How to Make Photoshoots More Fun: Posing, Equipment, Ideas!

So, it’s no surprise to anyone that we love photoshoots at this point. I love taking out my camera and shooting in new locations with new and old people. Why? You can create so many good memories and good photos. I’ve had some of my biggest laughs during sessions and literally wouldn’t trade those for the world.

So, you’ve got your camera now, any camera, I hear the iPhone 7 Plus takes really good photos. But, now what? Yeah, that was me when we were trying to do our very first photoshoot. Where did we feel the most comfortable? Where could we get the prettiest, coolest shots possible? Today, I’m going to break down some of your biggest questions that you probably don’t even know you have yet. Oh, and give you a ton of great tips! Let’s get to work.


I don’t think I can stress enough how important the location is to the type of photos that you’re going to be shooting. I’ll give you plenty of ideas and examples at the end of the post! But, let’s get this one thing straight: Location sets up the entire shoot. Now, did I say that if the entire location isn’t insta worthy from the beginning that you can’t get great shots? No. Did I say that location is the only things that makes a shoot? No. Location is critical to setting the mood and tone for the shoot and you gotta keep that in mind. Now, moving on.

Tell your model/friend to wear something they feel comfortable in, but also let them know what creative vibes you’re feeling and what might not look best on location.

Now, this is important for photographers that are looking to add photos into their portfolio or expand on their creative license a little bit. If you are shooting with bloggers or having senior pictures, than my best advice is to let them style themselves! They’ll feel more comfortable that way!

If you’re headed out with friends to just play around with the camera and get some new pictures for the insta, then you don’t need to focus on what you’re wearing all that much. Keep it trendy and stylish and you’ll be on your way to some great photos. I love to keep it super simple especially in city settings. I like graphic tees, jeans, and slip on sneakers for murals and other colorful demanding backdrops. I love flowy sundresses for gardens and parks.

Shoot in the early morning or the later afternoon.

The sun can also kill a photoshoot. Now, I’ve finally been demystified on the incorrect idea that you can’t shoot in direct sunlight. NOT TRUE. Heat, however, can kill a photoshoot. I’ve done shoots in 40 degree weather, 90 degree weather and to be honest what makes the difference is shade vs. sun. You can literally see sweat droplets and stains with my DSLR even from far away, so I’m really conscious of making sure that shoot time is not in the heat of the day.

The best times to shoot are in the morning close to sunrise or late afternoon close to sunset. You’ll get that phenomenal golden hour light that every photographer you know is always gushing about. Also, these are the most temperate times of the day. If you are wanting to shoot in direct sunlight or during the day; I recommend the morning time and even try to mix in indoor shoots. That’s one setting that I haven’t done yet!

POSING: How Not To Look Awkward

Another myth that I had to get debunked from my brain is that I am a super awkward human being. Trust me, it’s still true in everyday life settings. I’m that gal who always tells the waiter “you too!” after they tell me to enjoy my food. Ugh. But, I would guess that in most pictures that I post, you wouldn’t even think that I bebop around life making the world’s most embarrassing, awkward situations. AMAZING. I’ve learned a lot about posing from Youtube and Pinterest and I’m here to share!

Scour pinterest for posing ideas and watch youtube videos.

I know I said that’s what I did, but seriously there are hundreds and thousands of videos on posing and photography that will get you started. As you do more shoots and bring along different people, you will evolve the basic skill set that you learn into your own thing!! But, you need to start somewhere. I have a photography board on Pinterest that has a lot of my photo inspiration.

Don’t be afraid to show what you mean when posing

When I’m photographing my friends now, I use a ton of vocal cues. “Chin Down.” “Look to Your Right, Okay No, My Right.” “Breath In. Now, breath out.” These help a ton. The breathing in thing sometimes I use when I want them to relax or start laughing. #candids. It works. If I want them to do something a little more complex or see something in my weird creative mind that could be cool, then I’ll ask them to swap places and try out a few varieties of what I’m thinking might work. Sometimes, the best way to communicate a posing idea is through action, so get in there and model a little bit yourself.

Have a conversation with your model while you are shooting. You’ll get those good laughing candids.

By far the best tip I’ve ever read or listened to, I can’t remember who originally placed this idea in my head. Oops. But, talking to your model is such an easy way to get them to relax on camera. And, if you’re funny, like mwah, you can get about anyone to laugh. #candids again.

Sometimes, you can get them in mid action fixing their hair or looking away because these are things your would normally do in day to day conversation. When they don’t think you’re capturing pictures of them, you can usually get those nice non-forced photos. That’s what I call winning!


Tell the model to bring a hairbrush, bobby pins, and makeup to touch themselves up throughout the shoot. The wind sometimes will be light and breezy and give you runway vibes and makes everyone look instantly stunning. Sometimes it’ll be hurricane level gusts that just make you look ridiculous. In either case, you’ll want to make sure to bring things to fix hair or if it’s get hot, some way to put the hair up!

My makeup can last a pretty long time without being retouched, so I just focus on blotting sheets, lip gloss/lip color, and setting powder. These will get you through even the biggest mishaps. I’d also bring comfortable shoes if you’re going to do a lot of walking or the model wants to wear heels!


One of the hardest things to do when it comes to photoshoots is picking a location. Some of my favorite spots and ones I continue to go to are parking garages, gardens, downtown, marinas, and art districts for cool murals and store fronts. I’m also thinking about doing a beach shoot, state fair shoot, and a cool indoor shoot somewhere!

Here are some of my favorite poses that I always end up using. Notice, how even though we might be doing the same pose. The photo can change its texture and tone just by changing the setting, model, outfit or even facial expression. That means you get fun and new photos every time!

All shot on my Nikon D5500. Edited with Lightroom.

The Look Away  

Criss Cross and Smiles 

Soft Smilez

Hello there, Shoes.

Smile Into the Distance

Straight On For the OOTD

So, there you have it. Some of our signature poses and backgrounds! What are your go to poses and where do you like to have mini impromptu or planned photoshoots? Sound off in the comments!

keep on keepin’ on,

  • I’m with you on conversations! Talking about normal things definitely help with the level of relaxation!

  • Katie Schick

    Awwww yes I needed this post. Most importantly, how not to look awkward in photos, always struggle with that one!!