I’m Jade Hicks, the photographer for bloggers and creator of Secret Shoots pop up blog photography for influencers. In this article i’m going to cover EVERYTHING there is to know about blogger photoshoots.
Have you ever wondered who’s the photographer behind all the instagram photos on the feeds you love to scroll through every day? Ever thought what is it really like to be an influencer photographer?
Whether you are a blogger, an influencer, a micro influencer, a macro influencer whatever title you prefer - you have the task of keeping up those engaging, beautiful images all over your online presence.
Blog post images that look like a photographer from vogue came to hang out for the afternoon, social media content that is so beautiful and enticing you just want to step inside with them.
We all know the pull a great image has on getting you to stop your scrolling and engage!
If instagram is your platform of choice and you are creating a to-die for delicious feed of creative styled images then you know the power a great photo can have!
Maybe you are still at the stage of drooling over some of the best insta feeds and hoping to create something similar in your own Instagram blog so you will probably be wondering HOW do they do it?
How do they have the whole package? The aesthetic, the theme and the gorgeous candid engaging images! And if all that isn’t enough they seem to pull amazing content images from nowhere every minute of every day!
How do bloggers achieve it all? How do the Instagram influencers do it?
Well, the answer is, they work hard at it! Any blogger or influencer who is making money from their blog be it on instagram or online are working hard on their visual presence.
Regardless of whether you are a parenting blogger, a lifestyle blog, a fashion, travel or beauty blogger; if you are making money in your blog business or are looking to in the very near future monetise your blog, then your visuals hold the key!
Social media is alive with gorgeous amazing quality images that have set the bar for anyone looking to build an online business.
It means you know you have to up your game if you want to get noticed by your tribe and don’t you owe it to them to stand out so they can easily find you? So you can shine bright like a beacon calling them over to see what you’ve got to say that can help and transform their lives.
The attraction factor - the instantly recognisable style quality and creativity your audience have come to expect from businesses online right now, bloggers and influencers need to not only stand among these high quality visual content creators, but create your own unique visual identity that talks directly to your ideal readers.
Why do you have Blogger Photoshoots?
Like, why in the heck do you have a photoshoot of yourself?
Well, we have spoken above about how you and I know the bar has been set in terms of high quality, creative visual content online. Photography is a staple for bloggers not only on their blog posts but also used on their social media.
So to keep up with the ever demanding schedule of posting content on various platforms and having plenty of dreamy images to help illustrate your blog posts, photo shoots are part and parcel of life as a blogger.
Images are crucial to your engagement - and engagement on social media is king!
Having a bank of high quality, well branded and engaging images of not only what you are selling, for example fashion looks, accessories etc, but of what you do on a daily basis is a priceless element of any bloggers tool kit.
Knowing that without hesitation you can dip in and pull out single or even series of amazing storytelling photos for any occasion that can arise in the day of a life of a blogger really is a weight off of your mind.
Just think, if you have a fantastic opportunity to work with a brand come up and you haven’t got anything high quality enough to send to them?
Maybe you need some inspiration for your next blog post, knowing the story behind every image you have meticulously created is a great way to not only provide you with visual content but also to inspire written blog posts.
We have 7 seconds online to make an impression and get someone to stop their scrolling to interact with us.
If you are smart and use amazing photography that tells your story, that visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than your written content can ever be.
Who exactly are blogger photoshoots for?
Are they only for bloggers who are earning 6 figure months in their blog business?
And the answer is simply no!
They are for anyone who is serious about monetising and owning their blog as the awesome business it is and it can be.
High quality images speed up the process to making big £££$$$.
Brands and potential business partnerships are shopping for you without you ever knowing, if you are using images worthy of gracing the pages of vanity fair in every social media post you will soon be noticed and for all the right reasons!
If you want to up level your blog and monetise, yet you are using badly lit, fuzzy and unprofessional images everywhere that you occupy online space, why would brands or other partnership opportunities send their marketing budget your way?
Similarly, if your ideal readers can process images 60,000x more quickly than words why would you miss out on sharing your story in the blink of an eye to get them to engage with the content you know is there to help them transform their lives?
Whatever stage of your blogging career or influencer business you are at, a photographer for bloggers, just like me, can work with you to help you elevate to the next step.
When should you hire a professional photographer?
I know when you are just getting started out in your blogging career it can seem daunting at the thought of all the expenses related to having your blog business.
You’ve got web hosting to pay for, email services, all your professional insurances and subscriptions and somehow you’ve got to create a tonne of content and pay for that too.
Look at it like this…
If you want to make great money from your blog business then some expenses are non-negotiable.
I know we all love to save money and get great value for our dime so look at your photography needs as an exercise in productivity.
From a shoot with a professional not only will you get higher quality, more technically refined and probably more creatively composed images you will also get a huge amount MORE in your shoot time than you could typically produce on your own.
A Professional photographer for bloggers knows that quality and quantity are equally important and I can tell you from experience, the business of being a fashion bloggers photographer means creating a lot of amazing creative content images in a small amount of time.
So my answer to this question is;
whenever you are ready to get serious about your blog business is a great time to bring in professional help in a variety of areas.
Oprah isn’t a one woman brand and anyone who has built a successful profitable business themselves knows that the quicker you figure out your strengths and really get focused on utilising them and then outsourcing anything that isn't one of your strengths the more quickly you can build momentum in your blog business.
Here’s a huge tip for hiring a professional photographer for bloggers:
If you are a hobby blogger - why not work on your blog photography while you dont have the pressure of monetising and having to reach income targets and goals as well as deadlines for work etc. This will give you some vital experience on exactly how long it takes to create great images and a vital insight into whether this is something you really enjoy doing yourself.
If you are looking to get serious in your blogging business but you haven't quite started to monetise yet then spend some time online investing in some really great, next level stock images that can work for your blog aesthetics so that your images aren’t letting down your up and coming brand.
In the meantime and reach out to local new photographers or other bloggers who might want to also start to up level their photography game.
This can make a great bridge while you are working up to the level where you feel comfortable and relieved that you can invest in having someone create your images for you.
A gentle reminder here: A new photographer who hasn’t specialised in blog photography or worked for many years with bloggers and influencers may not be clued up to your exact image requirements, how you want your images delivered and other really important parts of the business of being a blogger photographer.
So make sure your communication here is absolutely crystal clear to avoid relationships going sour! I recorded a podcast about this exact scenario check it out here.
If you are making some money in your blog and you are ready to really get focussed and profitable, then find your dream photographer and love them hard! They are your ticket to engaging and attracting your tribe and they will help you get where you want to go much more quickly!
The next question covers how to find a photographer in a little more detail.
How to find a photographer for your blog:
Some important considerations to make when you are looking for a photographer for your blog:
Are you always shooting in similar geographical locations?
This is going to dictate whether you want a photographer who has an awesome travel schedule or whether you are looking for someone reliabel who is local to you.
Are you looking for quantity over longer periods of time or are you looking for someone to shoot with you weekly or even daily?
Are you looking to form a long term relationship and find yourself a go to photographer or are you looking for one off shoots?
Do you have a particular style you are looking for?
For example street style photography, fashion photography or lifestyle photoshoots
Lots of photographers have a well defined style and genre that they lean toward when shooting, it is really important you choose someone who specialises in the area you want to focus on rather than someone who feels like they can do adequately in all areas, because we know adequate isn’t want bloggers and influencers in 2019 are after!
What is your budget?
It is important to factor in your photography costs and pay for the expertise and experience of someone who is able to perfectly execute exactly what you want from your blogger photo shoot. These costs can be added on to brand partnership agreements and recouped from mutually beneficial sales of images to brands for further use. Photography is a HUGE part of marketing and so without a doubt you need to make sure you budget for the level of service you require.
Here are 5 steps to finding an awesome photographer for your blog:
Get clear on what you need from your shoot and where you want to shoot
What do you need the images for? Are you writing tonnes of review posts right now or are you looking for some lovely lifestyle photography for social media? Where is important for you to shoot? Is there a specific location relevant to the story you are telling? Are you after some indoor shots?
What is your budget or what specifically do you require?
If you haven’t got a huge budget but you could agreed to shoot with a photographer once a month for 6 months so to spread your costs.
Do you have a specific style?
Have a think about what style you are looking for from your images.
Check out social media
Do a search for photographers that specialise in your niche or check out influencers and bloggers you know and love the quality of their imagery to see who they are working with. I recommend getting on Instagram, Twitter or even Pinterest and looking up a specific Geotag for example #nycophotographer #londonphotographer #seattlephotographer.
Being clear, honest and transparent are the cornerstones of any photographer blogger relationship.
What are the costs of a blogger photo shoot?
I wanted to touch on the costs of blogger photoshoots and why bloggers should expect
to be charged for photography services plus what that usually includes.
As I mentioned above, collaborations are a great way for new bloggers to up level their photography game and with the right blog monetisation strategy you should not have to shoot more than once or twice collaboratively.
Here is a little mind shift…
Photographers do NOT benefit from “exposure” from tagging on social media etc.
It is a very slow burn way to build a profitable business and not one I would recommend to any upcoming photographers.
So, it is not realistic to think you can collaborate for months and months, and it's not doing your blog business any good to be in this mindset.
Businesses have expenses. In order to make money you have to pay for things. If you are thinking you can run your business for free and bring in multiple thousands of income a year you are mistaken and you will quickly find this out for yourself.
So, back to cost of blogger photography;
The website Pixelcents has a really handy photography pricing calculator which is meant for photographers looking for pricing information in different industries.
At present each 1080px file is pricing out at around $43.20 - $129.60 .
So think about that for a second.
My secret shoots for bloggers and influencers result in between 100-300 photos depending on the client.
Every image comes with usage rights for the client to use them as they wish online, offline wherever AND there are no restrictions on the images going straight into that individuals own editing process.
If you’d like to know more about the specific terms of my photography for bloggers then check out my policies page
That would mean even at the lowest price end with the smallest amount of images provided each shoot would have a minimum value of £4320.
If you’d like to learn more about pricing of photography I love this article from the law tog.
Top tips for starting to invest in your blog photography:
Yes the idea of paying for 200 images up front can be super scary but shooting one a week might be just what you need right now.
The more experienced and professional your photographer is the more likely you are to result in;
a) a great selection of images
b) that you will get exactly what you want in each image
c) they will deliver what you NEED as well (you always overlook something and an experienced professional will make sure you still get it)
How exactly do you go about arranging a photography shoot for bloggers?
I am constantly being asked how to plan and organise blog photoshoots?
The first stage of organising a blogger photo shoot is to find your photographer, and I think we have thoroughly covered this above!!
The next step is to get super clear on exactly what you want from your photoshoot.
This is what I call the preparation stage, where we really get clarity on a variety of aspects.
It’s vital that you have a plan for your blog shoot:
What is your blog photoshoot about?
What is it for?
How much content do you need?
What specific types of shots are you looking for?
Plan out your outfits and styling for your blogger photoshoot:
What are the priority?
If you’re shooting in advance, are you needing to include some seasonal items so you can get posts created in time?
I advise laying out outfits and looks and then putting them together on a hanger complete with accessories / props so you can quickly grab them when you are at your location.
How are you going to get your outfits / props to your location?
How are you going to change when you are there?
Which outfits will work best in which order for ease of changing? ( a skirt to trousers is super easy because you can change without any issues)
Here is 5 tips for better styled photo shoots:
Know what colours work best for you, make sure you have a wide selection of items in coordinating colours to allow for the most amount of outfit combinations with the least effort.
Style your outfits to your location, every part of your image tells a story!
Make sure you have accessories / props organised for each outfit or look
If you want multiple hair and makeup looks plan the order of them in advance to allow for the smallest amount of time in hair and makeup.
Make a plan and stick to it! Changing your mind during your shoot will mean you will lose precious time where you could be getting a few more shots in, make your plan and keep to it.
So we have talked about purpose of your shoot, types of content you want from it and your styling and outfits. Now we need to dive into planning out your locations.
Plan with your photographer for bloggers, your ideal photoshoot locations:
Your photographer, being an expert in working with bloggers and influencers is bound to have a huge selection of pre scouted locations ideal for your photoshoot. Take a flick through their social media and see if anything jumps out at you that you feel would work well for your style and feel of your own blog.
If you have somewhere specific you want to shoot have a chat with your photographer about how suitable the location is. I know it seems tempting to just shoot anywhere.
Here are a few considerations you need to be aware of and consider when you are shooting out on location:
Some areas have restrictions on photography especially for commercial purposes, and blogger / influencer photography is a commercial genre.
What are the logistics of your locations? So for example, if you are shooting in Notting Hill London and you want to get over to Shoreditch you are going to have quite a commute across, this takes up valuable shoot time and really you need to plan so that you avoid any lost time from travelling as it is not productive or efficient.
Etiquette. I know we all see shots of influencers in flower covered cafes - and that is fabulous however, these are privately owned businesses, this means you have to seek permission of the owner to be able to shoot there on a commercial basis. So have a think if you have a couple of haunts that are non negotiable you just have to grab some images there and make sure your photographer has already organised that this is OK for you to do so.
Facilities - Is there a bathroom nearby? How are you going to go about changing your outfits / looks? Is there somewhere you can take shelter if it rains? Is there somewhere to leave heavy bags of clothes? All these things are considerations when you are organising a blog photoshoot
Safety. This is probably the most overlooked aspect of photoshoot prep I see sadly.Are the areas you intend to shoot safe for everyone involved? Are you trying to grab a dangerous shot on a busy road? Are you shooting somewhere you will all be safe walking around with a £££$$$ worth of camera equipment? Have you involved enough people in your shoot to be able to take care of everyone involved and equipment, belongings etc?
What to expect from your blogger photoshoot and how to make the most out of your shoot?
If you are working with a professional, then that is how your day should be. Professional.
As we have covered above, everything needs to be prepared for you ahead of time so you can turn up and be as productive and efficient as possible!
Your photographer for bloggers should fully prepare you before the shoot for the amount of outfits / looks, props etc you are going to be shooting.
When you arrive at your shoot, usually you touch base around the outfits you have chosen and run through the choice of locations one last time.
I never work without at least one professional hair and makeup artist so during this time you will jump in the chair and either have full hair and makeup done for you, or if you have your own style and like doing your own then they will just perfect it all and make sure it’s ready for the camera. Again if you have decided on multiple hair and makeup looks, your hair and makeup artist will be prepped before your shoot and ready to touch up, change, prep and prime as required.
During the shoot your photographer will pose and guide you and catch all sorts of types of shots of you.
An amazing photographer has incredible knowledge of how best to pose every body type and so will help and guide you move your body into the most flattering of positions.
If you are having a lifestyle type candid photography shoot you might be photographed at moments when you think you aren’t being to catch the most natural version of you.
If you are having a street style fashion focused shoot it might be more structured and posed.
Without a doubt every experience with your photographer of bloggers should be fun and enjoyable!
Here are a few things that Influencer don’t tell you about what actually happens at a photoshoot:
Dependant on the location - you usually have to be flexible over where you change. It isn’t rare to have to change in a car or in a cafe bathroom so just keep that in mind when you are picking your locations!
The weather can alter plans! Your awesome photographer will have that covered for you, just incase!
The plan can change, be prepared for it! Locations can get crowded and busy or can unexpectedly have building work going on etc.
I hope you found this article a real and raw account of what a photographer for bloggers actually experiences during a blogger photoshoot.
If you have experienced a shoot or really want to but you have worries about something please let me know in the comments so I can help put your mind at ease! It is my mission that all bloggers and influencers have amazing photoshoot experiences that not only lighten the load on their content creation, but also make them look and feel amazing every second they are in front of the camera!