Elizabeth’s Photoshoot 101 Guide

First, let’s discuss why you would plan a photoshoot. The answer? The world is visual and you need content for all your digital platforms. Each platform has different needs when it comes to content. Some digital platforms require vertical shots, and some platforms require horizontal shots. (Web is typically horizontal. Instagram is vertical.) You must have both.

In order to prepare ANY of your digital properly, you NEED professional quality, hi resolution images. Even though many people appreciate the behind the scenes that go on, when it comes to final content, the picture needs to be PERFECT. The world is visual. Behind the scenes helps with relatability but the perfect shot helps sales. When it comes to the images you funnel through your website, newsletters, main feeds, advertisements, landing pages, etc, images need to be of professional caliber. Investing in a good quality professional camera or hiring a photographer is the best thing you can do in order to capture photos.

The most important advice I can give in order to achieve proper results is to PLAN IN ADVANCE, CREATE A CHECKLIST & RUN OF SHOW, AND BE ORGANIZED!

  • Determine the type of shoot
  • Scout locations in advance
  • Set aside every product you are shooting ahead of time
  • Create a checklist of all products that need to be shot
  • Book hair and makeup
  • Hire a photographer
  • Create a ROS (run of show) – organize each ‘look’ in advance, including outfit, accessories, model, location, time, etc
  • Have help on set – in addition to the photographer and models, you MUST have at least 2 additional people to help with organization and creative direction. I suggest 3 or 4, so someone can take behind the scenes content. Trust me, an extra set of hands on deck helps A LOT.

For success, you need 2 types of shots: product shots  and lifestyle shots. Each image has a specific purpose. I will get into the different things to know when doing a lifestyle versus a product shoot, as the requirements are completely different and the shoots should be planned accordingly.

Product Photography:

Product shoots are typically a lot less chaotic than lifestyle shoots. They are cut and dry. All you need is a checklist of products to shoot, a well lit space, and just go down the list one at a time to make sure you haven’t forgotten to shoot one of your SKUs. I suggest creating a checklist of each item that needs to be shot ahead of time so you stay efficient and organized. You need to get shots of every single item in your inventory. When you have a product on your website, you should have different angles of the product for consumers to see, including packaging, inside of the product, etc. These images should be shot in a lightbox in a perfectly clean, white space with no shadows. You should also shoot the packaging if it is relevant. The outcome of these images should essentially look like your product is floating in clean white space. These will then be used for your website and can also be used in ads. 

When you are starting, of course you may be on a budget. The beauty of product shots is that it is easier to keep these low-budget. For product shots, you can purchase an affordable, portable lightbox for self photography through Amazon and capture images on a hi-res iPhone. If you have a good eye, you can really do this yourself with the help of a friend. However, images must be consistent, with proper angles and composition. So if your eye is not good, you should have someone professionally assist. Images are important and you don’t want to have to do a re-shoot. You must pay attention to the smallest things like tags sticking out, no loose threads, fingerprints, etc. If shooting in a lightbox, and you are consistently shooting the same product in different colors, the product should always be placed in exactly the same spot, so leave a discreet marker in order to place products in the same position. 

Some products are more complex to shoot than others. If your item is larger, you may need to shoot in an all white, well lit studio. It is possible the images might need further editing after the shoot. Editing can get expensive, so my best recommendation is to make sure everything is as perfect as possible when shooting so you don’t need to do too much editing. I love the app Afterlight for editing. If you’re not tech savvy, you may need to outsource this. This can be done for cheap through an app like FIVERR. If you’ve used a professional photographer, you should agree on editing when securing pricing for the shoot. A certain number of edited images should be established.

Lifestyle Shots:

Lifestyle shoots are a lot more chaotic and require a lot more planning in advance. 

They require more of an investment in order to achieve the right outcome. You need to pay attention to every detail of the shot, including lighting, set, glamsquad, overall look, models, and production assistants. For a successful lifestyle shoot, it really is all hands on deck. Make sure you are staffed properly that day, even if it’s your mom and best friend. You will need a photographer, hair, makeup, model(s), set location(s), outfits + accessories, someone to take behind the scenes content, and a few sets of hands to help stay organized. You CANNOT skimp out on hair and makeup. These are the types of details that show. 

Remember, all you need is a perfect few shots. You don’t need a hundred great ones. Make sure you focus on getting the perfect dozen shots. The day before the shoot, make sure you have all outfits carefully selected and accessorized to ensure organization. Make sure you set up hair and make-up. While getting glam, remember to shoot behind the scenes.

Choosing the perfect set is essential. What do you want as a backdrop? Doing scouting ahead of time so that you know exactly where you’d like to shoot will save you a lot of time and wasted energy. Make sure to have perfect lighting. If shooting indoors, you will likely need external lighting. If shooting outdoors, make sure it’s a sunny day, and at the right time of day. You will likely need a professional photographer to achieve the quality shots that you would like. Remember to pay attention to all details. The most important essentials to have on set; hairspray, comb, hairbrush, lip-gloss, moisturizer, speakers for good vibes music. 

All photoshoots require preparation so make sure to create a checklist.


  • Hairspray
  • Extension cord
  • Lighting
  • Scissors
  • Checklists
  • Chargers
  • Run of show
  • Lip gloss, matte powder
  • Sugar
  • Steamer
  • Rolling rack
  • Tissues to wipe sweat
  • Moisturizer
  • Timelapse stand

Tips For Models:

Always remember to put your shoulders down, and keep your shoulder blades open, you will see yourself hunched in videos if your shoulder blades are not down and open. To achieve a relaxed looking face in a photograph, take a deep breath and exhale slowly through your nose for the photographer to capture that perfectly relaxed face. Make sure your lip gloss is always freshly applied. No flyaways, so always have hairspray on hand along with a comb and a brush. Make sure your skin is well moisturized, especially the arms and legs. Your hands should always be soft, relaxed, and remember to always keep your fingers together and manicured. No models should have any hair ties on their wrists either.