Planning A Photoshoot

Planning A Photoshoot

Planning A Photoshoot NYC

Planning A Photoshoot NYC

“Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

― Warren Buffett

How To Plan A Shoot When Traveling

Whenever I travel to a new spot, I'm always eager to do a photoshoot. I'm in a new, beautiful location, feeling inspired and I always want to capture it and take it home!

However planning a shoot in a place where you do not know anyone can be really tricky ... and I'll admit that it's stopped me from shooting in many places, just because I felt too shy or scared to try!

I'm getting better though, and as I type this, I'm in New York City, with a photoshoot planned for tomorrow evening.

There are little butterflies in my tummy because I do not feel as settled here as I normally do. I do not know my model, and although I've been coming to this New York City for a long time, the locations still feel a bit unfamiliar. All the same, I've done it! I've got a model, I've got some clothes borrowed from a local shop, and I've got a location sorted.

So how can you plan a shoot when you're traveling? Let's break it down.

Park Photoshoot

Park Photoshoot

Do Your Research Up Front:

About a month before I left for NYC, I began to research what I wanted to do. I put a mood board together, started to contact some models, and a few makeup artists. The more you get done in advance. The easier it will be for you once you arrive.

How Can You Use This Trip To Your Advantage:

Knowing I was going to be in New York City, I contacted a brand that I'd been building a relationship with and asked them if they wanted me to take any pieces from their new collection out with me to shoot.

They said yes! This is a great opportunity, for me to show a brand that I'd love to work with what I can do for them.

Find A Model:

Finding a model in a new location has never been easier, thanks to the wonder that is Instagram! When I was heading over here, I began to search through various hashtags like #nycmodel and look through the profiles of the girls who modeled here.

Some are agency signed, some are just girls who do it for fun. In this instance, I've chosen someone who just does it for fun, and I can not wait to see what we create!

If you wanted to, you could absolutely contact any local model agencies, and I would have done that if I had not found a girl through Instagram so quickly.

Do not discount Facebook groups either, as there are groups for models all around the world these days.

Do you need Hair And Make Up?

When I travel, at the moment I've only shot without a make up artist and hair stylist, purely because I've been on holiday each time, and with my family, so I've kept my shoots very minimal.

However, there are always make up artist and hair stylists wherever you go, so I recommend looking on Instagram, Facebook or a quick Google search for them.

How to find good spots for photography?

Find popular landmarks and public places in your city or town, and use those for photography spots. Finding parks is as easy as jumping into Google Maps and looking for green splotches, and they usually offer lots of great spots for nature or landscape shots.

How to Scout Photography Locations?

Location scouting tends to be something I do at the last minute, but it does not have to be! If you know you will not have a lot of time somewhere, you can find incredible locations via Instagram location searches, or Google searches too.

I'd definitely recommend going to a location before your shoot though. Never leave it to chance or base an entire shoot off of just a photo you've seen online. You do not know for sure that it looks like that, or it may have changed since a photo was taken!

Tools for Scouting Photography Locations!

Google Earth

Google has done a great job of indexing the world with photos, and Google Earth is no exception. If you're looking at scout locations, I'd recommend downloading the desktop app though, instead of using the website.

When you select a place you want, you can zoom a bit closer, and have a look for places that look interesting from above. If you shoot landscapes, it's really worthwhile, because you'll see the landscape shape.

The same is true if you are looking to find a more industrial part of town, as that stands out on a map fairly easily. Check out this video below to see Google Earth's location scan.

Google STREET View

The final step of monitoring the world with your computer is to use Google Street View.

If you find a place you want to look like, you can come back to it when on your computer, then explore the local area, and see how it's visible in the day.

Thanks to Google, every street I like to see in Street View is available. It allows me to not only see what a place looks like, but the view from different angles.

If I'm looking to take pictures in a corner of the street, I can find a picture of that corner somewhere online. But if I use Street View, I know I'll see anything in the back of the corner, too far.

Head to your location, take a look at it and see what it's like so that when you get to shooting, you know what you need to do, and what to expect.

Shoot! After all of that planning, just enjoy yourself! Get creative and have loads of fun.

NY Feb 2019 Megan and Grayson

NY Feb 2019 Megan and Grayson

Where to Find Models

  1. Your Friends

  2. Model Mayhem

  3. Facebook and Facebook Groups

  4. Family

  5. Word of Mouth

  6. Modeling Talent Agent

  7. Modeling School

  8. Other photographers

How to Approach the Model about the Photoshoot

OK, everything is great, but how do you approach the models? How can you increase your possibilities of shooting with you?

Usually when you ask to cooperate or "test" a model, the first question they will ask you is, "Do you have a portfolio that I can look at?" This is where you can find yourself stuck if you do not have portfolio set when starting. Using these tips will help you get a photoshoot.


It really goes without saying that you should be professional right from the get-go. Be professional in every aspect of your shoot from photo delivery prep. If you are not professional, you will not do it too far.

See Photographer's Code of Ethics Below...

Have a Plan

Simply saying "hey let's shoot" or other other aggressive aggressive inquiry will not help your chances. When contacting them, be sure to let them know who you are, where you came from, praise their work, what you are looking for in shooting, concept ideas, and so on. Treat it like you are looking for a job, be prepared and have a plan in place.

Mood Board

Building mood boards are where you start out from most people who are photographer. A board that includes model, location, style, and concept will make a great impression and will help your chances. I usually use Google Images or 500px to see my image inspiration. After I put together the images, I went to Google Slides and created an 8.5-inch 11-inch collage of pictures that shook the shot concept.

Submitting them to a model shows that you have given thought, preparation, and perhaps even a chosen model for that particular concept. It is also a great tool for preparation and communication, all on the same page and more likely to get exactly what the team is in mind.

Photography Mood Board Examples for the Sue Wong Fashion Shoot

Sue Wong is a Chinese-born American fashion designer best known for her dress designs with a contemporary twist based on old Hollywood glamor style.

mood board for photoshoot 1
mood board for photoshoot 2
mood board for photoshoot 3
mood board for photoshoot 3

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.”

― Peter F. Drucker

Photographer's Code of Ethics

A guide for ethical business dealings, protecting the profession, the photographer, vendors, employees, subjects, clients and colleagues.

Responsibility to Colleagues

Responsibility to Subjects

Responsibility to Clients

Responsibility to Employees & Suppliers

Responsibilities of the Photojournalist

Responsibility to Colleagues and the Profession

Maintain a high quality of service and a reputation for honesty and fairness.

Oppose censorship and protect the copyrights and moral rights of other creators.

Never advance one's own interests at the expense of the profession.

Foster fair competition based on professional qualification and merit.

Never deliberately exaggerate one's qualifications nor misrepresent the authorship of work presented in self-promotion.

Never engage in malicious or deliberately inaccurate criticism of the reputation or work of another photographer.

Negotiate licensing agreements that protect the historical balance between usage fees and rights granted.

Never offer nor accept bribes, kickbacks, or other unethical inducements.

Never conspire with others to fix prices, organize illegal boycotts, nor engage in other unfair competitive practices.

Refuse agreements that are unfair to the photographer.

Never undertake assignments in competition with others for which payment will be received only if the work is accepted.

Never enter commercial competitions in which usage rights are transferred without reasonable fees.

Donate time for the betterment of the profession and to advise entry level photographers.

Responsibility to Subjects

Respect the privacy and property rights of one's subjects.

Never use deceit in obtaining model or property releases.

Responsibility to Clients

Conduct oneself in a professional manner, and represent a client's best interests within the limits of one's professional responsibility.

Protect a client's confidential information; ASMP assistants should likewise maintain confidentiality of the photographer's proprietary information.

Accurately represent to clients the existence of model and property releases for photographs.

Stipulate a fair and reasonable value for lost or damaged photographs.

Use written contracts and delivery memos with a client, stock agency, or assignment representative.

Consider an original assignment client's interests with regard to allowing subsequent stock use of that work by the client's direct competition, absent an agreement allowing such use.

Responsibility to Employees and Suppliers

Honor one's legal, financial, and ethical obligations toward employees and suppliers.

Never take unfair advantage of one's position as employer of models, assistants, employees, or contract labor.

Responsibility of the Photojournalist

Photograph as honestly as possible, provide accurate captions, and never intentionally distort the truth in news photographs.

Never alter the content or meaning of a news photograph, and prohibit subsequent alteration.

Disclose any alteration and manipulation of content or meaning in editorial feature or illustrative photographs and require the publisher to disclose that distortion or any further alteration.

© 1993 American Society of Media Photographers

American Society of Media Photographers


Code of Ethics