volunteer photographer is not into photography, they may just be snapping a picture to get it over it. ---Sammi B Photography (That would be my teens for sure!)

If you plan well with a photographer you trust, you're going to have a blast! So, if you've landed a paid post, give it all you got so you can get more. Shoot, if you're looking to land a paid post, give it all you got!!
You Booked a Session
The session is booked. Now what? You want to get the most out of your session by being prepared. I modeled as a child and was mom on set for a couple of my boys, but the majority of the tips I'm about to share with you, I learned from not being prepared! As for this photo session, I hired Sammi B. Photography through the meeting of a mutual local friend for new head shots!

Tip One: Backdrop & Location
Think about your backdrop. Is the photographer choosing the location or are you? Whether they choose or you choose, you need to be familiar with the scenery. I directed a photoshoot for our women's ministry in Georgia. The day before the shoot, the photographer and I walked the site to plan poses, props, colors and more.

Keeping the purpose of the shoot in mind, you can ask them (or yourself) these questions.
  • Is there a mural, old town brick, stair case, flower fields, etc?
  • Will the colors of your outfit compliment that mural, wall, field, etc? 
  • Are you going for summer vibes or a backdrop that will work for all the seasons? 
  • Will it work with your Instagram grid colors? 
  • Will lighting be good at the time you plan on meeting up? (sunrise and sunset are the best!)
  • If you're at a coffee shop/cafe and things are slow, ask for permission to move a bench, chair, etc to suit lighting. We've done that before! See example HERE
Pro Tip: Location is not as important as the light. A photographer that has good light can make even the worst location look good. - Kim Hymes Photography
Tip 2: Look Your Best
Sounds obvious, but what if styling your hair is a struggle? Consider scheduling an appointment for style or enlisting the help of a friend. You want to feel as confident as possible.  If your post is sponsored or you're getting head shots, it's worth the investment! I've also asked a friend for help with my makeup. Hair and make up is not my thing!

PRO TIP: Tiny prints, like tiny stripes tend to look weird digital so if it's for social media and not print only try not to wear tiny print fabrics. They just don't translate well. Also, makes sure clothing matches location. Don't wear a casual shot and T-shirt to say the Swan house (fancy mansion). And when applying makeup just go a little heavier (a little. You don't have to apply clown makeup) than usual. makeup in photos tends to wash out. - Rachael, Aurora Photography 

Tip 3: Poses, Poses, Poses 

"Ok. What do I do? Where do I put my hands?"
If you've had your picture taken - professionally or not, you've probably asked these questions before.
  • Relax and be yourself! If you're brand is mostly smiles, this may not be the time for perfecting that smolder. I look angry in my serious shots and rarely like how they turn out. Sex appeal doesn't fit my brand either, so that leaves several poses out. Also, I have an unintentional smirk. It's automatic and now apart of my brand. Listen to the photographer for direction and be open to try new things, but keep who you are in mind.
  • You can also scour Pinterest for ideas on poses that draw you and start a board to share with the photographer. Don't be afraid to practice poses in front of the mirror!
  • This may sound crazy, but listen to your favorite songs! When I listen to music I loosen up and move around. A little extra tip: listen to music that fits the vibe you're going for.  It's amazing how different genres bring about a different attitude! 
Pro Tip: Provide motion: actually walk, run, jump, check your watch, pull your hair up - don't just stand there! If there's more than one person in the shoot, interact with each other and don't look at me/camera - Kim Hymes Photography
Tip 4: Props
Whether it's a cup of coffee, a letter board sign, or a fashion accessory it's helpful to use props if they support the look or message you're going for. For example, in this shoot my props are the hat, the kimono and the flowers from the field. I felt the fashion accessories represented my love for boho and the flower fields showcased my love for the natural and creation.

Be creative with your props too. My kimono flapped in the breeze, made a head scarf, hung off my shoulders. I threw my hat in the air, suspended it above my face, hid behind it, held it out to the side. Once you're comfortable you can have so much fun playing around. You never know what will be the "million dollar" shot.

Tip 5: Experiment
For this shoot, I listened to Sammi's directing, but in between I was plucking flower petals, putting flowers up to my face, reaching for the sky...whatever! This is not the time to be shy. You're making an investment here. Throw flowers, kick your feet up, dance a little, walk around, move your arms, etc!

Tip 6: Trust the Photographer
Some poses feel unnatural but look good on camera. Trust that the photographer can see things you can't! I try to be as candid as possible, but in order to get the perfect shot, I might have to twist my arm forward to get that bracelet featured or duck walk through a flower field for effect.

Tip 7: More Bang For Your Buck
Not everyone has the budget to hire a photographer for each event, so ask the photographer if they have specials coming up (that's when I was able to book Sammi!) or if they'd consider a discount if you brought more business etc. Here's a fantastic tip from Sammi to get the most out of a session!

Pro Tip: If you have a couple of brands reach out around the same time, the blogger gets more bang for her buck scheduling with a photographer and shooting 3 products with three different outfits. That way you get multiple posts with professionally done photography, everyone wins!  - Sammi B Photography

Have you hired a photographer for a blog post, Instagram post, head shots etc? What insights did you gain from your experience?

*PICs at the Park Photoshoot done by Kim Hymes Photography when she was first starting out. I loved being someone to practice on! Click HERE.
*Coffee Shop Photoshoot done by Rachael at Aurora Photography. Click HERE

*Old Town Photoshoot by Courtney at Four Eighteen Photo. Click HERE



  1. So many great tips on this post! Thank you for sharing! :)


  2. Great pics and great tips!

  3. From my good ole days of being a photographer, its always so much fun -& brings beautiful pictures when people are comfortable & know how to move in front of the camera. & it always helps to have a photographer who makes you feel comfortable too - its a win win for both sides

  4. Wow, these pictures are beautiful Chrissy! I love the one with the flowers in your eyes, but the lighting is beautiful on all. Especially love the tipping your hat pic. Gorgeous kimono and love the field of flowers! Hubby takes my pics but its always good to learn new tips.
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

  5. I've never hired a photographer before. Your photos are gorgeous! I always struggle with poses and all of these tips are really helpful!

    Jill - Doused in Pink

  6. Love all these tips! I really want to start taking my own fashion photos so I am writing these tips down!

  7. Girl you are so sweet. It took me so long and crazy shoots and tears and to be in your post seriously makes me cry happy tears. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to lighting! It is SO important to either know your lighting or your photographer does. Also definitely pinterest or a really good playlist will help with your poses. Yes I listen to music on my shoots sometimes and just move around. I look crazy but it's worth it to get some of the movement shots in!


  8. These pictures are so good Chrissy and so are your tips! This is definitely an area I need to improve on.

  9. Chrissy, I honestly think this is the best post you've ever written! Not that all your other posts aren't well written, too, but maybe this one is just my favorite! I mean seriously! This post is just filled with beautiful pictures, tips, and ideas! I LOVE IT!!

  10. Loved reading all of these tips! Some of them I've learned the hard way on my own, but I'd never be able to get them into a concise post like this. And yes...the HANDS!! OMG. Every time..."um...I guess I'll just put them in my pocket again???" Haha!

  11. Thank you for sharing these tips. I love your photography.

  12. These are such gorgeous photos and really compelling reasons for hiring a photographer. I love the back lighting and you're so great at showing your personality in your photos.

  13. I love your tips! I didn't realize you were fortunate enough to have a pro several times. I imagine you are a fun person to be able to photograph, as well! You look so beautiful in the field of flowers. Thanks for the tip on the hat on sale! ;)

  14. My blog isn't big enough to hire a photographer (I wish)! But there are still so many great tips in here! And your photos turned out so beautifully! Maybe one day, right!?

  15. This was just awesome! 👏🏻 😎 😎 👏🏻

  16. These are lovely snaps dear! Great tips you have here.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  17. It's important to prepare yourself mentally for a shoot
    Performers Academy

  18. These are such beautiful photos Grace! I love your tips for photographing with a professional photographer. I have been considering setting a budget for a session myself because I believe in their value. It is an investment but something that is worth it. I also want to shoot my own photos like Ruth! #goals That girl got skills! :) I hope you are having a great start to your weekend!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com


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