It can be SO hard to find the perfect photos for your Instagram posts. I have been there! Using stock photos gets old quick and a bunch of basic headshots will definitely not do the trick. When you’re not a pro with the camera (like me!) you’ve got to bring in a professional to help.
That’s where a photoshoot just for social media content comes into play. A couple of weeks ago, I did a photo session solely to get new, on-brand content for my Instagram. Of course, I’ll use these photos throughout my website and other marketing sources too, but the point of the shoot was Instagram content. You can do this too! When you use Instagram RIGHT, it can become a top place where new clients and customers find you. For me, Instagram is the second most common place my future clients meet me and decide to book me. Second only to referrals from past clients.
Doing Instagram right starts with great content. Here are my best tips for finding a photographer and planning a photo shoot to get you those dreamy Instagram photos you’re looking for.
If you'd rather listen to this post than read it, you're in luck! Use the audio below to listen to this post. The podcast version has some additional details as I dive a little more into each point. ENJOY! If you prefer not to listen in your browswer, just search for the Breakthrough Brand Podcast wherever you get podcasts to tune it!
Step 1. Finding the right photographer
For my recent photoshoot, I wanted a photographer who works specifically with bloggers because I knew that style of photography was going to get me exactly what I needed for my Instagram content. To find the lovely gal I worked with, I looked at the pages of local bloggers I followed to see who took their photos. This led me to Lydia!
Look at the photographer's portfolio (or Instagram account) and check for these things:
- They have taken photos like what you’re needing (a.k.a. not just wedding photos).
- You like their overall aesthetic - editing style, angles, use of coloring, etc.!
- They seem to understand and care about personal branding and work with clients who are building a personal brand. (For me this was key, but if you are in more of corporate scene, look for photographers who photograph THAT style.)
- They seem like someone you would be comfortable around.
Once you have evaluated, check that they are in your budget AND with a package that will suit multiple outfit changes and a variety of photos delivered. In my experience, I’ve worked with amazing photographers priced anywhere from $150 to $400, and I’ve even done a service exchange once! A service exchange is great if you’re starting out to get you both more experience in your field and some fresh photos! You could also ask a friend who’s good with the camera to take some photos for you. You can make this work in your budget, and if you’re savvy with the types of photos you take, you can spread those babies out over a long period of time!
Step 2. Choosing your props.
Consider what you write about often on social media. How can you incorporate those topics into fun lifestyle images? Evaluate what you currently post about, companies you love or do affiliate work for, and the random things that make you, YOU. Make a list of props that would be fitting.
To get you started here are some props I used in my shoot:
- 2 Confetti Poppers (because hello… celebration!)
- iPhone and headphones
- Yoga mat and mat bag
- Books I talk about often
- My Cultivate What Matters Powersheets
- Eye Glasses
- My business cards, pens, stickers, a notebook, and other desk accessories
If you’re feeling clueless on what you could include as a prop, look back over your social media right now… what are you talking about? Where could a customized photo fit in where you’re currently using a stock image?
Step 3. Making a shot list
Consider the props you’re bringing +, of course, some solo shots, and consider what are your must-have photos. I think it helps to brainstorm these out on paper and then add them to a note in your phone to bring with you on the shoot. Look to Pinterest and the people you follow whose photos you love for reference. But, of course, don’t copy. Just get inspired for your must-have shots.
As an example, some of my must-have shots for my recent shoot were:
- With confetti falling around me laughing
- With my iPhone and headphones in as if listening to a podcast
- With my yoga mat bag, like walking to a workout class
All 3 of those shots are extremely relevant to my content, and will help me have a fab photo to use when I talk about relevant things!
Step 4. Choosing what to wear
Whatever you do DON’T just wear one outfit the whole time! No one wants to see an Instagram feed full of someone in the same outfit on repeat. Try for 2-4 outfits if possible!
In addition to the big outfit changes, even just adding a sweater or glasses can make a photo feel totally different! So, bring some sweaters, jackets, scarves, or other accessories so you can quickly switch things up.
When choosing what to wear, these are my biggest tips:
- Wear your brand colors or something close. For example, if your main colors are similar to mine (bright and colorful) then a burnt orange top isn’t the way to go. Think about the way that outfit would look along side the overall colors of your Instagram feed.
- Wear something that makes you feel crazy confident! Nothing ruins a photo shoot faster than when you feel bad about how you look. Open your closet and pick those items that always make you feel like a supermodel.
- Consider the seasons. If you’re planning to use these photos throughout the weather changes then consider choosing outfits that don’t look like they go with any specific season.
- Only wear loud patterns against solid backdrops. Your location and outfit need to connect! If you have a patterned top on, then that likely won’t look so great against a busy backdrop. Consider asking your photographer for tips on this!
Step 5. Choosing the location
Remember this photoshoot is about showing the personality of your brand and business. So, as your first thought for where to shoot, consider the places you actually go to in your city. Perhaps your favorite coffee shop, park, or ice cream parlor? I can’t stress enough that these photos should reflect YOU, not what everyone else on your Instagram feed is doing. For my shoot, I started by asking my photographer for recommendations - where does she love to shoot? What places have the best lighting and backdrops? We ended up choosing the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville which includes one of my favorite coffee shops, tons of fun, bright walls, and lots of amazing photo opts. It was awesome for us to be able to walk between shots versus driving everywhere to make the best possible use of our time.
Here are some quick location choosing tips:
- Choose spots that are YOU!
- Do not take all your photos in the exact same location - mix things up!
- When shooting indoors, look for interior spaces with ample natural lighting.
- Ask your photographer their location recommendations based on your photoshoot goals.
Step 6. Sharing your images
Spread them out! Like I said in the beginning, no one wants to see a feed with a bunch of photos of you in the same place and same outfit. Slowly release these photos and make your purchase last. You don’t need to share these new photos with your audience all at once. I recommend using a scheduling tool, such as Planoly, to plan the overall aesthetic of your feed and make sure no outfits look are too overdone. Also, remember, don’t just post photos of yourself. Share your work, fun quotes, real life happenings, and other content to mix things up!
Want more Instagram tips - like how to plan your content from start to finish? Get my No Fuss Instagram planning guide below!