Alright friends, if there is one thing I absolutely love it is being able to empower you and provide you with resources (and lots and lots of love) to equip you to create your own styled stock. Whether it be for your website, instagram, newsletter, ecourse, or shop, with a little help and direction, hopefully you can create killer photos.
And if you're thinking to yourself, hold up, I don't think I have time to create styled stock, don't you fret. Head over to the shop and scour all the styled stock we offer. Now let's get this guide underway.
CREATE A SHOT LIST
Don't be overwhelmed by your shot list. A shot list is just an inspiration board. A shot list allows you to look at a variety of photos and say, "that's how they did it, how I can do it different." Your shot list is a jumping off point. It helps you warm up when your creative juices just aren't working. It provides an outline of the type of images you want to create.
To get started with your shot list create a secret Pinterest board. Fill this board with photos you love, photos that inspire you, different props you are loving, the type of lighting your are drawn too, different styles you like, and anything else you can think of. Don't overthink it, just starting pinning.
Once you have compiled a good amount of pins, two things might happen. One, you'll notice a pattern. You may notice that there is already a theme that you have curated. You may notice that you are drawn to a very specific style or very specific lighting. Either way, start looking for patterns. When I pin items that are not driven by a theme I often find that all my pins are all very similar in style. This is a very strong indication of the type of photos I like and the type of photos I like to create.
The other thing that can happen is that you won't see a pattern. Everything you pinned may be all over the place. When this happens, you want to select a few images that are very similar and build off of those. By doing this you are creating a theme. When creating your styled stock you want to start with a vision or a plan for what you're creating. Otherwise you'll get started and feel discouraged and defeated. Once you have your shot list and theme created you're on to the next step.
CREATE YOUR PROP LIST
Creating a prop list is helpful if you are just getting started or if you know you need to find a few more props that will really plus your photos. It's important to me to make the most out of my props. I do this by selecting props that I know I will get a lot of mileage out of. I do my best to choose props that work across multiple color schemes. The first few collections I created I outlined a prop list. This helped me to visually see the type of photos I wanted to create and it helped me to see where there were gaps in my props.
If you create your prop list before you begin your shoot, you'll know exactly what you need throughout your session and you'll have a good sense of what you plan to create.
GATHER YOUR GEAR
I shoot with a variety of gear during each session. You can read more about the specifics here. Gathering your gear is a great time saving practice. When you begin your session you want to have everything in place or extra items you think you may need on hand. For each session I shoot with two different camera bodies and lenses. I set one camera up on my tripod for flatlay photos and I keep the other camera on hand. Having two cameras for each session isn't a must, but in my case it simply makes it easier to for to get a variety of shots.
Prior to my session beginning I set up my lightboxes, I set up my reflectors and diffusers, I gather and set out all my props, I set up my tripod, and I layout and setup my backdrops.
EVALUATE YOUR BACKDROPS
Evaluating your backdrops is another great preparatory step. This is similar to gathering your props and creating your shot list. You are determining ahead of time the look of your photos. Most of the time if I don't determine my backdrops ahead of time I forget to switch them out. I'm partial to white backgrounds and most of the time I almost always shoot on white. I need to get better at evaulating my backdrops before I begin because I always forget to shoot on the different backgrounds I have, haha!
MASTER YOUR SHOT LIST
This is when you begin shooting. One thing I tell myself during every session is to exhaust every set up. When I shoot, I style props together and before I move on from that particular set up I will make sure to exhaust all possible shots. This means I'll take a variety of photos all at different angles. I want to make sure I get every single photo possible out of each set up before moving one. When I shoot I reference my shot list and gain inspiration from all the different things I collect. At this point I always want to be inspired to create something fresh and new.
One thing I really want to encourage you in is to always try different things. If you see something that inspires you, give it a try. Don't ever shy away from trying something that looks hard. Photography is very forgiving because you just keep moving forward. If it doesn't work out the first time you simply just keep trying.
Are you in the process of creating your own styled stock? What are some of the challenges you have faced? In need of styled stock, but don't have the time? Hop over to our shop! We've got you covered! xoxo! Samantha