How to Create a Fashion or Beauty Shoot
Photoshoots are so much more than simply picking up a camera and snapping a few pictures. As a photographer, I constantly find myself in awe of the artistic process involved in transforming an idea into a visual medium. Given the endless possibilities for innovative content, it’s crucial to have a unique and creative concept that can be translated into a photograph. I find that the two types of photoshoots that best accomplish this are tied to fashion and beauty. Whether you’re going for simple or showy, fashion and beauty photoshoots have a distinct way of showcasing a vast array of talent. With that being said, I’m going to share eight-step process in developing the perfect beauty and/ or fashion shoot.
STEP ONE: THE VISION
Going into a photo shoot with no vision is like hopping off an airplane with no parachute; it’s simply a terrible idea. An excellent way to get started is to ask yourself some questions to get those brain juices brewing. What inspires you? What’s your style? What does your perfect shot look like? Once you figure this out, now it all must come together. Be as extra as you want. If a look seems impossible to pull off, that’s all the more reason to try it out. After all, this is your shoot. Why not do whatever you want? However, if you’re still having trouble developing your vision, no need to fret. Step two will help you out.
STEP TWO: RESEARCH IDEAS
If you have yet to hear about Pinterest, finish this article, go straight to the app store, and download it immediately. However, if you want to skip the app store or the internet altogether, inspiration is everywhere you look. If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, let the hues of nature be your guide. The beauty of flowers and sunsets never goes out of style. If you’re more of a homebody (like myself), just look around your room. Perhaps you’ll notice certain colors or details in your comforter that weren’t there five minutes ago.
STEP THREE: RALLY THE TROOPS
A photographer is only as good as his/ her team members, so once you feel your vision is ready for execution, fire up the group chat to ensure everyone is on the same page. I can’t emphasize this enough, but articulate exactly what you’re going for. Do yourself a favor and eliminate the number of problems that may arise later on.
STEP FOUR: PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!
Now that you have steps one through three on lock, it’s time to set the date. This goes without saying, but make sure you, your team, and your model are all available on the same day at the same time. For instance, if your model only has a one-hour time slot to dedicate to your shoot, postponing is always a viable option. Even the most minimalistic shoot can eat a huge chunk of your day, so be sure to plan out every detail, and include some extra time for incidentals. This includes but is not limited to fashion faux pas, makeup mishaps, etc. Just remember to take a deep breath and not stress too much when things don’t go according to plan.
STEP FIVE: GET THE GOODS
While having an awesome photoshoot idea is, well, awesome, you must have the necessary tools to execute these ideas swirling around in your head. It’s like expecting a painter to paint without any paint (try saying that five times fast). Some basic things you’ll need to create the environment for a photo shoot are proper lighting, a DSLR camera, a makeup artist, a model, a backdrop, and software for editing(my recommendations are Photoshop and Lightroom). If you’re doing a fashion shoot, you must add in clothing, props, and any necessary permits if you plan on shooting at a specific location. This may sound overwhelming and potentially expensive if you don’t currently have these items, but the internet can be a magical place. There are countless apps and websites you can pillage through to purchase on the cheap, borrow, or even rent anything and everything you need. Now, if you have all these tools, what do you do with them?
STEP SIX: LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
Congratulations! The big day has finally arrived! This means that it’s time to haul out your equipment, play some music, and get to work. Before you get all gung-ho on your shutter button though, be sure to check your lighting and camera settings. Keep in mind that soft, natural light can work, but having studio lighting is ideal. A Speedlite unit, beauty dish, and reflector are great tools to give proper lighting and reduce appearances of flaws in the skin. This also entails constantly checking to see if the image is under or over-exposed. Don’t think you can fix everything in post! Additionally, understanding your camera settings on manual mode is the best way to shoot because you are in control of how the picture turns out. Settings will vary, however, based on the mood, lighting, and theme of your shoot. For example, in my most recent publication, the settings were at ISO 125, f-stop was 5.0, and shutter speed was 160.
STEP SEVEN: CONCENTRATION ON COMMUNICATION
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “communication is key.” Well, this is quintessential when it comes to photo shoots. Without effective communication, your entire shoot could be ruined. You may feel like a nag with having to open your yapper every second, but this infinitely beats the alternative, i.e., all your pictures coming out undesirable and unusable. Let your model know what poses your thinking of, and don’t be afraid to correct him or her if the pose isn’t exactly what you want. The same goes for your team; if they’re doing an awesome job, let them know. If they aren’t doing such a swell job, suck it up and let them know.
STEP EIGHT: HAVE FUN!
Last but certainly not least is my golden rule. Don’t forget that with fashion and beauty photography, there is no right or wrong way to be creative. The technique is still a crucial part of creating an image, but don’t let the stress of attempting to create a perfect image take away from the enjoyment of photography.
Authors: Alexa Tokich and Jenna Morgan
Editor: Jenna Morgan
Instagram handles: @tokich_photography and @jenna__layne