Planning your photo shoot

Knowing what you want before you start is always going to get your closer to achieving what you want.


By planning to get up before dawn, we had beautiful soft backlight highlighting the grass, animals and hair on our models. Some things are left to chance - like animal placement. 

By planning to get up before dawn, we had beautiful soft backlight highlighting the grass, animals and hair on our models. Some things are left to chance - like animal placement. 




What you want photographed
For what usage
Where else you may need to use it - you can photograph the same subject from different angles, distances, light set up, etc. for multiple uses
The area the photos will need to fit - horizontal, square, vertical, panoramic
If you will need to overlay words on the final composition
Your branding colours and feel
Your ideal customer and the talent to reflect them (so they can 'see' themselves in the photos)
What time of year, day,  and the week is best for the shoot

Keep an inspiration diary or place to take notes and ideas so you don't need to start from scratch each shoot. Pinterest is awesome for this kind of stuff. 



Google or Pinterest (and create a board) the type of images that you need
Compile the images you like - looking at poses, colour, light, treatments
Find examples of what you mean by 'quirky,' 'fun' or other descriptors - without visuals; these could mean entirely different things to different people.


A TripAdvisor study showed that photos are so essential to driving engagement and bookings that just going from having no photos to photos results in 138% increase in engagement. 


This would work in many industries. 

Low-quality images and branding translates to low quality service/product. As a customer, do you want to pay for low quality stuff? 

As we all know by now, photographs are important. 

Think about when you are researching plumbers, naturopaths, fitness classes - are you more interested and engaged with sites that have personality, nice photos and tell a good story? I immediately click off of any websites that have bad design, no photos or are just messy. I take a quick look at sites that have obvious stock imagery, only if I am ultra keen. 




Who they are
What they look like
Do you need to find people or do you know people? 
What should they wear? Perhaps bring a few outfits. Make sure they match the others that are in the photo. 
Hair and makeup? A stylist can be worth their money - ten times over. Or can you get away with just powder to blot the shine on noses, cheekbones, forehead, chin, etc.



What will add to the story
Have options available
Make sure you can iron, straighten, adjust with pins



Where will you shoot?
Do you need a permit or property release to photograph there?



Any chairs/change rooms/mirrors/ladders? The list goes on. Try and pre-visualise the shoot and what you may need. 
Food and water for talent and people on shoot


Create a schedule

Work with the photographer on this as they will know how long a shot should take to get.
Make a backup plan for weather, time or talent swaps
Check in and remind everyone the day before the shoot. Make sure everyone has the right time. 

An example Shoot Plan. Click to download and use. 

An example Shoot Plan. Click to download and use. 

Why work with a Pro Photographer?


Photos in your business

There are some things that take a lot of practise. Compositing backgrounds in windows and doors is one of these techniques that require skill. 

There are some things that take a lot of practise. Compositing backgrounds in windows and doors is one of these techniques that require skill. 


  • Get attention
  • Keep attention
  • Tell a story quickly
  • Make websites and promos look good
  • Give personality






We also know


  • People have an ultra short attention span
  • Bad design will turn people away
  • We are competing with the world - not just locally




  • You need to be different
  • Show your personality
  • Tell people what is unique about you
  • Show it off the best way possible
  • Get the best pics you can afford


This course has been all about teaching you how to get better photos yourself. But, as I said right at the start, there is always going to be a place for a Professional Photographer. I know we'd all love to use one all the time, but 'money doesn't grow on trees'. Learn to spend it wisely -throughout your entire marketing budget.


Professional photographers


  • See things you don't see - they are a fresh pair of eyes
  • Have studied and practiced the craft for many years
  • Help develop your ideas
  • Execute the ideas the best way possible
  • Have studied light and know how to work it to get results
  • Know what effect their lens/ISO/shutter/Aperture choice has
  • Know composition and the effects of subject distance to camera
  • Understand the nuances of cameras and what needs to be done
  • can get the photos done quickly and with ease
  • They know the legal stuff - copyright, model releases, property releases
  • Know what images 'sell' from experience
  • They are insured (I hope they don't need to use it) - what if someone hurts themselves on your shoot?
  • Get it done quicker - they take photos every day for their job. They 'see' them before taking the photo and know how it's going to turn out. 

This results in well lit, composed and appealing photographs that are created as quickly and easily as possible. There shouldn't be any re-shoots or fluffing about working out for hours how to light something. You don't need to stress over light, composition and styling. Less stress for you. You can get back to business. Make money quicker. 


When to use a Pro?

Why invest major $$$ in your advertising and marketing, and use images that are not the ultimate best that show your business off?

  • Major campaigns
  • Web images that are going to be used for hero 'grab attention' shots
  • Printed collateral that is expensive to print and design - why go to that effort with sub-standard imagery?
  • Anything that is going to stick around for a while - brochures, website pages, profile photos
  • Keep your graphic designers happy :)


An extra safe-guard

What is an Accredited Photographer? Why use an Accredited Professional?

It is an unfortunate fact that in Australia, the imaging industry is not held accountable to the same legal status and regulatory requirements as other Government and state-regulated professions.

In the area of creative services, this can often be seen as a good thing, allowing fresh new people to work in this area without the restrictions and barriers to entry often required by other professions.

But it can also be a problem, allowing anyone to call themselves a professional, without any recourse, any accountability and any attempt to adhere to agreed and appropriate standards.

The AIPP Accreditation Process
The AIPP have addressed this dilemma by encouraging photographers and video producers, to enter the profession by providing a membership pathway to become recognised as an ACCREDITED PROFESSIONAL.    

Using an Accredited Professional means that...

  • You are working with a professional whose status has been formally validated and recognised
  • You are working with a professional who is a member of the only recognised professional imaging membership body in Australia.
  • You are working with a professional who adheres to OUR required level of service and quality, a standard we set, regardless of the standards the professional sets for themselves.
  • You are working with a professional who has been through our accreditation process
  • You are working with a professional who is bound by our Code of Professional Practice
  • If you want to make sure you choose a professional photographer or video producer, make sure you LOOK FOR THE LOGO and choose an Accredited Professional.



Of course, I want you to use your skills you have learnt from Better Pics of Business. Keep practicing. Keep showing them off. They will get even better with more practice. But before you consider them, make sure you are absolutely happy with the standard and that there is nothing that will be compromised by their use. 

Does it tell a story?
Is the light nice?
Is it on brand?
Good composition?
Are there any distractions?
Is the overall image great, or could it be better? Make sure you can answer 'great'. 




You are finished! Congratulations. Keep taking photos, keep asking for feedback. Your vision is alive. 

You are finished! Congratulations. Keep taking photos, keep asking for feedback. Your vision is alive. 

Happy photographing! I hope you continue to show me your photos via our Facebook group, Instagram or email. 

Well done on completing Better Pics for Business. My aim was to bring your awareness and thought to the photo taking process, share my tips and tricks, and get you taking photos you are happier with. I hope I achieved this.


Thank you for joining me, and I look forward to seeing your pics!

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