How To Do A Styled Shoot For Your Creative Business

Getting beautiful pictures for your website and social media isn’t as easy as just snapping a picture on your phone. It is important to get pictures that are not only beautiful, but also capture the overall aesthetic of your creative business.  In today’s post, I’m going to share a little bit about why I decided to go ahead with a styled shoot and how to know if you’re ready to do one too.

There are a lot of reasons why you might not be ready for a styled shoot.  You still don’t know what your brand aesthetic is, you don’t feel like your work is good enough yet, you feel weird getting your picture taken, photographers are expensive, you’ll be ready as soon as you fill in the blank. There are always going to be excuses, but today I’m going to share why you should get moving on your styled shoot TODAY! 

I decided to go ahead with the styled shoot before we launched our website.  I wanted to have nice, professional photos as we launched our online store. I also wanted to get some good filler photos for my Instagram feed so I wasn’t having to scurry around getting cute photos of all my artwork.  I honestly don’t paint fast enough to get one post a day and I didn’t want to put that much time into taking styled photos of my work rather than painting.

I definitely hemmed and hawed about taking this next step.  A professional photographer is a big investment and I just didn’t feel like I was ready for the longest time.  Once I had enough work that I was happy with, I felt more comfortable taking the plunge.  It also helped that I told a friend we would be opening the shop on a certain date and because I’m stubborn I had to stick to it! Nothing like a deadline to light a fire under you! 



Once I decided we were going to go ahead with the shoot, I booked Marissa from Ciccarelli Photography who had done our family photos the year before.  I love her colorful, bright photos and she was great to work with.  Scroll to the bottom for her best tips and tricks for a styled shoot. When booking her, I really wanted to make sure I went in with a plan (helloooo to my fellow Type As!) I did a lot of research about the look that I wanted.  Especially if you are a new business, you’ll need to figure out if you want a light and airy look, a dark and moody vibe, or maybe you want floral and romantic.  I went with a colorful eclectic vibe, erring on the side of maximalism.  When doing research it is helpful to look around you.  Check out Pinterest, look at other Instagram feeds and websites you love, look at people both in and outside of your industry.  I really like pinning different textures that inspired me. 

For a while, I felt paralyzed by the fact that I was still hammering out the details of my branding.  If you’ve felt this way, you are not alone! But it doesn’t have to be a barrier.  Sometimes working with a photographer that you like can actually help you focus your vision.  Once I got the photos back, I loved them so much! I now try to make the photos I take look like hers.  I am no photographer, but I try to include similar colors and lighting--it’s really helped create a cohesive look for my social media feeds and for the online shop.

Once you know what kind of vibe you are going for, find a photographer who can capture that look you want.  Look through their portfolio and make sure it is a good match.  Let your photographer know what kind of vibe you are looking for - send them your Pinterest board, describe your brand or share pictures of your work.  Tell them why you chose to work with them, what you like about their work and how it relates to your brand.  This helps give them an idea of what you’re looking for! 

Now that you’ve booked the photographer, you’ll want to make sure you have everything ready for your photoshoot day! Depending on if you’re doing a styled shoot of your artwork, headshots, action shots of you working, or all of the above, you’ll need to do a lot to prepare.  I created four different “locations” in and around our house with costume changes, props, and more so that we could get the biggest bang for our buck.  I wanted to make sure that we were getting all the images I could possibly need for the rest of the year.  

You’ll want to think about what images you want.  I wanted some photos where I was painting, some with my family in it, some of just the supplies.  Think about how you want to use the photos.  Andy and I went through our website to find the types of pictures we would need for each of the pages.  We also thought about the types of posts I would need for my Instagram feed.  Now put all these photos together in a list! Add lots of detail! No detail is too small.  One from mine included “Students blurry in foreground, K in focus explaining (gesticulating lol)” I use my hands a lot and I wanted to make sure that was captured in the photos. One photo I wish I got was me holding my products and looking really excited, like “check out this new stuff in the shop,” but now I’ll know for next time! Don’t forget to send this list to the photographer.


Props for photoshoot


As you’re thinking about your photo list, you’ll want to think about props, outfits, and maybe even hair and makeup.  This is optional, but it might be good to do, especially if you don’t usually wear a ton of makeup.  Getting good makeup for photos is really important.  You’re going to want to wear a bit more than you usually do, but make sure that it is matte so it isn’t shiny on camera.  Also think about a hairstyle that could be put up in different ways so it doesn’t look like you took all the photos on the same day.  Shyn, owner of Pacific Brides did my hair and makeup for my wedding and I am basically obsessed with her so I had her come help with my hair and makeup for this photoshoot.  

Styled shoots are a ton of work and they can cost quite a bit for the photographer, but I am soooo glad that we did it.  I now have a ton of photos that I’m obsessed with and they will go a long way! If you think you’re ready to get started on your styled shoot, you can sign up for my newsletter to get some tips from my photographer and get a free checklist that includes all the nitty gritty for how to prepare for a styled shoot. 

Marissa, from Ciccarelli Photography shares her best tips and tricks for planning a styled shoot: 

1. Be overly prepared. Talk through everything with your photographer like timeline, what you're looking for, your style, mood, and what you're using the photos for (ex: some might need to be square for instagram or a horizontal banner for your website, etc).
2. Have outfits out and ready so that if you're changing it's easy to just slip into the next one without a lot of fuss.
3. Think about lighting and what rooms or locations have pretty light (biggest windows). When shooting outdoors try for a morning or evening time frame so that natural light is softer. 
4. When picking clothes it's not even necessary to buy something new, but to choose clothes that make you feel and look great. It'll show in your photos if you feel confident.
5. Having any still shots already laid out and styled is super helpful. Extra styling items can be close by to swap in and out.
6. Checking out instagram or other websites to have a vision to share is essential for communicating the look you're going for.
Be sure to check out her gorgeous photographs on Instagram, and if you're local to the Seattle area, I highly recommend working with her and her husband for your family, event, or business photos! 
September 16, 2020 — KATE TALCOTT