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Want To Shoot? 5 Tips for Your First Professional Photoshoot

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Have you ever wanted to do an editorial shoot?  Well, TCF contributor Brianne did – and she shares her advice so you can do your very own.

Hello fashionistas!  A few months ago, my friend Casey posted on Facebook about open slots for a photo shoot.  I had an idea for an editorial shoot that shows who I am as a designer.  Fashion tells a story, and I wanted to tell one about my sort of gritty glamor that meets sawdust and metal chips.  I debated about whether to message her or not, and then said, “SCREW IT!  Life is short let’s do this.”  We set up a date (Make Salt Lake) for September, and I busily began my work as model/creative director/stylist.

I learned so much doing this, and I wanted to share tips with TCF readers.

Here are 5 tips on creating and running a photoshoot!

  1. Decide on a theme or story

Perhaps the hardest and most fun part of this whole process is figuring out what you want to say.  I had kept track of ideas on Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr.  After I committed to doing the shoot, I laid out all of my ideas.  I had SO MANY I wanted to do, but I focused on editing myself.  One of the worst things you can do is try to stuff too many ideas into a shoot. I decided on my theme:  A high executive woman who uses a welder, saw and sewing machine to make her designs a reality.


Hunty à la Mode About a year ago, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool to do an editorial style Photoshoot in a makerspace? Using it to show my aesthetic as a maker, a sort of gritty glamor meets sawdust and metal chips?” I sat on this idea for a while. I doodled about it, kept a secret tumblr and Pinterest on it…. But I was hesitant. After all, putting oneself at the center of a creative project, (taking photos no less!) could be taken as narcissism. I wondered: Who am I to hire a collaborator (shoutout to @mckiss_portraits) for this project? Who am I to put this out there? Who am I to think that I have something to say about my work, when I’m just starting out as a designer? HARD STOP. ENTER MAMA BRI. Who am I to do something like this? I am Brianne Motherfucking Lindsay Huntsman, offspring of some badass women. My work, perspective and voice do matter and I serve no one by shrinking at the prospect of being criticized. If that makes me a narcissist, then hell yeah and hip hip hooray for narcissism. So make your work. Be a maker or writer or creator or whatever sets your soul on fire. And put it out in the world. Our job is to show up and do the fucking work. Share your greatest work: you. Take a goddamn selfie. Post it all over the Internet as a declaration of how fabulous you are. I told my inner critic to gtfo. I have a fire in me, and I won’t dampen it for anyone. And neither should you.

A photo posted by Brianne Huntsman (@ceohunty) on

  1.  Communicate with your team

Like any creative project, you need to keep the lines of communication open!  I travel a lot, so Casey and I chatted online about the project.  I shared my inspiration photos, outfit and styling ideas.  She made sure to give me straight-forward feedback “That pattern won’t translate well on camera” or “YES! That necklace will capture the light exactly like we want it to.” If you decide to hire a professional photographer like I did, here are the things you need to discuss with them:

  1. How long will they be on location (in hours) with you shooting photos?
  2. How many images will you end up with?
  3. How many images will they photoshop? (I had a nice PMS breakout during the shoot.)
  4. Discuss photo rights.  Will the photographer share the photos on their site?  Make sure you have in writing that you own the photos.
  5. What is the total cost and budget (with line items!) for the shoot?  How would they like to be paid?

Casey behind the scenes moving photo equipment around the space.

  1.   Get your outfits, gurl!


So, if you’re a clotheshorse like I am (and I’ll bet you are) you already have a few looks I’ll bet you can use.  Look for clothing that supports your storyline.  I bought a ton of pieces for the shoot, and then edited myself down to 3 looks that told the story.  (Less is more, people!)  I brought 2 extra outfits just in case something went wrong with my top 3.  My shoot ended up being 50% new and 50% already owned.  I fell in love with this blazer from Maurices.  AND I had been eying at this jumpsuit on Eloquii FOREVER and bought it explicitly for the shoot:   Eloquii Deep V Contrast Jumpsuit In hindsight I wish I had asked someone looking to build their portfolio to be the stylist for the shoot. It’s hard/impossible to direct the photos while also modeling.

  1.  Plan Your Shots


Make sure to plan the various shots you want beforehand, and list them out.  I literally took screenshots of photos I liked on Instagram, and did research on how to pose for the camera.  It’s also a good idea to set up a timer on your camera and do some (or a lot) of test shots to try out poses.  I knew I wanted some shots of me working on a design:   Brianne sewing - copyright 2015 The Huntswoman While it’s good to plan leave yourself open to the muses! Let creativity strike in the moment (that’s what happened with the shot below).

  1. Bring Your Tools!

Make sure to bring make-up, a Tide-To-Go pen, hairspray and safety pins the day of your shoot.  Things will go wrong, and you can never be too prepared.  Mostly, remember to relax and have fun!  You won’t take good photos if you’re stressed about the photoshoot.  Plan plan plan, and then just go for it when you’re shooting.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 9.17.05 AM

Photos copyright of Brianne Huntsman

What are your tips for taking the best pictures?  Share below!

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Written by Brianne

Brianne is a queer plus-size blogger over at Check out her consulting work over on

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