Updated: Aug 13, 2018
Creating a photoshoot is exciting, creative and satisfying.
I have been amazed how much actually goes into planning and designing a photoshoot, as it is not ONLY about plan & design & execute but about branding as well. Everything from first communication, how your material looks (questionnaires, mood boards, welcome guides etc) to making sure your session follows the style intended and your end product is cohesive. The whole process is
truly a fantastic opportunity to create and show your own style, brand your business and create something unique.
My photoshoot planning process starts with simple questionnaire I send to the client. All the communication in the beginning is to try to understand what my client envisages for their special photoshoot. All the information client provides during the initial consultation helps me to create the right kind of mood board for them which aims to inspire and give them the feel and style I have planned. Next comes the Welcome Guide containing all the information they would need regarding the shoot. Anything from what to wear, what to bring, how to prepare for a newborn session and what happens after the photoshoot. Also I send them the contract! Very important!
So let’s see what happens after the initial communication, what is the next phase of planning:
Firstly - Location, Location, Location!!
Location matters so I plan it well. I need to think about the light and the layout of the room or location, where am I positioning myself versus the light and my client. Do I need step ladder, do I need an extra light source, if so where and what.
Secondly - Shot list, posing and wardrobe. Shot list is important, especially if you are just starting - what are the absolutely must have shots you want and how will you achieve them.
You mustn't forget the important ones - newborn's tiny nose and little toes, pretty lips and delicate finger tips!
Regarding posing - I always want the photographs to be natural, have a genuine feel and emotion. Part of my planning is how will I achieve that, what will I say to my client to guide them. This is a big learning curve for me and with time, hopefully it will become a second nature. I want my client to feel at ease and aim is to create a very relaxing and friendly session every single time!
Wardrobe plays a huge role in the outcome of your photographs. It can be too distracting and take away the focus from the main subject. I have a clear idea what would suit and support the style, what would look lovely in the surroundings and let the person in the picture shine. I want to guide my client what to wear and what tones suit and go together. Also I have maternity and newborn wardrobe, which I am still building up, from where the client can choose items they would like to wear.
My recent newborn shoot the style aimed for was light and bright with soft tones, I knew what my client was planning to wear and I had pulled together the right tones for the newborn part of the shoot.
Thirdly - what lenses will I need to use for which part of the shoot. How does a change of lens impact my lighting choices. I use a cropped sensor camera so my lens choice/purchase reflects that. My camera's crop factor is 1.6, which means that a 35mm lens becomes 56mm and 50mm becomes 80mm. My goto lenses are Canon 50mm f1.8 and 60mm f1.8 for newborn and maternity and I use my Tamron 85 f1.8 for outdoors. Due the crop factor I need more distance between me and the subject, so I do need to plan carefully where to shoot from with what lens. Step ladder is my best friend!
Fourthly - Props! I want to use as little as possible and what ever I use they have to have a purpose, have natural end result and support the image beautifully.
In my recent newborn shoot I used these gorgeous floral hoops by Birch and Bloom. I am obsessed with their products! They have stunning range of small and large hoops, perfect home decorations. Mine are permanent feature in my daughter's nursery but as they are so delicately made they suit a newborn session beautifully. I also used them during a maternity session, there they were part of a flower arrangement I made.
My newborn session with mum, dad, big sister (3y) and their beautiful new baby girl was designed to be delicately light and airy. I planned to do the family photo session on the bed in the bedroom, with white bed linen and lovely oxford pillow cases. Look was very relaxed, fresh, airy with soft light shining through the windows by the bed. I had very limited items on the night stands, just fresh flowers. I did set up an extra light, soft box with a speed light which had a trigger attached to the hot shoe of the camera. I wanted to have the option to use when needed.
Below you can see the setup and one of my favourite images of the mother with her sweet baby girl.
I loved the end result of the images and I am happy to say - so did the mum!
In my next blog I will write about my setup for a newborn session, what it took to achieve the must have images, what I learned from the session and what happens after my photoshoots.
I hope you enjoyed reading my "Part 1 of Creating a Light and Bright Photo session" ! Have a lovely weekend!