top of page

How To Build Out a Concept for a Photoshoot

As creatives, we all have so many ideas flowing through our minds on a daily basis, but sometimes it’s hard to translate these thoughts onto paper or execute them in the same way that we imagined them. Even though happy accidents can occur when trying to execute a thought and something more unique comes to fruition, not every creative wants that to happen. Whether you’re unsure of where to start when trying to conceptualize an idea, or if you need some guidance about how to move forward with a half-baked thought, we’re here to help you!

For example, we have an upcoming project this month titled “Mad Woman”, and we’re in the throes of figuring out how to bring this concept to life. One of the first things we like to tell creatives to do when the beginning stages of a good idea hits is to create a Pinterest board. Pinterest is a great springboard to jump off of with references and inspiration to further a concept. While you shouldn’t be copying an image from Pinterest to a T for your project, there are plenty of images to spark creativity. For our “Mad Woman” project, the idea began with Taylor Swift’s 2014 cover shoot with Wonderland Magazine, and the idea for an androgynously styled shoot blossomed from there. As seen in some of the images below, we want a gritty and edgy vibe to be conveyed with the styling, makeup, and hair.

In addition to finding inspiration for wardrobe and the overall theme of a project on Pinterest, you can also find amazing set design ideas. When building out a concept for a photoshoot, you want to tell a story; to ensure this happens, working with similar textures, colors, and other small details can make sure that your story is cohesive. For instance, when preparing for one of our previous projects titled “Flourish”, we wanted a very delicate and feminine vibe to be portrayed, so we chose a few details that would be consistent throughout shooting. When looking at the photographs from this project, you can see at least one element of pink, chiffon, or bows in each set or look; this allowed for a very aesthetically pleasing result to be achieved without straying from our original concept.

Image from Flourish editorial; Photographed by Taylor Jones (@tdevynn)

Lastly, when planning out a concept for a photo shoot, you should create a shot list. For those who don’t know, a shot list is a document that compiles different poses or frames that will occur when shooting an editorial, film, or other video. To ensure everything is in one place, we like to use Pinterest when searching for pose ideas for a shot list, and shared iCloud notes so the whole team working on a project is on the same page. During the planning process for “Flourish,” we wanted poses that were very feminine and soft in nature, so those were two keywords that were essential to finding inspiration.

Building out a concept for a project can ensure that you’re prepared before coming to set, but sometimes inspiration strikes when you’re knee-deep in shooting, and that’s okay! Sometimes your best work happens on the spot even if you’ve planned every last detail out, and as a creative, it’s alright to incorporate these light bulb ideas into your photoshoot because sometimes our on-the-spot thinking can create the best results.


bottom of page