There are as many ways to take a photo as there are people taking pictures. Forget arguing over equipment; photographers and their photoshoot ideas are different all the way down to their philosophies.
You might scout in advance, plan and coordinate meticulously, and even rent a space if you don’t have your own studio (ahem). Or you might pick up your camera, pick a direction to walk in, and start shooting what- and whoever catches your eye, street style.
But when it comes right down to it, each of us needs ideas to keep us going. Otherwise, we stagnate as artists, and clients will notice if you’re churning out work that doesn’t feel distinctive.
Ampersand Studios doesn’t only have physical space for photoshoots — we understand the need to empower and engage our creative community. That’s why our co-working spaces include creative studios in the first place! So if you need photoshoot ideas, allow us to offer up a few fresh takes.
A couple things to consider when implementing photo ideas.
Whether you keep things off the cuff or you’ve mapped everything out to within an inch of its life, it’s equally important to check in with yourself from time to time: what am I aiming for? Are these results living up to my personal and professional goals?
A photoshoot theme or concept that’s not your usual is invigorating and a great time to check in on the following points. They can help you understand the change you’re longing for.
If you’re just looking to brainstorm within your current wheelhouse, skip past this and get to the good stuff.
Obviously, any specialization has plenty of options still involving its main subjects. Landscape photographers might go for crags and cliffs over forests and lakes. Portraitists can infuse props, fashion, a total change of setting. But you can also take your knowledge and try applying it to an adjacent manner:
- Landscape experience can lend itself to astrophotography.
- Portrait work isn’t too far removed from lifestyle or branding.
- Some aspects of product photography might prepare you for food photography.
More realistically, you may want to shift focus and incorporate new elements. At some point, there’s very little professional gain in stepping outside your established specialty. But it can serve you well to shake up your artistic vision from time to time and remain (or become) multiskilled.
The little details.
Say you’ve noticed an overreliance on color in your work. You used to enjoy the style, but recently you wanted to transition to a more subdued look. Correcting that may be as simple as temporarily switching to black and white, to explore what else makes your photos tick:
- Light and shadow
- Form and lines
- Framing and composition
All of these work in concert, ideally. No one’s begrudging a preference, though. If you find your work already balanced to your liking, there are two options.
Pick out a photoshoot concept that both accentuates your strengths and forces you to work on the rest in the background. Or flesh out an idea that relies on your weakest point — then you can either improve or figure out how to spin that weakness back into one of your strengths.
For solo photo shooting.
- If you’ve got a vintage lens (or were looking for a reason to snag one…), set it wide open and see what you can do with the soft light, blurry edges, and shallow depth of field. A purely experimental exercise rather than a particularly useful one, it can be a study of discovery and working around limitations.
- Do an impromptu portrait session for anything that’s not actually a person — a pet, a favorite book or stuffed animal, or a piece of furniture with a lot of character.
- Get a tripod and get your self-portrait on. It’s worthwhile in itself but can also help you better understand form and posing and framing and angles, before working with your model.
- Pick a vague but common theme (reflections, silhouettes, the color red, circles, windows) and photograph it in at least 3 to 5 unique ways. Different subjects or one subject from different perspectives are equally challenging approaches.
- Combine natural lighting, or a single lighting source, with using flash to create more evocative images.
- Shoot with the light: head out in the early morning and late evenings to capture the atmosphere and colors that alter the entire feeling of an image. The same goes for overcast days, fog, snow, or rain. If there’s a physical aspect to the weather (fog, snow, or rain), use it to inform and alter your compositions as a whole, not just the mood.
- Create your own still life. Pose a collection of items (perhaps one of those little adjustable wooden mannequins, too?), and design your surrounding “set.” This gives you a chance to test the logistics of picture ideas on a small scale, like a miniature studio space.
Photoshoot ideas for pairs, couples, teams, and groups.
- Plan a conceptual portrait session where you never take a picture of their face.
- Organize a challenge with other local photographers, where you all shoot the same subject, utilize the same setting, or incorporate the same props. Comparing photos afterward should help you all think outside your respective boxes — then go again while emulating another’s style.
- Recreate classic paintings. Drop iconic poses into a whole new environment, or create a makeshift environment that has just enough similar elements to be understood.
- Try a candid style couples photoshoot at their favorite places.
- If it isn’t standard for you, try working with stylists and maybe a set designer, and rent a space for studio photo shoots (Ampersand has you covered in Miami, of course). Knowing your way around a professional lighting setup and how to successfully coordinate with a photo team changes the game. It can certainly open up new opportunities if you were previously self-styled, left styling to the models, or mostly worked outdoors with natural light.
- Bring a friend and add human interest to natural or urban landscapes – we instinctively respond better to pictures with people in them. Ask them to wear a distinct splash of color or something else distinctive, so they draw the eye. Play with how natural or staged the photo looks, and your friend’s distance in relation to yourself and the main subject.
- Get permission to photograph a sport or local event – or use friends and family as guinea pigs – to practice capturing motion, single details among a sea of details, and multi-focus compositions.
Ampersand Studios can’t do everything. We can never make it snow in Miami so that you get the shoot of a lifetime, for example.
But whether you need to stage a studio photoshoot or your photoshoot depends on natural light perfectly streaming through wide second-floor windows, we have the creative spaces to accommodate you. A fully equipped post-production studio lets you finish up projects on the premises, too.
And when you need a few photoshoot ideas in a pinch, you know we’ve got you covered.