How to prepare for a lifestyle photoshoot

28 March 2018

Preparing for a lifestyle photoshoot

How to prepare for a lifestyle photoshoot

If you’re in the process of branding and designing your website and you want some great new portraits to complete your professional new brand image then I have put together some key things that will help you prepare for the shoot.

Getting a set of shiny new images might just be the most fun part of the whole branding process! Not to mention that it’s really important to get fabulous looking images so that your ideal customers will want to do business with you.

Finding a photographer

There are different ways to find a photographer, perhaps you know someone from networking, or a photographer has been recommended to you by a friend. It could be that a facebook group discussion has given you some names  to look into. Take your time to do a bit of research and check out the photographer’s website and galleries to see if you actually like their work. If you do then arrange a chat, either on the phone or meet up in person if possible. It’s good to speak with the photographer to see if you’re a good fit for each other.

Check package details and things like how many images you’ll get and whether there are any extra costs or license fees.


Bring all your ideas to the discovery consultation –  but don’t worry, at this stage many people don’t know what they want yet. You don’t have to come up with a plan all by yourself.

Together we can chat about what the images are for? What platform(s) are the images being used on? What your brand is all about? Do you have brand colours you like to have in the images. This will help me get ideas for what you’d like and make sure we’re on the same page.

Must-have shots

Knowing where you will be using the images will help you get clarity on what you need. Firstly, browse your website and make a note of where images would fit in great.

”Consistency is key for your brand”

Great lifestyle imagery on website

Next, see what orientation or sizing would work best, tall, wide, square… If you know you need a banner image that will be very wide, tell your photographer so they can capture that for you. It’s better to know this in advance because cropping the image later might lead to disappointing results when important bits are cut off.

Do you need to have your portrait taken at the side of the picture so there is room for text to be added later?

Check your editorial calendar, if you use one, and see what campaigns, blogs, posts you need to have imagery for – if you are organised enough to have planned a Christmas campaign 6 month ahead, then it’s worth considering if you’ll need a photo of you in a santa hat for instance. Consistency is key for your brand.

”You could have a selection of locations for your portraits – some indoor and some outside”

Create a secret board on Pinterest

I do this for my clients so we can share the kind of images you like and what you feel represents your brand. We can comment and add images so that my clients can see ideas and be inspired. Again, don’t worry about trying to find exact images of what you want – at this stage it’s really to get a feel of your brand and style preferences.

Where will these photographs take place?

Outdoors? City, beach or woodland backdrops all look great. Remember that outdoors will be weather dependant though. It’s not a problem to rearrange a shoot but something to keep in mind if you need to organise the shoot for a specific day.

city headshot portrait by RJM Photography

Indoors?  Your office, home, at a cafe or venue and perhaps you like the idea of solid colour backdrops which can be done in the studio. It will also be easier to change your outfit indoors too.

Refer back to your Pinterest board to see if you favour particular backdrops.

”Choose little prop details that help tell a story of your business”

Change of clothes and backdrops

You could have a selection of locations for your portraits – some indoor and some outside. Mixed with a few clothing / jacket swaps; this is ideal to create an illusion that the images were taken at separate photoshoots on different days. But really it’s all been captured in a matter of hours.

Props in your photographs

Accessories like, bags, scarfs, earrings, hats, sunglasses are useful to give you different looks. Maybe a laptop, phone, cup of coffee ? Or perhaps something that’s very specific to your business. Some little details that help tell a story of your business may be great to capture especially if some are your brand colours.

branding colours for lifestyle photography


Select props and try on your outfits at least a week in advance to make sure you’re really happy with your look. (refer back to your Pinterest board for ideas). Be sure to keep on brand, but you don’t need to actually wear you brand colours if they don’t suit your skin tone. You could book a stylist or colour analyst (check out Helen Lee to find out more about using colours ) to help you out with clothing ideas and also be on hand at the shoot too.

Book in hair appointments near the shoot date if you need a blow dry or your colour done. You could also have a makeup artist (see my Headshot Photography Makeovers  blog) come along to the shoot to make sure you look your absolute best.

Confirm with you photographer the meeting time and address and pop an event reminder in your diary.

Bring a makeup bag so you can touch up. A hair bobble, grips, and a brush/comb and some hairspray if you need them. Also safety pins – they come in handy!

I believe that feeling comfortable is just as important as being confident if not more so. Feeling prepared and doing this planning process will help you feel ready and excited for the shoot. Most of my clients tell me that they hate their photo taken so you’re not alone if you feel a little nervous. But one common thing is, that after the first 5 mins I always notice my clients begin to relax and feel more comfortable with being in front of the camera. By half way through the shoot their are normally well into the swing of things which is great because when you’re more at ease, authentic expressions start to appear.

I hope this has given you some great prep advice. If you’d like a checklist, download the Lifestyle Headshot Preparation Checklist here

Headshot checklist RJM Photography