Planning and Developing your Photo Shoot

When planning and preparing a photo shoot, it is important that you include a variety of different elements to make sure that it is the best it can be.

From the clients perspective, they want to see an enjoyable atmosphere that allows for them to be presented in the best way possible, which will make for unforgettable photos that they’ll be happy to show off. For the photographer, having unique and unforgettable photo sessions is something you can show off to prospective clients to show that you deliver outstanding photography sessions.

Here are some tips and ideas for planning and developing your photo shoot that will make for the best possible photos that will please everyone involved.

Planning and Developing a Photo Shoot


The first thing that you want to do once you have been contacted to put together a photo shoot is to come up with concepts that you think will make for unforgettable photographs.

Whether it’s a wedding, a day at the park, abandoned buildings or any other type of medium, you have to consider how you plan on making your photos stand out and become a visually inspiring and intriguing piece of art. The better you can develop an idea that you have in your mind for how you want the shoot to look, the easier the process will go for putting it together. However, if you just have a bunch of strung-along thoughts, it will be much more difficult to put your shoot together. Take the time to consider your concept and how you want your photo shoot to be presented, and you’ll notice the rest of the process will have a much more uniform direction that will be easier to plan for.


A mood board allows you to put your concepts to paper and start to build the actual thought process that you have. In doing so, you can create a narrative that will help write the entire story that you are trying to build with your photography session. While concept development will help you come up with general ideas you’d like to go with your photo shoot, a moodboard will fine tune everything and put it all into place.

This will help you better prepare for the type of photos you need to shoot, the locations that you need to shoot them at and other elements that come into play during the process. You can also use your mood board to set up reminders of people you need to contact during this process, including makeup artists, lighting specialists and anyone else who is going to make your photo shoot memorable.


Once you start to put your moodboard together, you can involve the subject with your thought process and what you plan to do for the shoot. Keep in mind that there may be creative differences between you and the subject, which could mean that one party has to adjust how they feel. However, it’s important to remember that if your subject isn’t into the ideas that you have, they likely won’t be into the photo shoot either.

You want to offer your subject an atmosphere that will excite them and energize them during the shoot. Otherwise, their emotions may be presented with less-than-appealing photographs. If you make sure that everyone is on the same page, you can work through the moodboard process with your subject to ensure that both of you are incredibly happy with the path the shoot is going to be on.

Research your Photo Shoot Idea


Once you have more concrete ideas, it’s time to go out and do some research on previous photo shoots that have been created and developed with the same variables.

If you are shooting a wedding with a unique theme, do some research into that specific theme and see how you can implement your own unique photography style to make for more entertaining photos. This same technique to gain inspiration can also be used for pregnancy photos, school pictures, fashion shoots and much more. This doesn’t mean that you explicitly copy what is already out there. After all, being a photographer means being unique and creative. However, it will give you some good inspiration and help you build even better ideas for what you have in mind.

Be Flexible

Unforeseen circumstances are likely going to come up during your photo shoot. If you haven’t figured this out yet, then you probably have yet to do your first real shoot. Whether, personal emotions, location problems, issues with clothing and so many other variables have the potential of going wrong during your photo shoot. However, instead of letting this completely ruin the overall presentation and ability to create a great photo shoot, learn how to be flexible during the process to ensure that you won’t be overly affected by whatever happens. The more you can plan for what could happen and be flexible with options to fix it, the more prepared you’ll be for your shoot.

Prepare Your Equipment

It is incredibly unprofessional if the photographer is the one that is having issues on the day of a photo shoot. After all, if everything else is working in your favour and you are setting up for what looks to be a great shoot, the last thing you want to happen is for there to be issues that are your fault. Before your shoot, check, double-check and even triple-check your equipment to make sure that everything is working well. Do this same process for ensuring that you have all of your necessary equipment, before you leave your office and head to the shoot. It’s your responsibility to be prepared during the shoot and if you aren’t, you’ll certainly hear about it when trying to find new clients.

Photo Shoot Timeline


After the shoot has taken place and the session is over, it’s important to let people know of a timeline that they can expect to see for getting their photos back.

In many cases, people want their photos immediately after the shoot, which makes sense. However, you need to inform them that there is a diligent process that requires you finding the best photos, editing them and making sure that they are worthy of being on display. If you keep your subjects informed during this process, they will feel more comfortable knowing when they’ll get to see their pictures.

Find The Best Photos

Great photographers take hundreds of, if not more, photos and they have to find the best ones to use. Keep in mind that the photos you use will be on display for the entire world to see. These pictures will also be ones that you add to your portfolio, which you want to look great when you are pitching new clients. Therefore, take the time to find the best photos and make sure they are edited adequately to truly demonstrate your photography skills.

You can have a great photo shoot if you plan appropriately for the process. And if you keep in mind the tips on this list, you’ll increase the likelihood that everything will go as planned and you’ll end up with great looking photos that’ll last a lifetime.


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