Tips from a pro photographer to prepare you for a smooth photoshoot!

As a business owner, you’ve probably got a never ending to do list. Product photography might be one of those things you need to check off the list as you launch and run your brand. For a product photographer like myself, this is one of the most important things you can do to invest in your business. Good product photography has been proven to lead to more sales, so if you’re going to do it, do it right! A huge part of getting stunning photos for your business is being prepared for a product photography shoot. I’m here to help you through this part - keep reading for all the things you NEED to have a successful shoot.

My must haves before you book a shoot:

  • Branding or your Brand Vision
  • Mood board
  • Shot List
  • Planned Usage
  • Photo Dimensions
  • Product Groupings
  • Props 
  • Budget

Branding or Brand Vision

You want to have branding established before you reach out to a photographer to book a shoot, or at least have a vision of where the branding is going. Sharing your branding book/guidelines with your photographer will allow them to see exactly what kinds of images you’re hoping for.

Mood board

Similar to your branding, your mood board gives a photographer a clear idea of the kinds of photos you want for your brand. Putting together a simple Pinterest board with images from other brands you admire, or images with lighting/atmosphere you like can be extremely helpful for you to get on the same page with your photographer.

Shot List

Another really important element to ensure you have a successful shoot is your shot list. You want to have a rough idea of the images you absolutely want to capture. For example: if you don’t have great images of your highest selling product - this would be the time to capture it. You could do the same for an item that might not be selling as well and you’d like to focus on it. A rough idea of the photos you’d absolutely like to have captured gives the photographer a clear idea of how to plan out your shoot.

Planned Usage

This is where some clients may get confused, but if you know where you’re going to be using these images - let your photographer know! Usage rights is something that deserves it’s own blog post, and believe me it’s coming! If you’re planning on using these photos on your website and organic social media posts, the cost of your shoot will differ than if you were planning on using these photos on paid social media ads, print marketing etc. Give your photographer as much detail as possible on this, so they can quote you accordingly. The last thing you want is a lawsuit for misuse of your photos.

Photo Dimensions

Photo dimensions are a great detail to share to make both your lives easier. It goes hand in hand with your shot list, like many other things in this post. If you know you need a new header image for 3 pages on your website, let your photographer know what the dimensions for that header is on desktop and mobile devices. This will guarantee images that fit perfectly into your headers, and leave enough space for text if needed. Similarly, if you know an image is going to be used on social media - your photographer can make sure it fits within Instagram’s 4:5 or 1:1 ratio.

Product Groupings

Another item that goes hand in hand with the shot list is a list of groupings for certain products to share with your photographer. Are there certain items that you sell together as a bundle? Or want to promote that way in the future? Let your photographer know so they can capture these products together. Similarly, if there are products that should not be photographed together, let your photographer know - this ensures no time is wasted capturing images that won't get any use.


As you can probably tell by now, a lot of these things go hand in hand. If there are any props you’d like featured in your images, let your photographer know - they might have them in their prop collection, but there might be a chance that this item will need to be purchased. For example if your product features specific ingredients, your photographer will need to purchase these. Additionally, if there are elements from your inspo photos that you want to include in your shoot and your photographer doesn’t have them in their prop collection, they may charge a fee for sourcing these items. This can include things like custom backdrops, risers, florals etc.


Be upfront about your budget with your photographer from the get go. Most photographers have a minimum rate. Sharing your budget from the beginning allows the photographer to let you know if there are elements of your shoot that might need to be scaled back etc.

If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations - your dedication to making your own life as well as your photographers easier is REAL and I appreciate you. The most important thing that is true for all the items on the list I’ve shared today is communication. Make sure to communicate as much as you possibly can to your photographer. They will thank you for it! You also want to be available to answer any questions they might have leading up to the photoshoot, remember your photographer may not be familiar with your industry and/or product in the same way as you are. Good communication is a key that can lead to a great working relationship and guaranteed beautiful images.

Thank you so much for tuning in. I’d love to hear your thoughts, was this post helpful? If you’d like to book a product shoot with this very Type A photographer, you can get started here (where so many of these elements are pre filled for you!)