7 Tips to Plan a Photo Shoot on a Budget

Dariela and dariana Cruz in their studio -DariDesignStudio.com

We manage our business virtually. I live and work from my home in LA and Dariela lives and works from her home in San Diego. People always ask us, how do we manage to do this? For some reason we always feel that no matter how we explain this in words, seeing images of how we work and where we work from always expresses better who we are and how we do what we do.  Isn’t a picture worth a thousand words?   If you’d like more information about how we work, sign up for our monthly newsletter!

There is a lot of preparation that goes into doing a photo shoot, whether it’s a product photo shoot, or a work space shoot. We thought it might be helpful to share some ways that you can save some money while photographing your work space, and still get professional results. And speaking of work space, of course, there are days where the house is very disorganized and our desks look awful. So, yes, keep in mind that for these photos we do a little tiny bit of pretending, but it’s mainly because we want you to see the best part of us!! In no way do we want to hide our bad hair days from you, we just want to spare you from having to see us like that in our virtual casa!

Artist at work long distance -DariDesignStudio.com

Here are some tips and ideas for planning a photo shoot on a budget:

1. Ask a photographer you like how much time or photos they can give you for XX amount of dollars: Even if they say half hour or an hour you could work with that. Our amazing friend and photographer Bernie does a great job for us. We are very, very aware of how much of a good price she gives us; so what we do is to try to get creative to make her time working with us as smooth and easy as possible. We go the extra mile as a recognition of her affordable quality service.

2. Plan to brainstorm most ideas before photoshoot day: We create a Pinterest board to help us with inspiration for looks and pose ideas. This is so helpful, not sure what we would’ve done before Pinterest times! The best part about creating a board is that we can brainstorm ideas before hand so when we are ready for the real picture taking day, we use the time to take the pictures we talked about before, instead of using the time to exchange ideas and try making decisions on the spot. That’s not to say that we aren’t spontaneous and add some new thoughts that come right there in the moment. Those new ideas are usually small and add-ons to the big picture we already have, so it’s easy to adjust as we go.

Dariela and Dariana drawing and painting -Daridesignstudio.com

3. Have the spaces where you are going to shoot ready to go: Clean them, arrange them, add the props and accessories needed. Take a phone photo to remember how it looks in case you need to undo it for another scene. You can also use the phone photo to make sure the frame is close to what you are envisioning. That way there is not so much time wasted on setting up.

4. Have all outfits and makeup ready to go: We do our own makeup and pick our outfits together. This is the fun part!! There are no rules here. We like doing things organically because we think that shows our unique personalities. We try things out before hand, we like to have our outfits decided and on before Bernie arrives. We usually re-touch our looks while Bernie is playing with the lights and figuring out the best perspective.


5. Invest in some equipment: We have a nice set of photo lighting that we use on our photoshoots. I can’t tell you how many times Bernie has mentioned how easy and practical it is for her to take our photos because she doesn’t have to bring large pieces of equipment to our shoots.

6. Prepare an itinerary sheet: We like to be flexible and spontaneous but it’s good to know that we are all on the same page as to what’s next and how many shots we are aiming for that day.

7. Don’t forget about food: We try to think about lunch or snack time before hand. We decide where to order food from and who will pick it up. I recommend sending the menus to the people involved in the shoot before hand. That way whoever is in charge of ordering can take care of it within the itinerary time and people don’t have to stop the workflow to look at menus.


DariDesignStudio: Cowoners Dariana and dariela

These tips can help regardless of your budget or who is taking the pictures. The truth is we all work better when the logistics have been thought out before hand. Don’t you think so?

Let’s say you are a hair dresser and a friend has asked if you could help with her hair for an event. Wouldn’t you love to get to her place and see that she already washed her hair, has a chair set up in front of a mirror at the right light, has a large dryer so you didn’t have to bring yours, purchased all the hair accessories you will need and shows you an exact picture of what she wants? On top of that, she planned for you to have lunch before you leave and has payment ready the moment you are heading out the door. I think that’s the least she could do for the nice price you have given her, so that’s what we tried to do.

DariDesignStudio creative spaces

We love working that way because it makes the experience enjoyable for everyone. We aim for making this work mindset our work philosophy. Regardless of our budget.

Do you have any great photoshoot planning tips that you can share? We love to hear your ideas!

We create for life meaning and happiness! We hope it’s contagious!

All photos by Bernie Dixon

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