Even without a global pandemic, it’s important to know how to create a home photoshoot to get the shots you want at a moment’s notice for your business.
Whether your studio or physical location is closed right now, you’re lacking budget, or you just want to create some more inspiring images outside of stock images. A home photoshoot is a great option that you can have a lot of fun with.
That said, it can be intimidating (and I never said it was easy!) but I’m here to share everything you need to know about creating a compelling photoshoot at home.
All you need is some good ol’ fashioned planning, and you’ll have loads of pictures to share with your audience that are uniquely yours!
Start with your calendar
Before you do any kind of planning, reserve a few hours for research and check your schedule.
Do you have any special events or launches coming up?
Is there something in particular you want to do or highlight? Like a new programme you’re releasing, or are you pivoting your brand and want to offer digital services too?
All of this determines the underlying basis of your next photoshoot. Whether it’s brand focused, product focused, or perhaps some quirky photos for a website refresh.
Once you’ve decided on a direction, it’s time for inspiration!
Where to get Inspired
This is often the first place that people trip up. They don’t have an immediate idea or inspiration for what they want to see, and it just stops the whole process. Kind of like writer’s block!
But it’s actually pretty easy to inspire yourself!
Start with a Pinterest board
Boards on Pinterest are an awesome way to curate different ideas, visually see what goes together, and get some direction! It’s also an excellent place to start with planning your colors (I’ll get to that in a minute).
Looking at the board, you can tell right away if similar images and shots would make sense for your brand and audience (and also hint whether there are things that oversaturate the market already).
Ultimately you don’t want to put the time and energy into something that’s been done hundreds of times. You want to put a unique spin on it!
Start with a super simple query like personal branding photoshoot, Pinterest has a decent algorithm for finding similar images when you click on one, helping you explore different directions much easier and narrow down what you do and don’t like. .
Top Tip: The suggestions below the search bar also help narrow down what you’re looking for to get ideas similar to your own.
Let others inspire you
Still struggling with ideas? Whilst it’s not okay to copy others, you can still be inspired by something you see by industry leaders before putting your own unique spin on it!
Just remember that with your personal brand and business you don’t want to lose your uniqueness by completely stealing an idea!
Once you’ve got your board sorted you’re heading in the right direction, so now it’s time to get down to the finer details.
Make a shot list
A shot list is basically just a specialized checklist where you write down all the details about the images you want to capture during your photoshoot.
Side fact > The term was first used for motion pictures only, but as the photography world became more and more complex, it decided it’s just too good to not share.
Your shot list doesn’t have to be overly complex or fancy either – just write down a list or do some quick sketches of the layouts you want.
Scout your house
Take a walk around your home and look to see if there are interesting angles, rooms, or features that would offer uniqueness to the shots. Once you find something, write it down and note a few variations or ideas.
This is pretty much how easy it is to create a shot list and the main point is to just organize ideas so you don’t forget anything.
Divide the list into a must-have and nice-to-have section, and organize all shots into either wide shots, close-ups or detail shots. You can do a markup on shots you want to feel like they were taken in the moment, without any prep at all (so-called candid shots).
The more detail you can give on your ideas the more you can develop them, and paint a clear picture of what you need and how to get there. This will speed up your home photoshoot and be a clear indicator of whether you’re getting what you need.
Be brutal with shot ideas
Unless you want to spend days taking photos you need to narrow down what you want. The easiest way to do this is to be completely honest with your list. Ask yourself these three questions for each shot idea, if it passes, it stays:
- Is this idea in keeping with my brand?
- Is it too similar to another idea on my shot list?
- Has it been overly done before?
Gather your props
Every photoshoot needs props! They help you tell the story of your brand, highlight your brand personality, and bring your photos to life!
Anything can be a good prop, and I don’t mean a weird hat or outfit kind, but something that is uniquely tied to you, your service or your branding.
- Tools of the trade (basically what you use in your sessions, such as different exercising props like mats, weights, or water bottles, cooking props and favorite utensils, and so on)
- A laptop full of fun stickers and your daily planner
- A plush mascot that’s going to be somewhere in the background, or a living one if you have a pet (everyone loves pets!)
- Other personal items you use often – a book you’re reading, your phone, your trademark hairpin or headband, and so on.
- Failing that, you could opt to use a specific room or area as a prop, like a therapy table, desk, or even the kitchen!
Photos are part of your visual identity and, as such, should follow the same rules as other visual content. When deciding on your props, take note of the colors. Try finding some that complement your brand so that people instantly recognize it’s you.
Top Tip: Make sure you prepare all your props well ahead of time so you don’t have to look for them when you’re ready to begin the home photoshoot (and so you can actually find them!)
Lighting 101: Getting the best shots
Always do your photoshoots on locations and rooms with good natural lighting to get crisp shots. Start by taking note of the positions of windows and doors in your home. Then write down the following:
- What type of light do you get? Is it soft or harsh?
- How about light temperature?
- Is the light colder or warmer? You’ll usually get warmer light during sunrise and sunsets, and more neutral tones during the day.
Each light will create a different feel of your photos.
One thing I can’t stress enough is to avoid mixing artificial light with natural light because it can create weird skin tones! Unless you can freely pick the light temperature (most smart lights have that option by the way!) it’s best to use either just natural and artificial light.
The position of your light source also affects the picture so here are my best tips on getting the positioning right!
- Usually, you want the light to be in front of you when you shoot photos to capture details since the shadows will be behind and won’t obscure any part of the image.
- The side lightning takes away the sterile feel of front-lighting shots and introduces depth and flattering shadows. Bring out the best features and obscure the rest!
- For an artistic feel, create a super simple silhouette effect by placing the light source behind the subject! You’ll need to play around the manual mode on your camera or phone to get a hang of it, but once you do, you can create images where objects appear to have a glow or halo.
- For multiple angles, use fairy lights. They are easy to come by and give you an opportunity to play with multiple small light sources for interesting new effects.
Working with natural light only can get a bit tricky outside of optimal daylight hours or if you have gloomy weather, but a few DIY lighting hacks take care of this part too!
One of the hardest parts of home photoshoots are the lighting, but if you get it right it’s going to make the world of difference to the end result, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Smartphone or camera: Which is better?
You really don’t have to invest in expensive cameras nowadays when smartphones have such powerful lenses and camera apps.
The camera wins only if you have experience with post-processing and need very large RAW files that can get more data for each shot. In reality, most of us don’t do that. We need a point-and-shoot device – so either a compact camera or a smartphone will do. A smartphone camera is currently coming out on top.
The best setup?
When doing your home photoshoot, you can do it all on your own. You just need to set up a self-timer and put your camera on a tripod. I suggest using the 10-second option instead of 3 seconds so you have more time to get into the position you want.
To get a more natural effect, add movement and try capturing candid moments too. Place the tripod and set the timer to a few seconds and just do what you usually do. Then, later on, go through the pictures and choose the best-looking shots!
Post-processing: Edit your photos like a pro
As I’ve mentioned in the previous section, you likely won’t be working with RAW files and edit every detail from scratch, but use some simpler apps that will give you the effects you’re after.
Photoshop Lightroom is a great option, and unlike some of their other apps, it’s super cheap and there’s a free trial. To save you some time and make sure that all of your images have the same general tone and aesthetic, you can pair these edits with ready-made presets.
While they have some stock presets, I suggest going for Tezza presets that make every photo look absolutely marvelous! You can snatch their presets on the Creative Market or Etsy – just make sure to choose the filters that match your brand.
Choosing and using photos: You don’t have to do it alone
Once you’re done with the photoshoot and edits, it’s time to put all those pictures to good use! Use them on your website to create a candid representation of your brand, one that your clients can relate to.
Use the most powerful shots for hero images and headers – the one where you do your thing, basically. A portrait of you laughing, looking confident and warm, working out, something that conveys the essence and energy of your brand, is the best option for these prominent locations.
To bring these images front and centre, don’t be afraid to fill any gaps you find with stock photos, but these should be secondary and not take the attention away from your main brand images.
If you feel like you can’t get any good shots or utilize them well, don’t be afraid to contact me. I’ll do all the heavy lifting and help you with the creative process and tips and tricks of producing amazing brand photos from the comfort of your home!