The Secret to A Successful Photo Shoot


By: Eden Hensley; Photos by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Successful photo shoots have one shared characteristic. They all involve planning. Want to increase the likelihood your content will be shared? Before you begin taking any photos, start with the end in mind.

Where will you be promoting your work? When will you be promoting your work—before the project is finished, while you’re creating it, or after the project is complete? Will any of the images be used in print or just online?

How you intend to use your content? On your website, in an digital magazine, in a print magazine, on social media or a mix? Where your content will be displayed and shared will determine how much cropping and editing you can do. It also will set the image formats for your final images.


This past June at Alt Summer, Candice of Handmade Mood walked attendees through how she created a Fiesta Frida from start (concept) to finish (final photographs and copy). Here are four things to do when planning and executing your photo shoots.

  1. Pick a concept. Your concept will guide everything you do, from selection of props to color scheme to which DIY projects you include.
  2. Create a Pinterest board with all of your inspiration for your shoot. If your client’s style is different from yours make sure you’re on the same page before you start styling the set and photographing. You want your work to be recognizable as yours, but you also want the client’s aesthetic to come through.
  3. Make a list of where you’ll be promoting your shoot. Jot down ideas for vertical shots (Pinterest), horizontal shots (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+), and square images (Instagram).
  4. Print out your final list of the images you need. As you work, double check you have at least one image setup for each requirement to give yourself more options to choose from.

Want more resources for planning and perfecting your photo shoots? Here are some of our favorites!

1 Comment

Eden Hensley

Marketing creative, community engagement specialist, technophile, photographer, food and wine enthusiast, and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Road to The Good Life, a lifestyle blog about appreciating and enhancing your life by being grateful for the "haves" instead of lingering on the "wants." There you will find personal stories about my life and family weaved in with real-life, achievable entertaining tips, recipes for hearty home cooked meals, and DIY projects for capturing and sharing memories. I believe the best place to swap stories is over a shared meal, preferably a Thai-meal served family style, and teach an online introduction class to Thai Flavors and host the Family Dinners at The Station supper club in San Francisco.