Host Your Own Fashion Photo Shoot in 5 Easy Steps

As a photographer, flipping through the glossy pages of your favourite fashion magazine is both addictive and envy-inducing. While the gorgeous, high-resolution images of beautiful models and breathtaking ensembles can inspire you in your own work, equipment limitations can make it difficult for you to recreate the same projects.

Luckily, even without access to expensive professional gear and a perfectly lit studio, you can shoot your own high-fashion-style photos. Consider these five tips to hosting your own proper photo shoot.

1. Create a makeshift studio

Every capable photographer needs a studio setting, but not every photographer has the key to a fully equipped workroom. The good news is, it’s easy (and inexpensive) to create your own. All you need is a room with a blank wall. If such a space doesn’t exist in your home, tack up a plain white sheet from ceiling to floor. This will act as the canvas for your work of art.

Keep in mind overhead lighting is often harsh and unflattering. Natural light is best for professional-quality photos, so un-block all windows. On especially bright days, however, you may need to diffuse the light with sheer panels or another white sheet. If your workspace doesn’t have windows, then you’ll need to bring in a light source that can be manipulated. A floor lamp with moveable arms works wonders because it allows you to focus the light where it’s needed to create the right highlights and shadows.

If all else fails—take it outside!

mini 90 model

2. Gather your props

If you’re going to be using props in your photo shoot, be sure to have them ready and waiting. Nothing kills creative flow like having to stop and search around. Instead, place any props within reach of the model.

While you don’t necessarily need to use props, it can give the photos more personality. Additionally, if your subject is not accustomed to modelling, giving them props can give them something to focus on and calm their nerves. Your props don’t need to be outlandish. Everyday items and simple accessories, like a purse or umbrella, will suffice.

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3. Set up a hair and makeup session

To ensure your model is fresh-faced and photo-ready, all makeup and hair styling should take place on-site. Organise all cosmetics and tools for easy and hassle-free application. Depending on the length of your photo shoot, your model may also need to retouch. Having everything laid out will keep the process streamlined. Consider bringing in an amateur makeup or hair stylist pal to help prepare your model.

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 4. Brief your model

While everyone is photogenic in their own way, some people feel more comfortable in front of the lens than others. Fashion photography can be especially difficult for amateur models because it requires a great deal of emotional expression and posing.

To ensure you’re able to capture the right moments, take some time to brief your subject. Flip through a magazine together, and choose different photos as inspiration. Sometimes providing a model with visual direction is more effective than telling them how to pose.

SQUARE print model

5. Have fun

Lastly, remember instant photo shoots are about improving your skills and having fun with friends. Blast your favourite music, play around with different looks and styles and enjoy yourself. By focusing on having a good time, and not taking things too seriously, you’ll make better photos and great memories.

Of course, fashion photography requires patience, inspiration and plenty of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged if the results aren’t as you expected the first time around. With a little practice, you and your model will become more comfortable and create stunning photos you’ll both be happy to share.

Ready to create a photo series worthy of an editorial spread? Capture more with instax WIDE format camera and film!