My quick start photoshoot guide/checklist.

Lets get straight to the meat and potatoes with some quick photoshoot tips

1) Have your lighting and gear set up, switched on, tested and ready to go before your subject/model arrives.

It may seem obvious but it will save you time and it will give your model/subject some initial confidence in that you know what you are doing!

2) Turn the heating up to a comfortable working level.

Be considerate. No one wants to be cold. This is supposed to be enjoyable for all parties.

3) Get the kettle on!

Have little breaks…….offer drinks, soft drinks, Jaffa Cakes! Whatever your model/subject likes! You will have found out this in advance because…………

4) Pre-shoot communication is the key to a successful photoshoot.

See what I did there? Let point number 4 really sink in.

5) Set up a Pinterest mood board and USE it during the shoot.

I like to break it down into three sections styling/lighting/poses and I always refer to it during the photoshoot.

6) SHOOT TETHERED!!!!!!!!!

If there is just one piece of advice I can impart to you today that will make a MASSIVE and I mean massive difference to your photography, it’s to buy a tethering cable, plug your camera into the computer, open Lightroom or Capture One and literally see what you’ve been missing. Talk about my photographic epiphany! I shoot a sequence of 5-6 shots and then check the monitor for lighting blips, stray hairs, wardrobe or makeup malfunctions etc etc. Adjusting as you go. Working this way will, I guarantee, save you time and post processing effort later. It’s also a great way to show your model/subject what is working too, in terms of lighting and pose, in real time. Far better than a small display on the back of the camera. Trust me, I’ve done it both ways.


If you do notice that stray hair or untucked shirt as a result of embracing my top tethering tip, then please don’t presume to touch your model/subject to sort it out. TELL THEM ABOUT IT and they will either do it themselves or give you permission to do so. It’s simple etiquette, but you should follow this rule at all times.


In my experience, lots of models are very good at looking at an image and spotting something that might be potentially wrong with it. Something that can be easily improved with a little tweak. So pay attention and remember they will have worked with a multitude of other much more experienced photographers than you or I. They may well be a pretty accomplished photographer themselves, so embrace their input, and thank me for it later! Also, there’s no need to be secretive. I’ve heard models talking about photographers who would never show them an unedited image! There’s really no need to be precious. If you work together collaboratively you WILL get better results. FACT. Show your model/subject what you are doing (see point 6 ) and allow them to offer their input and give them the chance to improve on their posing/styling. It works.

9) Get down on your knees.

Literally get down on your knees. Your shooting angle will dramatically flatter or un-flatter your subject so think about your shooting angle. It’s important. Shooting a full length shot of a female subject? Get low. Shooting from a low angle will accentuate the length of her legs. Shooting from a standing position will do the opposite and make her legs look short. Similarly, taking a lower camera angle when shooting a male subject can give a nice imposing look. If you’re shooting a head and shoulders portrait, then take a different approach. You’re going to want to be just a little higher than your subject’s nose…….have them project their jawline out and push the forehead slightly down. It’s flattering. Take a look at Peter Hurley’s YouTube channel or the work of Sue Bryce for all of the posing advice you will ever need. It’s something you should never neglect to consider.

10) Be vocal.

Coach your subject or encourage your subject. Tell them ‘that’s fantastic’ ‘let’s go along these lines’ ‘let’s develop this’ etc etc you will build a better rapport and that of course equals a more productive session and………….


Just don’t be that guy. BE PROFESSIONAL. Want people to work with you again? Build a great working reputation and you will have more people wanting to work with you than you could ever fit into your schedule. It’s a nice place to be at………..BE NICE.

12) Say thanks

Yep………..easy innit? Say thanks. Drop your model/subject a message after. Congratulate them and thank them for their hard work. Leave them a reference if applicable. It will be appreciated.

Hopefully this little guide is useful to you?

Stay safe people.


I’m a fine art portrait photographer based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. Specialising in creative and styled portraiture, fitness photography, headshots, family portraits and personal branding for you, for actors, for athletes and for business professionals alike.

If you like the content maybe consider buying me a coffee at my ko-fi page.

2 Replies to “My quick start photoshoot guide/checklist.”

  1. Hello old chum,enjoyed your tips and tricks about this new tangled medium,a bit confused,do we still have to leave the plates out in the sun to develop them.?otherwise splendid old chap,you have come a long way since your first Daguerotype,splendid fellow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: