First Time Photo Shoot Tips

So, you finally booked your first legitimate photo shoot, that’s great! You’ve probably been using your camera as a hobbyist for a while now, playing around with settings, and editing your shots for fun and to learn. You’ve probably fallen down multiple photography-tips rabbit holes and likely have a few more to find yourself down. 

Let’s dive in!

Tip #1: Practice, Practice, Practice

Here’s the most common piece of advice you’ll hear: never stop taking photos! Hopefully, you carry that camera with you wherever you go. The best way you can prepare for your first photo shoot is by practicing anywhere and everywhere. 

Taking photos of the things that catch your eye will give you a solid representation of your vision and your aesthetic, making it even easier to figure out what you need to finetune before charging clients for your work. 

Plus, as you capture different shots, you’ll be forced to get to know your camera’s settings and filters, making it so you have to learn how to use them properly. That’s the greatest practice you could ask for.

Tip #2: Carry All The Gear You’ll Need

No one likes being stuck up the creek without a paddle nor do you want to look like an amatuer. Have you ever been taking photos only to have to stop due to the godforsaken, “Memory Full!” glaring back at you? I know we’ve all been there. 

At your first photo shoot, be sure to have every piece of equipment you might need with you. This might include extra lenses, memory cards, reflectors, and a clipboard. 

Make sure the bag you have is also big enough to hold your gear so you aren’t running around the studio you’ve rented or back and forth from your car to your clients. 

Tip #3: Make a Shot List

Making a list of the pictures you know for a fact you’d like to get (i.e., parents, just siblings, mom and daughters, father and sons, etc.) will make your photo shoot go smooth as butter. 

And, by having a shot list, you won’t be left wondering whether you’ve gotten all the pictures you wanted to snap. You can make a physical list and keep it attached to a clipboard, or you can use your smartphone to create a list of all the shots. 

Tip #4: Sketch Ideal Shots

Don’t be afraid to outline a specific shot you’ve got in mind in order to make your idea clearer for your client. If stick figures will help clarify where you’d like people placed or where you’d like to have specific props, then, by all means, doodle them out! 

You’d only be helping yourself, and if you happen to have an assistant or are working with other photographers, then you make it possible for them to understand what you’re trying to do. This might be a simple gesture, but it will help build credibility with your clientele. 

Tip #5: Find The Vision

What is your vision for this photo shoot? Or if someone else has commissioned the shoot, what are they envisioning? 

Try to be clear on this since when you’ve finished editing your images, you’ll want the same overall aesthetic and vibe from the collection you’ve put together. 

You can also take some time to research photographers who have done shoots in similar tones or settings to get some pointers for what you hope the end result to look like. 

Tip #6: Practice Your Edits

Being able to take photos properly is only half the job of a professional photographer, the other half (we’d argue it’s a lot more than half) is all in the editing. 

As you practice editing and take on more clients, you’ll figure out your own style and eventually  make it a signature part of your services. 

Tip #7: Redo Your Settings

Play around with your settings during the actual photo shoot! Sometimes, when you get people in front of the camera, skin tones and clothing change the way things look. You can always adjust photos during editing, but if something doesn’t look right to you in the moment, then feel free to tweak things! 

Tip #8: Take Too Many Shots

Take all the pictures you want! snap too many pictures. In the end, you get to choose which ones you edit and keep until the end. It doesn’t hurt to have too many options. 

Tip #9: Know Your Location

Be sure you’re familiar with where you’ll be doing your photo shoot.choosing the best places for photos. 

If you can go to your location on a day that has similar weather to what you’re expecting, you can play around with our camera’s settings or with portable reflectors to find the spots with the best light or background.