DIY, Photoshoot

#YEG Ice Castles + Hosting Your Own DIY Photoshoot

If you're anything like me, you would much prefer to spend your hard-earned cash on silly things, like pricey lattes and overalls that never get worn. While it can be easy (and probably not the best idea) to spend your income on treating yourself, it is so much more important to re-invest that money into your small business or entrepreneurial project.

Luckily, when it comes to creating DIY professional photoshoots, you don't have to set aside hundreds of dollars for props, photographers, and models. With a little creativity and some hustle, you can host your own photoshoots on a dime (literally).

WAIT A SECOND: Now, before we dive in, let me throw out a little disclaimer first: this approach might not be for everyone. I have been very fortunate with the people I work with, and am able to create the photographs that I envision for my work. But if it's just not working out, don't be afraid to pay the professionals to work their magic. They are well-skilled in their craft and an investment like this in your business is usually a mega boost for sales and marketing. If you find you can't/don't want to create them yourself, it is worth paying the money for quality photos rather than putting out shoddy work. 

Okay, let's continue! Like I said above, I have been extremely lucky to work with some incredible teams on my photoshoots. Collaborating with people who are hobbyists or beginners is key to a successful shoot on a budget. Photographers, models, and even makeup artists are sometimes willing to work for free or for a heavily-reduced rate in exchange for portfolio photos. I have worked for free many times when I was just starting out as an illustrator, simply because I wanted the experience and the practise. 

In a pinch, I often turn to Instagram to find my collaborators. Seek out local work that inspires you and don't be afraid to ask! You may face a bit of rejection, but someone is bound to say yes and - voila! - a beautiful partnership is born. 

And if you're lucky, your partner-in-crime will also snap a few cute photos of you too! Thanks Robin!

And if you're lucky, your partner-in-crime will also snap a few cute photos of you too! Thanks Robin!

My go-to model is Robin Jones from My Closet Journey. She is a stunning blonde (oh wait, that was last week! You have to see her incredible new hair) and a beautiful person inside and out. We met last year when I asked to draw her, and she's given me the privilege of photographing her ever since. Putting out a model call on social media or- if you're brave enough- asking friends or family that you think would make the cut is another great way to build a strong team. People love great photos of themselves to show off to their friends, so it's a double win for everyone.

Speaking of photography, I take all of my promo shots by myself. While I LOVE working with other photographers, I also love how easily I can grab my camera and run out the door to shoot. I am, by no means, a professional, but I do have a creative eye for colour and composition. After a quick edit in Lightroom (a must, by the way!), I have a batch of photos that I can send off proudly into the world like little ROI-elves.

Not being afraid to scout somewhat strange locations is also key. For this shoot, we hit up the infamous Edmonton Ice Castles. For a mere $12, we had access to the most STUNNING backdrops. I can't get enough of the shots we took that day! If your city doesn't happen to have a magnificent man-made unicorn fortress like this one, just find some cool walls with different textures- brick, wood, concrete, anything! You might get some strange looks from passersby, but I swear it's worth it.

Lastly, if your product doesn't require a model to photograph for marketing, just remember that a piece of white bristol board and some bright natural lighting makes a GREAT do-it-yourself photobooth (like this one here). 

If you'd like to check out other photoshoots I've done in the past, head on over to my Instagram page!

Endless thanks to Robin Jones for her fantastic modelling skills and for being a trooper in the arctic weather (don't worry, I bought her a hot chocolate after!)

All good things,

Hayley