Planning a Personal Brand Photoshoot

I think we can agree on one thing, the gram is allll about the visuals. Mirror selfies are barely cutting it and low quality photos...well that’s a hard no from me. If you're serious about building a business or brand on Instagram you need to get serious about your content! The good news is you don't have to hire a professional photographer and pay hundreds of dollars. You can, but you don't have to. Especially in the beginning.

Batching Content

Getting content is a huge hurdle for many of us gals trying to build our personal brand. Have you ever felt like you are the only one in your group who can take a decent photo? Why are we the only ones who can take great photos of everyone else but put the camera or iphone in your friend’s hand and you end up with 3 blurry photos that make you look 3 feet tall… #TheStruggle

There are 4 different methods I’m going to go through for getting photos but before we go there let’s talk about batching. What we don’t want to do is try and scramble to get a photo together an hour or minutes before posting it. This always translates into messy work. Most of my photos are taken in batches. I try and get 6-8 ‘postable’ photos at once. As a heads up, this can take 4-5 hours. That might feel overwhelming but don’t worry, with a little organization the experience is more often than not a little bit of adventure and a lot of fun.


Getting Photo Content for your Instagram

Okay lets dive into those 4 methods I talked about..

  1. The iPhone camera timer setting is a beautiful thing and I've set up my tripod with my camera and taken photos on timer to get shots by myself many of times. You gotta do whatcha gotta do! Plus it costs nothing. Additionally you really don’t need a timer I’ve stacked books and shoes and other random things to set up my phone. One of my favourite photos of Jared and I was taken with the phone on a rock between a backpack and a water bottle

  2. Second option (also free) is forcing my boyfriend to take photos of me #instagramhusband, which is ironic because he is like 32 times more photogenic. This works for any type of partner and/or sibling and/or..parent?

  3. Third option, better yet and probably free (or like the cost of lunch) is getting someone who is actually a little familiar with taking photos to help you out, pair up with a girlfriend who is working on her Instagram game too! Or reach out to up and coming photographers in your area and volunteer to model for their portfolio. They get experience, you get free photos! 

  4. Fourth option is, of course hiring a photographer. This will probably cost you somewhere between $25 - $200 per hour. I've yet to do this! So definitely don’t feel like it’s necessary. This is also money that you could also be investing into your own equipment. Some photographers might let you edit your own photos which could cheapen the deal by a lot, so if you are comfortable in that department you could try and negotiate that.


When you're planning your shoot here's what you need to do:

Choose Locations 

If you're doing a lifestyle shoot in your home this might look like this; bedroom, kitchen, living room, back deck.

If you're doing it throughout your city it might look like this; mural off 4th avenue, bridge on 42nd street, coffee shop on Main and viewpoint on Ocean road.

Be organized and specific so you don't waste time :) . If you live in basically the arctic like me it can be really hard to get photos since it’s below freezing outside at least 5 months of the year. Get together with a couple girls and rent a studio space for 1-2 hours or rent a super cute Air BnB and use the space to get your content plus then it can turn into a fun girls night!


Plan Outfits

Definitely have at least one outfit per location but also try shooting multiple outfits at each location. For example// At the Viewpoint on Ocean Road shoot in a fitness outfit but also a flowy dress. At the bridge shoot in the same flowy dress but with a jean jacket and also a casual jeans and T outfit. Now instead of just having essentially one post from each location in each outfit you have multiple. Ample content creation! 

Find Photo Inspo for your Lifestyle Photoshoot

As much as a professional photographer can style and pose you if you are working with a friend, partner or tripod you are really responsible for the vision. Have some photos saved in your camera roll to reference. I love using the 'save' feature on Instagram to pin photos I love and want to use as inspiration. I organize my saved posts into albums so I can quickly reference them before shooting! Pinterest is also an amazing tool for inspiration. Even searching Lifestyle Photoshoot brings up some great content! 

What to consider when hiring a photographer

Professional photographers are artists and should be treated as such. They have their own shooting style and their own editing style. Make sure their editing style isn’t going to totally clash with the rest of your grid or ask them to do a simple/clean baseline edit.

The more YOU plan the photoshoot the more you will get out of it. Some photographers only offer limited outfit changes so make sure you have that conversation ahead of time.

Side note/Pro tip: It's an Instagram faux pas to post 3 photos in a row that are clearly from the same shoot in the same location in the same outfit. Just like you really don't need to post a carousel with 4 versions of the same photo.. If I'm going to use two similar photos I make sure there is 9-12 posts in between so that when someone is viewing my profile the two photos aren't both in the initial view. Plus your followers won't feel like they JUST saw the photo. 

Iiiiiii digress. Use your outfit changes people! 

The last thing is you do not need to tag your photographer in your Instagram posts, you are paying for the photos so they are yours to do what you want with. Of course it’s nice to tag them to get them exposure but it can also be distracting from your post. If anything I would tag them in the photo but not the caption.  


Checklist for Planning Your Own Photoshoot

I created a photoshoot checklist for you so you don’t forget anything and you make the most out of your content gathering day!


When you're shooting relax, enjoy, and get as much content as you can! If you think of another idea along the way just go for it!

 Please drop me a comment below on DM me on IG if you learned anything from this post! Thanks, you're the best :) 

Have fun!