Thinking About Planning Your Own Styled Shoot?


  • Show what you want to shoot more of.
  • Attract your ideal client.
  • Flex your creative muscles.
  • Connect with others in your industry.
  • Create content for your site and your social channels.
  • Get featured in blogs and magazines.
  • Improve your shooting skills away from the stress of paid work.




First thing to do is decide on a theme for the shoot. The last place that you should look for inspiration on this is at other styled shoots. They’ve already been done and it’s all too easy to emulate something that is already out there. Or end up never getting passed this stage as you simply feel intimidated and overwhelmed. Instead start with what you are already passionate about. Fashion/Art/Sport/Design/Graphics anything, just as long as you are excited about it. As an example this is the first shoot that we did for Rock n Roll Bride magazine. It was inspired by my love of Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding and their style around that time.



Same as with models, professional studios often have a test rate. You might have to book super last minute but many would prefer to have someone in using the space that could potentially become a regular client, than have an empty studio. Or shoot on location and think creatively about this. Many pubs have quirky function rooms that are totally empty in the daytime and free to use. You might have to buy lunch there but that’s no hardship! Or approach wedding venues. Again they are often empty in the week and might appreciate collaborating on a shoot so that they get some fresh images to use too.



You could try to do everything yourself but I always feel that bouncing creative ideas around with a team and then producing the shoot with everyone bringing their unique skill sets to the table is always stronger. At the same time, keep it small. When too many get involved the concept can end up being diluted in order to accommodate everyone’s needs. Prioritise what will work for each shoot and who needs to be on the team rather than having people there just because you are industry pals or someone wants to get some new photos for their business.



At the very least your shoot is worth doing so that you get some awesome images for your own website, your blog and your social media. But if you manage to do something original and strong enough, then a wedding blog or magazine might publish it. My favourites are Rock n Roll Bride and Unique Rebels Union who both publish shoots and also will use images to illustrate articles. There are dozens of blogs and wedding magazines and whatever the style of your shoot, there will be one that is a good fit. If you get turned down by any, don’t give up. We’ve ALL been in that position. Just pick yourself up and try another one or aim to make your next shoot so killer that they’ll all be fighting over it!



The model makes or breaks a shoot. A professional can take a dress that you found in a charity shop and make it look like couture but a non professional can make a couture frock look like it belongs in a charity shop! Remember you are doing a shoot to market your business and that it’s an investment for everyone involved. Suggest that everyone in the team chips in on this. If you look on the New Faces or Development Boards of any model agency you can find plenty of good models and their rates are very affordable.  Or get in touch with the agency to see if anyone needs test images. This means you’ll get a very new model who doesn’t need to be paid but does need experience and portfolio shots. 



Most shoots for me start with a theme. Then a collaborative mood board on Pinterest. If the shoot has a stylist, they usually pin ideas for the clothes and the hair and make up looks while I’ll be pinning images that help me get the story clear in my mind before we shoot. That might be lighting techniques, textures, colours or poses and I’ll be searching for inspiration in other genres of photography like music or fashion. This Pinterest Board became this Rock n Roll Bride Magazine Shoot. We always refer to the board on the shoot to make sure that our ideas are coming through strong enough.



Don’t go with the obvious. My favourite thing to do with a shoot is to never go down the obvious route. This shoot had a heavily tattooed model and there was talk of shooting in a tattoo parlour to begin with but to me that is the obvious idea. I prefer to just have models there who are diverse without making that their only thing. That shoot was all about clean lines, sharp edges and reflections. The added styling of the bright flowers and make-up elevated it into a strong editorial. Often it’s just having one really strong model and a strong idea that is enough. If you find that your shoot is turning into a massive production, ask yourself if you could describe it in one short tagline? If not, think about reigning it in and simplifying. It is always better to do one idea very well, that all the ideas at once.

Feeling Inspired to plan your own shoot? I’d love to see the results, message me when you have some pictures!