Planning Your First Photoshoot: What Do You Want Your Photographs to Say About You?

 YouTuber Lauren Sowter in Felixstowe. Photography by Alice Red.

It’s no secret that I have a lot of clients with their own blog or YouTube channel, and in most cases it’s the first time they’ve worked with a professional photographer. 

 

It can a little daunting to have a stranger pointing a DSLR at you when you’re used to your mum or significant other taking your photos. What are you supposed to wear? How do you pose? I appreciate that it might be overwhelming, so I thought I’d write this post or anyone who’s thinking of investing in a photoshoot soon… and no, it doesn’t have to be with me! (But, you know, I’m pretty good. Just saying.) And hey, maybe these tips will help you out next time you get your friend to take a picture on their phone.

No shoot between two bloggers is ever the same, but here are a few pointers to help you narrow down exactly what you want.

 

 YouTuber and blogger DeeDee Louise AKA Dionne Thompson. Photography by Alice Red.

Think about why you want a photoshoot, and what you want the pictures to be used for.

 

This seems like such an obvious question, but knowing exactly what you want the photographs for really helps us get the most out of the shoot.

Are you a fashion blogger looking for an outfit photoshoot for your latest blog post? That means we need a larger quantity of full-length body shots, as well as close-ups of your outfit (like your bag, your belt, your shoes). When I was working with DeeDee Louise, I made sure that I captured her entire look, then I showed her the pictures to make sure that I had all the close-ups she wanted. We also allowed time to do several shoots in one day, with her nipping into public toilets and changing her outfit multiple times. 

 YouTuber and blogger DeeDee Louise AKA Dionne Thompson. Photography by Alice Red.
 YouTuber and blogger DeeDee Louise AKA Dionne Thompson. Photography by Alice Red.
 YouTuber and blogger DeeDee Louise AKA Dionne Thompson. Photography by Alice Red.

 

Whereas if you’re a coach, the vibe will probably be very different. When I was working with Joeli, she needed profile photos and shots of her working that could be incorporated into her website and/or blog posts. 

You might want something completley different to these examples, or a mixture of the two - whatever you have in mind, make sure the photographer knows what you want the images for. It’s also a good idea to let them know how many images you want, as this will help to plan how long the shoot will be.

 YouTuber and coach Joeli Creates. Photography by Alice Red.
 YouTuber and coach Joeli Creates. Photography by Alice Red.
 YouTuber and coach Joeli Creates. Photography by Alice Red.

Think about your branding. What message do you want to convey in your photographs?

 

Do you want to portray that you’re a strong, confident person? That you’re badass? That you always look amazing? That you’re creative? That you’re the relatable girl next door?

Thinking about your personal branding behind your blog/channel, and how you want people to feel when they look at the photos, will help you plan everything. From your outfit (don’t worry, we can talk more about that later), to how you want to pose.

When I was working with Lauren Sowter last summer, she was having a big rebrand and wanted her new photos to be fun. So in her shoot there were lots of big smiles on the beach, because that matched the message she wanted to convey.

 YouTuber Lauren Sowter. Photographed by Alice Red.
 YouTuber and coach Joeli Creates. Photography by Alice Red.
 
 YouTuber and founder of the Oceans Project, Sarah Weldon. Photography by Alice Red.

Where do you want to do the shoot?

 

I often travel to the client and photograph them in their hometown because I feel like it says something about them. The precise location is still important if you want any indoor pictures (like in a coffee shop, for example) as you may need permission to shoot there. Joeli’s shoot was mostly completed in Ziferblat in Manchester, which I highly recommend if you need a location that can double as an office or a coffee shop. 

During a shoot with Sarah Weldon last year, the location was very important. She’s working on multiple projects that heavily feature around the Lake District where she lives, so there were a few specific places she needed pictures at. The countryside is a key part of her branding, so the shots were all very outdoors-y, with hiking boots and heavy rain. (Actually, the rain was completley unplanned, but it really suited the images.)

 

What are you going to wear?

 

You might already have sussed out your hair and outfit when you were thinking of your branding earlier, but I thought I’d talk a bit more about this as it’s something I get asked a lot of questions about.

You can wear whatever you want, though I personally think it’s best to stick with what makes you feel comfortable and confident. Most of the time, my clients tend to wear a more polished version of their regular uniform. That might be their favourite jeans and a nice shirt, or a new dress that makes them feel amazing; it might be a full face of makeup or it might be no makeup at all. It’s different for everyone. (I edit the pictures as part of my service, so no one will know about any spots or dark circles either way.)

 YouTuber and founder of the Oceans Project, Sarah Weldon. Photography by Alice Red.

There are a few circumstances where you might need to give your outfit a little more thought. Like if you want to have affiliate links to your outfit in your blog post, then it’s best to style something that’s still avalible in shops. Or if your photographs are going to be released much later than they’re being shot - like if you’re having your picture taken in the summer for a rebrand that’s happening in autumn, you might want to wear a trench coat instead of shorts.

 

 Blogger and YouTuber DeeDee Louise. Photography by Alice Red.
 Blogger and YouTuber DeeDee Louise. Photography by Alice Red.

Are you planning your first photoshoot?

I’d love to know if you are and if this post has helped you. Or if you’ve been thinking about it for a while and this has helped you take the plunge, even better! If there’s anything else you’d like to know about portrait photography, just ask away in the comments section...

...and if you'd like to hire me, click here.

 


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