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Checklist for a handmade photoshoot

When you’re working on improving your sewing photography it can feel a lot like going shopping with a baby for the first time … so many things to remember, so many bits and pieces to juggle and the outcome is uncertain!

This blog post is a checklist for a modeled handmade photoshoot (though some of the tips could work for flatlays and product shoots).  It aims to take the guesswork out of getting your items looking their best in your photos.  It’s a work in progress so if you’ve got a point that you think should be added to the check list – let me know and I’ll add it on!

Checklist for your handmade photoshoot

CHECKLIST for before you go

  • Get to know your camera/phone.  Google your model number for tips on how to get the best shots from your device.
  • Plan your shoot.  Make a list of the photos you’re wanting to get at the shoot.  It sucks to get home and realise you forgot to take a photo of the back, or a special feature etc.

Order your shot list according to priority and which shots make sense to take together.  This is especially important when working with child models.  It is easy to get distracted so actually writing it down or having a checklist on your phone can help.

Planning your shoot in advance makes it quicker for you to dress your model, meaning less chance for meltdowns!

  • Check your item is looking its best.  Is it ironed? Are there any threads that need to be snipped? etc If your model is between sizes do you need to pack bulldog clips or pins?  If its a party dress will you need to pack a pettiskirt for extra pouff?  It is best to take your item with you on a coathanger and dress your model “on location” to prevent any creasing of the garment on the way.
  • Pack a mini sewing kit. (optional).  If this is a little shoot at the park with your own child this mightn’t be necessary as you can try again another day, but if this is a bigger shoot you won’t be able to repeat be sure to pack one.
  • Pack your props.  Props might include outfit solutions (eg. hair ties, shoes, necklaces, hats, petticoats – practical things that your model will need to wear) or inspirational items (eg. toys, streamers, balloons – things that will set the scene).

Katy from My China Doll packs her props in a basket so its all easily accessible during the shoot and advises to double check your model has matching underwear so it won’t show through a light coloured outfit.

  • Check your camera/phone.  Check that your battery is charged and that you have enough space on your memory card/phone to complete the shoot.  If you have a camera, check you’ve packed any extra lenses or other pieces you might use.  Don’t forget to BRING your memory card! (Thanks for the tip Steph from Owl and I!!!)
  • Check your model.  If your model is in a bad mood you may need to reschedule or stay tuned for the blog post on tips for photographing kids.
  • Bring a hairbrush. You never know when your model will need a hairbrush! (Thanks for the tip Alana from Rosie Petal!!!)

During the photoshoot checklist // image credit death to stockphoto

CHECKLIST for when you arrive / during the shoot

  • Check the background. See this blog post for more tips -> HERE.
  • Check the lighting.  Afternoon or early morning lighting is generally better as midday lighting can result in harsher shadows.  Check you don’t have any speckled shadows or uneven lighting on the clothing or your model.

Marnie from Horris and Deedle recommends scouting the location a few days before you intend to shoot, at the time you intend to shoot, to check out the lighting as it can be different at different times of day.

  • Check the weather forecast.  If rain or wind is forecast come up with a plan B! Thanks to Marnie for this one!
  • Recheck your item.  Are collars sitting even?  Are pants legs and arms sitting even?  Is the skirt pouffed up nicely? Is the sash tied properly?
  • Composition / Frame the shot.  Think about where you put your subject in the shot.  The centre of the shot is not terribly interesting.  Moving where the subject is in the shot can take a meh picture to wow!

Photographers talk about “the rule of thirds” or the “golden rule”.  These rules provide a mathematical framework for getting your subject in the right place in the shot.  This blog post over on the pic monkey blog has 7 composition tips for fashion photography -> HERE

  • Take lots of shots.  You can always cull them later!  Remember to check your “shot list”.

For more blog posts in this series start here:

Photo Fortnight - let's start at the beginning


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1 Comment to “Checklist for a handmade photoshoot”

  1. Robyn Terelinck 12/10/2016 at 10:49 am

    Your tips are great Jen!
    My photos are never the best and I very rarely have a model!


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