Fall has officially arrived and Halloween is right around the corner. This time of year is one of my favorites bringing with is spooky, Halloween-inspired sessions!

As a lover of this time of year, I cannot wait to see what will be trending this year– covens of witches? Vampires? Ouija boards? Whatever appears before our eyes will haunt us until we feel inspired enough to create our own Halloween shoot.

If you’ve never planned a styled session before, I would like to give you some tips so your styled shoot will run smoothly. Even though I’m posting this referencing ghoulish Halloween sessions, these same tips and tricks apply to ANY styled session you’d like to do during any time of the year.

TIP 1 – PLAN AHEAD
I don’t think I can stress to you enough the importance of planning ahead for a styled session. Unlike a client session where a client will come to you with everything needed, YOU have to be the one gathering outfits AND all the other elements that will bring a styled shoot to life! That means outfits and all the other props and touches. Be sure to give yourself at least 2-3 weeks to plan.

TIP 2 – GET CLEAR ON YOUR VISION
What is your vision for your styled shoot? When I photographed this woman for the first time I instantly thought that she would need to come back for a Halloween session. I was inspired by her and I thought a Queen of the Damned/Glam Vampire vibe would be perfect for the session.

So how do you find your vision? Find what inspires you and spurs on your own creativity. What are you inspired by? For Halloween, are you binge-watching Sabrina on Netflix heightening your love for all things witchy? Or maybe you’re into queen vampires? Perhaps your idea of a Halloween shoot brings in ravens and dark forests!

TIP 3 – GATHER INSPIRATION
Make a mood board by either heading over to Pinterest or starting a collection on Instagram. Save anything that inspires you and your vision will start to come to life. Looking at your inspiration will help guide you on what kind of props you’ll need, the location you’ll want to shoot and even what time of day you’d like to shoot during.

TIP 4 – FIND MODEL(S)
Find the model or models you’d like to work with. Since this is an inspiration shoot, having models available is key. Suggest a few dates that could work for your model or models and then roll with whatever works best for them. The perk of planning ahead is you can work with the key elements to make them all come together.

TIP 5 – FIND A MAKEUP ARTIST
So many MUA LOVE working on something more artistic and creative where they can put their skills to use that they often don’t get to showcase. For this shoot, I gave my MUA FULL artistic vision allowing her to dream along with me and incorporate her own unique style. I shared my Pinterest boards with her so she understood my vision, but I allowed her to create what she dreamed up! She totally nailed it.

TIP 6 – FIND YOUR LOCATION
Based on your vision and inspiration, you probably already know if you’ll be going after an indoor space you can style to fit your vision or if you’ll be heading to the dark outdoors for a horrific, woodsy vibe. Find your location and either book a space or location scout outdoors so you know exactly where you’ll want to shoot.

   

No matter where you are shooting, this time of year the sun is setting earlier and earlier– almost disappearing suddenly! Take a peek at sunrise and sunset times before booking a location so you can plan the best time for the lighting you’d like for your styled shoot.

TIP 7 – GATHER PROPS
Props really make or break a styled session. All the prop details are what will really capture your vision and have others understand when they are looking at your images. My props were simple in this session but, depending on your theme, you may need more elaborate props. When it comes to props, keep it simple but effective.

Amazon pretty much has absolutely everything you might need for a shoot. For this styled session, I used the following props…

 

Backdrop Fabric
Smoke bombs

Lingerie

Contacts

STEP 8 – SHOOT!
The day of your shoot, have a clear vision in your mind of the kinds of images you want to get. Have a plan before you go in and when you’re done your shot list, if you have extra time, give yourself time to play! There are unique shots you may not have even thought of until you set up your space and got in the zone. Definitely plan extra ‘playtime’ during styled sessions to make the most of your props and model.

A styled session is a perfect way to get creative and try new things you might hesitate to try with clients. It’s an opportunity for you to dream, to get wild and to work with people who want to support a vision. Plus, a Halloween themed shoot lets you try out the dark and mysterious side of boudoir photography that you may shy away from…. And who doesn’t love a little dark magic when Halloween is lingering in the nearby shadows?

If you do a Halloween styled session, be sure to tag me in your photos so I can see your work! Don’t forget, my limited edition Halloween Presets are only here until the end of October– check out the moodiest, most haunting preset collection yet.

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