93% of human communication is nonverbal. Because of this, marketers should combine visual elements with text to capture the consumer’s attention.

Visual content also has the potential to go viral on social media which will build brand credibility and customer loyalty. Whether this is your first commercial photo or your hundredth, it’s key to have a strategy. 

To find out how to do a photo shoot, read on.

1. Know the Idea or Concept

Whether the commercial photo shoot is for you or a client, it’s essential to have a key concept. Find out the story you want to tell and decide on your market as it’s easier to hone in on a target audience as opposed to marketing to everyone.

Also, decide why you’re taking the photos and whether it’s for a brochure or website. This will help you know what sizes and shapes of images you need and what quality to print them on.

Ask the client the following questions for a clearer idea:

  • What brand values do you want the photos to illustrate?
  • What feelings do you want the photos to convey?
  • What makes your business stand out?


Having access to this information will let you know how to plan a photo shoot.

2. Create an Inspiration Board 

Visually layout ideas so your client can decide which photos align best with their brand. Invite them to add any photos or concepts they’ve seen and liked to help influence your photo shoot. 

Do they prefer lighter or darker photos? Would they prefer posed or more natural images?

Compare twenty photos and find the common thread between them as inspiration. This is the easiest way to convey yours or the client’s taste in photography without all the technical jargon. Then, you’ll be able to decide which equipment to use for the desired look. 

3. Decide on Equipment

You may have a studio packed with crazy gadgets or an extra room in your house for your photo shoot to take place in, depending on its size. Unsure of which equipment to bring? To help you plan a photo shoot, ensure you have a decent camera and good lighting.

Camera and Lens: High resolution is key so most photographers pick 35mm cameras for a crisp and clear image. It’s also important to focus a lens to fit your niche. If you’re doing portraits, an 85mm lens will work or if you’re doing interior design, you’ll want a 24mm.

Lights: Most commercial photo shoots need plenty of light so you may need to adapt and change your gear to fit the shoot. Or you can rely on natural sunlight and add reflectors to ensure the product or model is well lit.

4. Decide on Location and the Best Time to Shoot

When brainstorming location ideas, find a location that aligns with your values and marketing strategy.

You don’t always have to splurge on studio space and don’t be afraid to use homemade equipment. If the shoot is inside, you can manipulate artificial lights from a hardware store with a cloth backdrop.

If you are shooting outside, it’s essential to choose the time of day wisely. Shooting in the early morning or late afternoon has the softest ambiance and will make for a better photo.
Ask yourself the following when deciding on a location:

  • If the shoot is outside, do you need a permit?
  • Does the location fit with the concept of the shoot?
  • Will the weather cause issues?

Having these details save time and money and prevent delays on the day.

5. Finding the Best Model for Your Photo Shoot

When you plan a photo shoot, you need to decide whether a model will help bring your concept to life. You can find talent in the following ways:

  • This modeling agency has a list of professional models

  • Find models via social media

  • Send out a model call to your client base or friends but set terms up front to ensure the model agrees with them

Once you’ve found the model, take time to communicate with them and answer any of their questions. Also, listen to any of their suggestions as they could make a more effective photograph.

6. Hire a Crew

Styling is essential to bring your dream shoot to life and a crew can do it. Styling elevates the quality of images from corporate photo shoots to a product shoot.

We’re talking hair, makeup, and wardrobe stylists. The crew should understand the task and your vision so they can cooperate on set and align with your brand’s identity.

You don’t have to break the bank to add style to your shoot. Contact vendors starting out and want to work with photographers so they can add the shoot to their portfolios.

7. Plan Lighting and Execution 

It’s important to focus on how to find the best lighting techniques for your shoot.
Consider the following questions:

  • If needed, do you have a ladder to best capture a bird’s-eye view shot?
  • Do you have enough batteries?
  • If you’re in a tight space, will that affect the amount of gear?

Cover all ground from the weather to the shots you’re planning to take. It’s key to stay organized to the commercial photo shoot runs well.

8. Backing Everything Up

The last thing you want is a technical glitch to wipe out your hard day’s work. To avoid this, upload the images to the cloud, and duplicate the images on your laptop and on an external hard drive.

9. Post-Processing and Presentation

Post-processing is different for everyone as it depends on how you want your final product to turn out. If your work is for a client, they will tell you what they want and if it’s yours, you can determine the final product. Post-production can range from tweaking white balance to an intense editing session on Photoshop.

And you’re finished! That’s how to do a photoshoot.

Are You Ready for Your Photo Shoot?

The key to a successful photo shoot is to stay organized, prepare your crew, ensure the weather is on your side, and have the right equipment. Good luck!

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