Alright, raise your hand if you have at least one "inspiration" board on Pinterest devoted to ideas for photography. Well, we'll let you in on a little secret, even as photographers we have inspiration boards! Idea's for our own future sessions, as well as ideas we'd LOVE to bring to life with our clients.
But how does one (whether it be client or photographer) uplevel a session and bring those "inspiration" photos to life? You'll be happy to hear, that there are actually countless ways! And we're about to drop some seriously helpful knowledge that we bet will make your next session the inspiration for others looking to uplevel their next session, just like you.
So without further ado let's get into it!
Step #1 Unleash Your Imagination
This one may seem like a no brainer, but bringing your creative ideas to the table is really the first step! So look back at those inspiration photos you admire so much and figure out what you love about each one - take note of locations, colors, props, outfits, and even hair styles, because all of that can really help you pull together your own unique vision.
Step #2 The Perfect Location
We're sure it comes as no surprise that the right location sets the stage for a session. Whether it be gorgeous Joshua Tree, a hidden gem out in nature, along a shore with crashing waves, a vibrant urban backdrop, a meaningful spot, or a place with fun activity, pick your location first and you'd be surprised how easy everything else will fall into place.
Step #3 Props, props, props!
Once a location is picked it's time to move onto props - which can play such a huge part in upleveling a session. I mean, just look at Johanna and Matt - how cool is that vintage Mustang from their session! Of course they would've looked absolutely gorgeous with or without the car, but the car created so many fun posing opportunities that wouldn't have even been possible without it.
Don't forget! Props can be as big or small as you want them to be. On the bigger side we have things like boats, cars, camper vans, campers and tents. But other fun options depending on location and your interests could be things like surf boards, bikes, skateboards, a picnic set up, a kite, or even a deck of cards. The sky is the limit when it comes to props.
Did you know? That even food and beverage could totally be used as a prop! Yep! One of our favorite sessions we shot was a couple (shout out to Kaitlyn + Jonathan) that utilized their pickup truck as a prop. We had them pull it right up onto the shore of a beach at sunset, threw some pillows and blankets in the bed of the truck and handed them each a bag of popcorn and captured the magic that naturally unfolded).
Step #4 Select the Perfect Outfit
After considering the location, props, and any special activities you'd like to take place during the session it's finally time to consider the outfits, and this part is surprisingly easy – for instance, if you're planning activities like biking or just want to be able to play around and frolic without any restrictions, opt for comfort and practicality. For water-based fun, having swimsuits under your clothes is a clever idea as long as it's a cute swimwear that matches the vibe you're going for.
Above all else, your confidence is the ultimate accessory, so pick clothes that make you feel fantastic and never underestimate the power of comfortable shoes; they'll keep you moving effortlessly during the session, depending on the location, you could even go shoeless!
Always remember, the goal is to match style with comfort and personality, creating a look that's uniquely you. Your outfit should let you shine, feel confident, and move freely as you capture those picture-perfect moments.
When pulling inspiration from online, be sure to look into color options that will complement nicely with your surroundings, just like Johanna and Matt did! Do you see how Matt's Beige jacket ties into the beautiful coloring that Joshua Tree has to offer? And how the deep red in Johanna's vintage shirt and checkered pants pop? It's all intentional my friend!
Step #5 Add a Dash of Adventure
Want to add an extra layer of excitement to your session? Consider an unexpected twist that aligns with your interests and personalities. Whether it's dancing in the rain, bringing along your furry friend, or even planning a fun excursion like kayaking, these adventurous touches can make your session feel like a mini-adventure and create memories that are uniquely yours while also getting the fun documented.
Step #6 Embrace Your Authenticity
At the end of the day, while it's great to draw inspiration from different sources, remember that your session should reflect your true selves too! Let your personalities shine, and don't be afraid to incorporate elements that hold personal meaning to you both. These genuine touches will make your session not only visually appealing but also deeply meaningful.
We know that we just threw a lot at you, but we want you to know that whether you're a fellow photographer looking to bring your inspirations to life or a client eager to infuse your session with your unique style, just remember that upleveling a photo session is all about imagination, personalization, and honestly the magic of collaboration! So if you found this information helpful and want to chat with us about bringing a fun vision to life, let's connect! Our knowledge on this subject doesn't stop here. We also provide our clients with a style guide that really helps bring everything together.