1. Pick a location
Do you want something scenic? Do you want a city vibe? Pro tip: If it’s anywhere indoors, you’re likely going to get asked who you are and why you’re shooting by whoever manages the location. If you are using a DSLR, you may be asked to stop shooting or asked for what purpose you’re shooting. I always respond with, “this is for my personal blog.” The key here is to assure them that it isn’t a paid shoot by a brand. Photographers typical need a permit to shoot most places if the images are being used to sell something. You can usually shoot with an iPhone easily so that’s a good backup plan!
2. Make a Moodboard
I recommend using Pinterest and creating a secret board with your photographer or anyone who is helping style the shoot. This is to ensure you all have a cohesive vision and vibe for the shoot and so that the photographer can get a feel for the types of lens and equipment to bring along. You can also reference this if you get stumped for ideas on site.
3. Think about Narrative
What story can you tell with your image? Make it as personal as possible.
Gather props to help execute your Narrative.
5. Think about Caption
What would you like this post to SAY? If you think about this in advance, you won’t be stumped when it comes to post. This will also help with your organic engagement if it’s truly a complex, compelling topic.
6. Check the Weather
It’s always good to have a backup plan in case you’ve picked an outdoor location and it looks like rain. Believe me, I been forced to switch plans last minute due to weather and it is STRESSFUL! The more prepared you are, the better.
7. Pick the Right Time to Shoot for Lighting and Crowds
If you want no people in your shot, schedule an AM shoot! Sunrise is best for lighting. I recommend being at your location just before the sun is scheduled to rise. You can check what time the sun rises in your specific area from any iPhone weather app. Always avoid 12-2pm, as this is generally the time where the sun is directly overhead AKA way to harsh. It can create weird shadows on your face. If you want a SUNNY shot with direct light, you should consider shooting mid to late afternoon (2-4pm). If you are looking for light flares or a hazy backlit shot, just before sunset is ideal. If you want an evenly lit, cooler toned image I recommend dusk (just after sunset). Pro Tip: If this intimidates you, shade will always give you even lighting, so it’s best to start there!
8. Style & Steam your Outfits in Advance
Take photos of your outfits exactly how you’ve styled them. This way you can make sure you haven’t forgotten any accessories, shoes, etc. for the look before you leave the house. The worst is when you show up somewhere to shoot and you don’t have a mirror for styling.
9. Pack a Mirror for Styling 😉
10. Pack a Changing Cape
Most locations I shoot at are in public and changing out of the back of a car can be tricky and annoying. The one I recommend buying is linked below. It will save your life! https://rstyle.me/+r6cjRtH2leV4ypu4jIL74Q