Photography: How to plan a lifestyle photo shoot
Getting good lifestyle photos is such a challenge. If your business involves fashion or style, whether you have products that you sell, are a blogger or a photographer, read on, I have you covered with some good tips on how to get beautiful photos that both you and the person being photographed will love..
I make my own range of jewelry and one of the aspects of selling jewelry and is that potential customers like to see what it looks like on a person, how it fits, where it hangs what it looks with other clothes etc. I need these for the various social media platforms that I represent my brand on, such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and of course on my website. In case you want to see my jewelry range you can find it here.
Likewise if your brand is clothing or you are a fashion blogger. people like to see what the outfit looks like and what to pair it with, because you are the expert after all. They also like to envision when they might actually wear that outfit and what sort of events to wear it at. Your life style photos will help them do this.
You do not by any means have to hire a photographer. If you are totally hopeless at photography, then I'd encourage it though. For this photo shoot my daughter used a fancy camera, but I was there taking photos too with my iPhone 6s and the photos that I've used in this blog post were all the ones I took, unless otherwise noted.
My daughter being the photographer on the right and our model Vanessa, who is a family member.
The Model/ You as the Model
The most important part of a lifestyle photo shoot is undoubtedly your model. You absolutely have to have someone who is comfortable in front of a camera, someone who exudes confidence and who can represent the style of your brand well. For the fashion bloggers out there, practice your poses in front of a mirror until you feel comfortable with how you'll look. I was lucky enough to have family visiting and Vanessa was willing to help me out in getting some lifestyle photos. She was a natural at it and if I didn't know any better, I would have thought that she made her living modeling.
Vanessa knew how to help show off my jewelry designs.
If you are a photographer and the people you are photographing are not very comfortable in front of a camera, it's up to you to make them feel at ease in front of you and it may take some time. Fortunately with digital photography, you can stop and show the person being photographed what works and what doesn't and you can replicate or carry on with poses that seem to be getting the best images.
Equally important is the location of your photo shoot. If you have a brand, make sure the location fits the vision for how you want it represented. If you are a fashion blogger and someone is taking photos of you, if you are self conscious at all, make sure the photo shoot is not in a very public spot.
Woodsy natural setting on a sunny spring day perfect for my jewerly designs.
In the case of my products, my jewelry is very natural, somewhat nature inspired, so we picked a spot that reflected this. We did the photo shoot in a small glade of trees behind our home and after a shoot lunch break we did some additional photos in our garden. I could just as easily have done it at a local beach on the Puget Sound where we live (in fact Vanessa did pose for me at a beach and at Mt Rainier when we did tourist day trips there with her family).
Natural earrings for natural beauty on Mt Rainier, Washington
The final aspect of a lifestyle photo shoot is clothing. Vanessa is one of the most stylish people I know, so she just tossed some of her clothes and accessories in a leather tote bag (also stylish) and we headed into the woods.
Vanessa's scarf was a great accessory in this photo.
The above photo was edited on my iPhone to give this great close up of one of my sterling silver pebble pendants.
If you are a fashion blogger you are obviously taking photos of certain clothes that you are promoting. You do this for a living and I'm sure you are superb at modeling all sorts of outfits.
If you are a photographer trying to get good photos of someone on a life style or family photo shoot, encourage your person/model to pick the clothes that they will feel comfortable in. You aren't going to get good photos of a person wearing an off the shoulder dress if their dress is more modest, for example.
Sometimes photos look more natural if you use some props. Vanessa used her stylish leather tote in a couple of photos, we used a Starbucks cup and her baby (to appeal to other millennials) and we even allowed a peek at her tattoo in one photo. You have to figure out what props will work for your photo shoot and ones that your target audience will identify with too.
If you are on various social media platforms, using props from other brands could allow you to benefit from their tags.
Two props here, a baby (showing that young mothers can be stylish) and Vanessa's own watch by up and coming Australian watch company, The Horse. When I posted on Instagram, I tagged the company and ended up getting a lot of Aussie fans.
Here's a close up of one of my upcycled sterling and broken china bracelets styled with a Boho lacy looking top.
If you are a photographer doing a family photo shoot, the location could have natural props for you to use, such as a bench or log to sit on or a rock for the family to be placed on. Of course toys and blankets make perfect props if taking any photos of babies.
There are a few reasons why I love using my iPhone 6s for taking photos. Firstly it takes great photos and the optics are excellent. The next reason is it fits in my pocket and I don't have to have masses of equipment. You can also tweet, go live or share on Instagram stories that you are doing a photo shoot right ten and build anticipation for the photos or blog post you'll be sharing the product in. The final reason is I'm lazy and I like the ease of editing on my phone. I love VSCO for editing and I have an aversion to doing some things like editing on our laptop. Doing it on my phone is my way around this. You can post right from your phone or if you don't want to lose them, save them in the correct folders on your computer, like I do after I've done all the editing.
With VSCO you can crop a larger photo after taking it at a distance and get a wonderful close up like this one of one of my sterling wrapped pebble earrings.
I'm certainly not an expert at photography, but with lots of practice I've become better at it, particularly taking product photos. In case you want to read a blog post about taking photos of products (not life style) I recently wrote a blog post about it. You can read it here.
- What aspects of photography challenge you?
- What's your favorite editing tool?
- Do you have a favorite camera that you always use?
- Do you have any tips for life style photo shoots?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on these or others that I've not even thought about. If you want to answer them or pose questions pop them into the comments below and maybe I'll write a blog post about the more common problems or maybe others can give different advice.
(This post contains affiliate links which simply means if you click through and buy, I may receive a commission, at absolutely no extra cost to you. Please note that I only endorse products that I’ve used and can vouch for).