Tips on Creating a Comfortable Shoot Environment


Creating beautiful photographs starts with your environment, and how you’ve prepared the location, props, lighting, and most importantly- the subject you are shooting. Your models expect to come to location ready to shoot, whether you’re using professional models or hiring friends to assist you in a Shutterstock Custom assignment. Creating an environment that’s comfortable and relaxing is an excellent way to start a shoot, and creates an atmosphere that’s enjoyable for everyone on set. You aren’t always going to be working with professional models, depending on your Shutterstock Custom brief you may have the opportunity to hire a few friends to do a quick photoshoot for one of our clients. Some Shutterstock Custom clients look for authentic, lived-in situations with their photographs- so using friends and family can often be a great way to achieve this environment.

We’re sharing some tips and tricks to create a comfortable environment, and a natural relationship between you and the people you are photographing.


Be prepared for the shoot

Ensure your environment, location, props, and lighting are ready to go before the model arrives, and that you have an idea of the type of images you are trying to capture. Not only does this show great professional behaviour, but it’s an awesome way to start a great relationship with your model before the camera comes out. No-one wants to show up at a location ready to go, only to find out there’s more work to be done before you can start shooting.

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Develop dialogue before the shoot to prepare your model

It’s incredibly important to open a dialogue and develop a relationship before you start shooting. This deepens the understanding of expectations for shoot, and leaves the people you are photographing feeling like they can trust that you will be professional and awesome to work with. If you can’t jump on a phone call before, ask your model to show up a bit early to get a conversation going before you start shooting. Ask them questions, tell stories, and keep the conversation going through the entire shoot. It’ll create a much more comfortable environment versus shooting in silence. 

Give directions for posing

Some models or friends you use may have limited or no experience shooting in front of a camera for client work. Naturally, this can lead to some nervousness and a skepticism on how they should pose or what looks good. Offer tips throughout the shoot on poses, show them photo examples of the look you are going for and encourage them when they get into a pose where they look comfortable. Offering compliments that are genuine throughout the shoot is a great way to let your models know they are doing a fantastic job.


And on that note, give constant positive feedback

Everyone can be a little self-conscious, and modelling for you might be something that is completely outside of their comfort zone depending on the context of the shoot. Offer genuine reassurance and positive feedback during a shoot is so important to helping your models feel confident and relaxed on shoot. As stated, if a pose works tell them! Better yet, show them. Turn your camera towards them and show them how amazing they look and will encourage them throughout the shoot. If something isn’t working, say it in a positive way such as “This pose is great, but I loved ____. Let’s try that again!”


Creating a comfortable photoshoot environment is so important for your professional shoots. At Shutterstock Custom, the models you use for some assignments might have never shot professionally in front of the camera before, so ensuring you are creating a positive, motivating environment is a great way to settle nerves, and relax and have fun! Have any tips you’d like to share with our community? Comment them below!