by photoshoot

What exactly is a photo shoot?

Anyone interested in becoming a professional photographer needs to fully understand what a photo shoot is.

Sure, you’ve heard the term photo shoot in films, seen it in magazines, or even from a prospective client.

But what is the proper definition of a photo shoot?

A photo shoot is a term used to describe any specific event that is made with the purpose of producing professional photography. When you are booking or working in a studio, with a set or purpose of image production, you are engaging in a photo shoot. 

Wait, is there is a difference in spelling between 'photo shoot' vs 'photoshoot'?

There has been recent debate regarding photo shoot vs photoshoot. The thing is, there is no grammatical basis for a debate. Photo shoot is the correct grammatical spelling, though Millennials have recently started using photoshoot as a term.

Can anyone run a photo shoot?

Absolutely! Anyone with a camera or even a smartphone can run a photo shoot. There are some limitations of photoshoots, however; for example, if you are getting prepared for a sunny photo shoot with makeup and hair and a model, and it rains, this can limit your ability to go through with the photoshoot. Outside of such circumstances, anyone with the capacity to take a photo can set up a photo shoot.

Photo by Raju Miha on Unsplash

There is a professional, almost corporate atmosphere to running a photo shoot.

While a photo shoot with a friend or a model you hire is fine, you need to make sure you have a certain level of professionalism when it comes to photo shoots you are being paid for.

How to prep your first photo shoot:

1. Prep for a shoot with a model

Make sure you are on the same page with models in terms of the types of shots that you are going to be taking as well as things like wardrobe, make-up, and hair.


2. Props such as a piece of art, a building, instrument, etc

Make sure you have legal permission for any prop you use in your photo shoot.

3. Have a vision for your photos

Get into the mindset for your photo shoot by envisioning the final outcome of your photographs.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

4. Photo shoot gear is paramount.

You need a fresh memory card, batteries, and the lenses, filters, and other accessories that you will need for the shoot. Make sure that your gear is ready to go so that it doesn’t keep your subject waiting.

Reminder: the shoot won’t go 100% as planned

I like the motto “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”, and you should apply that to your work. Anticipate what could go wrong, and prepare for that. You want to be able to get something out of every session even if it doesn’t go as planned.


Additional, essential pointers for your first photo shoot:

The essentials for a photoshoot are your subject, your camera equipment, and of course you!

It is important to bring a good attitude and be ready to connect to people that you may be working with. Even professional models may tense up with a camera pointed at them, especially if it is boudoir photography, and establishing a connection can lower the amount of stress that a camera brings, making for better shots. Emotion is captured by a camera, and it is easy to see when someone is uncomfortable in a photograph. 


If working with people, it is essential that you get a release.

The reason you need a model release is that, if you are going to profit from an image, license it, or use it outside of a specific case, you need one. A model release is necessary for any person whose likeness appears in a photograph used for business or advertising use. Even if you are not planning on using an image for that case, you may find yourself wanting to sell the image in the future, so try to get a release. In certain genres like aerial photography or drone photography, this would be truly difficult.

3 Easy Tips on how to make a photo shoot look professional:

1. Want professional photos? Practice, practice, practice. 

Make sure you take hundreds of photographs in many different settings before you embark on your first photo shoot. Practice may not make perfect but it will certainly make you professional with your camera.


2. Phone cameras of today are superior to some of the cameras that took the best images of the last century

Don’t forget: you don’t need an expensive $2000 camera to take professional photo shoot pics. Your smartphone can perform wonders in the year 2020.

3. Focus on knowledge and learning

You need to understand how your camera works and how you can best leverage both your gear and your software to get the image as technically perfect as possible.


Professionalism is key

The greatest photo shoots occur when both model and photographer are at ease. The more professional the shoot, the better the pictures will be. Check out the 10 most famous photo shoots in history here


Beyond professionalism, a model needs to feel confidence from their photographer during a photo shoot. This will allow for the greatest, most candid shots. For photo shoots involving inanimate objects, you’d be surprised at how much confidence matters: edgier, boundary pushing photographs occur when a photographer is confident in their talent and ability

What are you waiting for?

Now that you have a good idea on how to run a photo shoot, start snapping pics! Your first photo shoot awaits you!