Preparing for a Photo Shoot

Of course, a photo shoot requires a lot of preparation. What do you need to bring and what do you need to think about? First of all, it is important to have a plan of what you want to photograph. Based on that, decide what else you will bring. Will it be a portrait shoot, a children’s shoot or perhaps an animal shoot?

Sphere Board

Now that you have a photo plan, you may want to bring it with you to the shoot as a mood board. This is handy for yourself, so you can quickly see what ideas you already had. But it’s also convenient for the model. You can quickly show your model what you have in mind. Because explaining a mood in words is different than showing a photo. People interpret words differently. Personally, I like to create a (private) board with the model on Pinterest. Both can include ideas that have been discussed beforehand and the model has time to prepare for the shoot.

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Garbage bag

One item I always carry in my camera bag is a garbage bag. This can come in handy for a number of things. For example, during photo shoots, I often lie down on the ground to get the best angle. The ground may be wet or dirty, so lying on a garbage bag comes in handy. But a garbage bag can also be very comfortable for your model. You might want him/her to sit on a beautiful tree with green moss on it. This green moss is very beautiful, but of course it also has a high chance of staining. You can easily prevent this with a garbage bag! The same goes for wet sand. You wouldn’t want to sit on it, so don’t let your model sit on it.

Connect with the subject

To make sure people are interested in who the person in the photo is, it is nice if that person is not too stiff in the photo. As the photographer, making contact and keeping the atmosphere relaxed allows someone on the other side of the camera to relax. This also makes the body language much freer, which makes the photo less uncomfortable to look at. Make jokes, start a conversation, be interested in what the other person has to say. The less the subject is looking at the lens, the more relaxed the photos will look. This is not only more comfortable for you, but also gives the model more confidence. A relaxed atmosphere also makes for beautiful spontaneous photos.

Get inspiration from other people’s photos

When you’re stuck creatively, looking at other people’s photos can be confronting. But it can actually be a key to getting your creativity flowing again. The key is not to judge yourself when you look at someone else’s work. Realize that you are only seeing the very best work and not the whole process, from coming up with the concept to choosing the very best photo from all the photos taken. It may be that this person has been photographing for years, but started out with less creative photos. If this works, you can use other people’s photos for inspiration.

Try to look at the photo objectively. Think about what you like about a particular photo. Is it the subject? Or the lighting? Or the composition? Or (with people) the pose? Take the element you like and see if you can make a picture with just that one element and make up the rest of the elements yourself. That way you don’t have to come up with everything yourself, but you have something to start with. By using just one element from someone else, you avoid making a copy of someone else’s image. Looking for inspiration? Then check out my portrait gallery.

Focusing properly

Proper focusing is always important, but there are different things to focus on in different types of photography. In portrait photography, it is important to always focus on the eyes. Your attention is always drawn to the eyes first. If you make sure that this part of the photo is always in focus, the photo as a whole will immediately look much sharper.

Choosing the right lens

There are, of course, many different types of lenses to choose from, and each has a different effect. For example, a telephoto lens is great for creating a nice soft background. Unfortunately, the downside of a telephoto lens is that it compresses everything a bit, including the person you are photographing. This can make him or her look a little fat. But you also have to be careful with a wide angle lens. This lens can create strange proportions. Anything closer to the camera will appear much larger in the final photo. For example, a nose can suddenly look huge with a wide angle lens. It’s best to choose a lens between a telephoto and a wide-angle lens. Depending on the type of photo shoot, you can choose which lenses to use. Of course, you can choose to take everything with you, but that often means a lot of unnecessary lugging. For a portrait shoot, I always take my 70-200mm and my 24-70mm, they go well together.

Model 01


Whether you shoot from above or below can also make a big difference in portrait photography. Are you sitting low and shooting from below? The subject will appear slightly taller, which can have a magnifying effect in some settings. Keep in mind that not everyone looks charming from below. A person’s face usually looks best from above. However, this can make the person in the photo appear smaller. Think carefully about the image you want to capture and choose your perspective accordingly.


As with all forms of photography, post-processing is very important in portrait photography. There is something you need to pay special attention to in portrait photography. Namely, editing your colors. Colorful photos are often popular, so it is tempting to increase your saturation. To avoid orange skin, it is better to avoid the Saturation option in portraits and use Vividness. Vividness enhances all colors except skin tones.