Planning a Photoshoot Step 1: Choosing a Shoot Style

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As camera companies continue to produce products that are more accessible to consumers in both price and skill requirement, more and more hobbyists are getting behind the camera full time to make a living with their passion. It’s true that we are in the middle of a never before seen increase in picture quality, and even entry level photographers can purchase cameras capable of producing some of the best images in recent history…


So then why don’t your pictures always look outrageously awesome?


It’s simple—your camera can’t plan a photoshoot. It’s not enough to have great gear and a great model/product with no solid plan for your location, art direction, or shot list. More than that, how are you planning to innovate during your next shoot?


Luckily, planning an effective and intentional photoshoot is not rocket science (it’s not even earth science). So we’ve devised some easy to follow steps to take your photo shoots to the next level.


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Choose a shoot style.


Just like a college final, preparation is most of the work when it comes to photoshoots. Doing the right pre-production will make any shoot a breeze.


But where do you start?


We recommend spending as much time with the problem your client is trying to solve before deciding on the solutions you can provide. In other words, a phase of project discovery is imperative to effectively planning a photoshoot.


What is project discovery? Just what it sounds like: discovering the project. Instead of relying on the client to tell you what kind of photoshoot they want, spend time asking them about their goals, the current sticking points in their business, and what they’d ultimately like to accomplish when they have the photos in hand. After you know enough about their needs, you can recommend a specific photoshoot style that accomplishes a specific goal.


Why be so specific? To set expectations. One photoshoot cannot simultaneously help the quality of the website, the online product photos, the print ads, the business cards, and increase sales across the board. We might be photogenic, but we’re not photo genies. An effective shoot should focus on one goal. Building a strong media library to suit all of a businesses needs takes time.


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On-Site Photography (Capture)


This is the most common type of photography a business needs. It consists of pictures of the company’s physical space, as well as some working staff photos. We recommend this package often because all it requires from the client is cleaning their office/store and making sure employees dress nice for the day. And all we do is capture the images.


Our on-site photography package includes headshots as well, ensuring that all of the photo assets needed for a website or print material are taken care of.


Mabble recently did an onsite photoshoot with Brandon Taylor Mortgage Consulting, seen above. We are able to use these photos in everything from his brand guide to the new website we are building for him.



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Lifestyle Photography (Portray)


This is one of our favorite shoot styles, for sure. It’s a great blend of a company’s brand and culture, culminating in strong visual elements that clearly communicate something to the viewer. What makes this style different from on-site photography?


The planning.


This style of shoot involves props, backdrops, wardrobes, models, and intentional positioning. In other words, this style of shoot involves an Art Director. With no detail left up to chance, a lifestyle photoshoot is meticulously organized before anyone sets foot on set. These shoots are great for advertisements, marketing campaigns, print collateral, etc.


Mabble recently did a lifestyle photoshoot with The Happiest hour, seen above. We loved color coordinating props, wardrobe, and settings to match their products and brand colors perfectly.


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Product Photography (Sell)


Quick and simple is not quite right, but when compared to other shoots it’s not exactly wrong either. Using a light box to create a clean and clear image of any product, this style of photoshoot has one goal: to get a high-quality picture of the product. No bells. No whistles. No fuss. These photos are used for e-commerce websites like Woocommerce, Shopify, or even Amazon.


Mabble recently did a product photoshoot for Dayamed, seen above!


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Stylized Product Photography (Display)


Some would call this the “lifestyle shoots” of product photography—and they would be correct. Move over Amazon, these photos are a little too steamy for your platform. This style incorporates color and tone from the business’ brand, and builds a scene around the product that intensifies its message.


Use a stylized product photo to communicate ingredients, effects, or even flavor without saying a single word. Great product photos can even articulate the feeling the consumer will have when interacting with the product. This is also a great space to innovate, try new things, and break the mold.


Mabble recently did a stylized product photoshoot for Sierra Bags, seen above. With little more than colors, shadows, and reflections, we were able to portray a high-quality product to their target audience effectively.


Are there more types of photoshoots? Definitely, but most of our shoots can be boiled down to one of the four goals above. So next time you are planning a photoshoot, don’t forget to accurately determine your style.


And ask yourself—am I trying to capture, portray, sell, or display?


Not sure what your business needs for your next photoshoot? Our photography department would love to brainstorm with you. Contact us today to get started.