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 I'm sharing featured photoshoot, travel city guides and my favourite photoshoot locations. I'll also share Stories about my journey as a photographer and visual artist.

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5 Steps on Planning a Stunning Portrait Photoshoot

Planning your photoshoot can feel like climbing a mountain. You already have so much on your plate, why not ask someone else to do the work for you, i.e. your photographer? Let me stop you right here, to get the stunning portraits you’re after nothing compares to making your own decisions; the photographer is there to facilitate the process for you. Let me share five steps with you that will get you started on planning a stunning photoshoot.

1. Create a mood board  that excites you

Pinterest is undoubtedly my favourite tool that I used to keep my creativity in shape. I use Pinterest as a tool for inspiration, creating ideas for portraits and boudoir, personal branding, editorial photoshoot and working with clients on every personal branding and portrait shoot. Pinterest is a great tool to help me understand the direction of your portrait session.

Start with a brainstorm and set

1. A theme for the shoot

By setting a theme and mood for the photoshoot, you will limit your focus, decide on a location if you want somewhere special, choose a mood and a styling theme. This includes emotion and the story you want to share.

2. Create a secret board

Share the board with your team, makeup artist, stylist, and the photographer. Exchange ideas with your team and start pinning. Begin pinning makeup, and hairstyling ideas as these will get great reference points for your makeover and the make up artist.

3.Create a vision

Before Pinterest, you would tear pages from magazines and pin them to a wall to create a mood board. The principle of Pinterest is the same; choose images that fit your ideas. Select photos from your searches for location, clothing, props, accessories, photographers, designers, movies, pin images that you’ve taken on your phone that inspire you.

4.Narrow it down

Like standing in a museum in front of a painting, display your board on a computer screen and step back, what jumps to minds, let yourself permeate with the mood, colour tones, the images. Start deleting what doesn’t fit in, keep 12-15 images to share with your photographer and his/her team. 

2. Invest in your wardrobe to match the style

Your wardrobe is so essential, why? Because if you feel confident in your clothing, you will boost your confidence from the start! Don’t skip this step. What you wear is going to set the tone of the whole shoot.

Getting the right pieces is more important than high-end pieces. I have photographed a whole shoot with just one piece of black lace fabric, another with dresses hired from Girl meets dress and two simple dresses from H&M.

Having your photoshoot, unless your mood board calls for it, doesn’t mean that you have to splash the cash. Let’s be creative and work from your mood board. I’m not saying quality doesn’t show on camera, what I’m saying is that these portraits are about you and not the clothes. The most important thing is that the outfits you’ve chosen, have to work for you don’t just make a quick decision. Take your time and work with the mood board. Then try them on and notice how you feel. Yesterday I watched the movie about Audrey Hepburn, the costumes created in collaboration with Givenchy had a huge impact, helping to step in her roles, we only have to remember that gorgeous little black dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

3. Consider hiring a makeup artist and hairstylist

“Makeup lets you experiment and be whoever you want to be in that moment.” – Oprah

A portrait shoot isn’t about just capturing who you are. It’s about so much more. When I invite you to step into your zone of brilliance, it also means that the person I capture in the portrait can show a bit of who you aspire to be or perhaps it’s a version of you from a different universe with a different style.

When you wear, makeup you set up a gear and get a boost of confidence, feel elegant and classy, imagine yourself stepping into Audrey Hepburn shoes, or more bold and sexy like Madonna.

I invite you to use your mood board to share your vision with your makeup artist to create the look you genuinely want. We are so used to do your makeup in a certain way, it will also be helpful to share a picture of your day to day makeup and the type of makeup you are aspiring to.

4. Find the right photographer

You are taking the time to plan and are putting effort into your photoshoot, this lets’ me think that you’re quite invested in, not only, to make it happen, but also have a memorable experience. You have your mood board, your outfit, and makeup ideas. Now, all you need is the right photographer. I have shared how to choose the right photographer in a previous post that you can read here.

  • Choosing a portrait photographer to create legacy portraits, to share with your loved ones and celebrate yourself, is no easy task. Often you will follow recommendations from other people, friends and family, but portrait photographers are not interchangeable. It’s what you have to look for in choosing the right photographer.

  • You enjoy their style and find inspiration in their work.

  • They show diversity and strong connections with their subject.

  • They respect you and your idea enough to spend time getting to know you and what you’re looking for.

  • They, not only, understand your vision but are also excited to take it to another level.

  • You feel comfortable and at ease with the photographer.

  • 5. Invest in yourself and commit!

    Congratulations – you’ve made it all the way to here! But it’s not over yet. Many women doubt themselves and drop out because they ask themselves questions like “am I worthy enough for this” or “is this too vain”. You can read the blog post about five reasons to book a portrait session here.

  • If you’re thinking “I’m not enough”, “I have to lose weight first” and all the reasons that are flashing in front of your eyes right now. Yes, I can read your mind (no, I’m joking). Then it’s time to do this for you. Invest in yourself and invest in a photo shoot that makes you feel good and look good. Every woman needs a beautiful portrait of herself, and I 100% believe that.

  • I hope you found some answers in these five steps to planning your dream photoshoot. In summary, find great inspiration, backup the inspiration with clothes and makeup, find the right photographer, and commit!


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Portraits of Rachel by Corina Tough, Molly matcham