Photoshoot 101

Photoshoot 101

I never thought I would be giving tips for a photoshoot but my instagram has given me the opportunity to shoot content with different photographers and I have learned things along the way! After leaving my last shoot with a good friend I thought - I should share some tips on this because people were DMing me about our shoot location! I wanted to share some things that I think are important and that I didn't know at the beginning with you all. I am going to share my tips for working with a professional photographer and shooting alone or with a non-professional friend!


I still by no means consider myself a model or expert. However, I am someone who had never done this before or been "trained" to model who has learned some tips along the way!

1. Find a photographer who matches your style/feed

What I mean by this is make sure you are working with a photographer that you can work well with. Someone you can be comfortable with. **Fair Warning** At the beginning it will never be comfortable if you are not used to modeling - I still can get awkward and not know what I'm doing. I constantly ask "What do I do with my hands" haha! 

If you prefer a specific color tone in your feed make sure your photographer is aware of that tone or aesthetic. You don't want to be taking photos with backdrops that won't align with your brand/page. Think about if you want bright, dark, white walls, landscape, street style, nature etc and go from there!

2. Let Loose

It is easier said than done but it is necessary to get good shots! I am always worried about the photographer thinking I look stupid but trust me when I say - they want the photo to look good just as much as you do! While you are the one in the shot doing whatever it is you do, they just want to capture it. So try new things, get creative and stop thinking so much!! I still have to constantly tell myself this one as I overthink everything.

3. Say Something!

If you see a wall you want to shoot by or you have an idea - tell the photographer and do it! YOU are the only one who knows exactly what you want on your page. Photographers are so great with their direction and can give you ideas but in the end you are the one posting the photos (if it's not a campaign you're shooting). Worse comes to worse - it's a weird shot and you don't use it but always try what you envision.

4. Small Tweaks

When posing it can feel unnatural. Trust me -  I still feel weird being serious or fierce looking at a camera. So in order to get the same look but different you want to make small tweaks or movements throughout the shoot. My photographers have told me when you hear the click change your pose. It doesn't have to be drastic but it can be: repositioning your legs, hands, hair, eyes, facial expression and so on.

5. Outfit Changes

When you have a certain amount of time you need to make sure you fit as much in as you can -- especially if you don't see your photographer that often. Bring a big backpack/bag/suitcase and once you feel you have gotten what you need in each particular outfit, move on! *TIP* Try to only bring exactly what you plan to wear, you don't want to waste time with options during your shoot time. **Fair Warning** Changing while shooting is not always ideal so you just need to roll with it! You may have to buy something to use a restaurant or store's bathroom, let's hope not but it is possible. Someone may be holding a towel up for you, or you may have to do it in a car. Be prepared for that!

6. Find Inspo

While we all have our own brand we need to pull inspiration from somewhere. I like to use Instagram and Pinterest for photo inspo. I like to look at certain poses, facial expressions, outfits, backdrops and so on. Think about where you will be shooting or what products you'll be shooting and the vibe you are going for. Use your favorite photo inspo and put your personal creative twist on things. 

7. Practice in the Mirror

I know, I know with this one! I don't mean you have to be voguing in the mirror forever but if you have a specific outfit or facial expression in mind work on it. Practice those small movements and that way when you go shoot you know have an idea of something you want to try.  

8. Have fun!

This is one of the most important things! If you have the opportunity to shoot with someone else who knows what they are doing, enjoy it! I have found that some of my best and favorite photos are the ones that come after I am posing. The ones where I laugh at myself or I laugh at something the photographer said are genuine laughs and turn out pretty cute. The moment you let loose and just enjoy the moment your photos will look less tense, less forced and much more natural. 

Here are some professional photos I have taken with Emma Weiss and Isreal Castillo

The first three photos are from my first ever photoshoot with Izzy for alala. I have worked with Emma on a lot of things and adore her. The rest are with her :)


I fully understand not everyone has the luxury to shoot with a professional photographer. So I want to share my tips of shooting with a friend or alone too!

For a solid year and a half I shot all of my photos (outside of one shoot I did in NY and one with my friend). Meaning I reallyyyy got to know my tripod and self-timer on my iPhone! Many of the tips above can work with a friend shooting you as well.


Think about your outfits and the vibe you are going for for the specific shoot and pick a location that makes sense! For example:

If you are doing street style you want more of an industrial/city vibe. Fitness has a lot of versatility - so that is up to you what you are looking for. Casual style has versatility too but I think more nature with these looks great or plain walls. Just make sure your poses/outfits match the scene!

Just do it

I know I have already talked about having fun. At first it can feel funny shooting with a friend and worrying about them judging you. But if they are a good friend they just want to get a good shot for you! So get over looking stupid and have fun. If you are shooting alone you have to do the same thing! It is straight up AWKWARD shooting alone especially if people are around. I used to try to find places where I knew people would rarely be around. If you feel more comfortable with this - then try to find those places. But trust me when you have a tripod it makes you look more official ;) It's 2017 taking photos for social media is not weird. Some people may laugh or snapchat you doing it but who cares, if people look at me like I have 5 heads I just laugh and say, "I'm a blogger" and they keep walking! Don't give a f*** and have fun!


Speaking of tripods above. When you are working with a friend or especially alone you need to have some type of equipment to help make it easier for you! For a really long time I used my family's old tripod and held my iPhone 6S on it with rubber bands! This was honestly up until November 2016! I then upgraded to a few new things:

I still use my tripod and iPhone a lot. (I have waited and will upgrade when the 8 comes out) I have had two bluetooth camera remotes and lost both of them so self-timer is normally the way I go. As tedious and annoying as it is that's how I do it when I am alone! The iPhone takes self-timer photos as a  burst so you have 10 photos to look through which I sometimes like. But it does take time!


Alone or not you need to set up your photo. So either set up your tripod or your friend. I like to set up the backdrop I want exactly - then I will do a self timer photo to make sure I am in it and then remember something small on the ground or wall so I know where I need to continue to stand. You will need a little extra patience with self-timer photos! When a friend is taking the picture I put the phone exactly at the angle and place I want it and have them come to me and hold my phone there and then I will go get in the frame! This way they aren't trying to take it how they want and guessing - now they know exactly how you want it!


Here is a little secret: the fake laugh! Whenever my friends are shooting for me I say, "Make me laugh," and then I get the fake laugh going. I do the fake laugh a lot when I am shooting alone to get more than a smile but less than a cracking up walrus looking shot. The best part about a fake laugh with a friend is that it turns into a real laugh and then it is natural, genuine and looks best! 

Below are some photos from photos I took with others. The first my mom took, second - my sister's friend, third - my friend -- all after I directed them what I wanted! One of my other good friends is into photography and just got a great camera and we just had a lot of fun shooting in the water for the last three!


Below are all photos I took with self-timer and my tripod!

Now it's your turn!

Cue Gucci Mane lyrics - "Gone and get your camera phone on, it's a photo shoot, It's a photo shoot, Girl it's a photo shoot." 

Professional or Camera Phone - Do your thang!


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