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This is the first post in a series designed to help you understand how to prepare for a fashion photo-shoot! Whether you are a photographer, a fashion designer, a company owner, or a marketing director, I hope you find these tips helpful.

The first step (for me) in preparing for a fashion photo-shoot is creating a moodboard.

What is a Moodboard?

A moodboard is a collection of images, textures, artworks, or any visual component that emulates a style or concept that you want to portray.

A moodboard can be physical or digital. It can be as simple as a Pinterest board, or it can be created with more effort and hung on the wall or a white board.

Tips for an Effective Moodboard

The key to a moodboard is knowing your brand. Your brand tells people what they will get from your product. The most effective brands don’t just sell products – they sell a lifestyle, or emotion. Before you begin, think about what you want for your brand. What emotion do you want people to feel when they see your images? Think about the type of lifestyle are you trying to sell. What style of images would best help you emulate this?

After thinking about and writing down some ideas for what you want for your brand, start looking at images. Search for artists, photographers, and brands that are doing things that you love. Start gathering images. In this process, I recommend that you avoid social media. I don’t know about you, but for me personally, it can be far too easy to get distracted and fall into the comparison trap when scrolling and searching on Instagram. Instead, find artists and photographers you love, and then visit their websites. Visit the magazines that you love. Search on Pinterest. Sometimes Pinterest is similar to Instagram, in that it’s full of repetitions of the same image over and over again. But sometimes you’ll find some good inspiration there! You can also thumb through library books. Checking out the art & photography section at the library can be a great source of inspiration!

As you gather images, keep an eye on elements that you love.

After You Gather the Images…

Look at them as a whole, and ask yourself some more questions, such as:

What elements do I love from these images? Is it the colors? What about the posing and emotions of the models? Is it how they creatively showed the products? What does the lighting look like? Do they have interesting props? How did the artist create an emotion in the artwork? Was it the colors, lighting, emotion/expression of the models, or environment the photo was taken in?

After identifying what you love, it’s time to ask yourself the most important questions. These are:

How can I make this my own? What can I do to take what I see, and make it more tailored and personalized to me and my brand? How can I take what I see, and make it better?

This process is an amazing way to find creativity, and to create a moodboard for your shoot. The goal is to not copy what everyone else is doing, but instead take what you learn from what everyone else is doing, and make it your own.

After you create your moodboard, make sure you save it somewhere – whether online or in print. You’ll be referring to it later as you continue planning your shoot.

What did you think? Is there anything you learned that you loved, or that you would do differently? Stay tuned for next week, where I’ll share how to find vendors to work with!

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