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Tips for a Successful Stylized Photo Shoot

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Stylized is defined as “depicted or treated in a mannered and nonrealistic style”. Therefore, if you want to create a stylized photo shoot, the sky is the limit. Here is just some of what can come into play:

• Using an odd background for a typical shoot such as a family portrait that looks like it occurs in a postapocalyptic wasteland

• Combining unlikely elements like taking a picture of a bride and groom in front of a decrepit building

• Taking pictures of anything weird and outlandish such as a (staged) alien abduction or a woman playing with dolls with blood on her hands

• An out of the box take on the usual, such as taking a picture of a sports team but instead of focusing on the players and gear, shoot them in action complete with sweat and grime

• Adding unusual color elements such as taking a picture of a child but editing to give them glowing red eyes.

Sure, my stylized ideas may be a bit dark, but hopefully you get the picture (pun intended).

Because stylized shoots are so varied, it’s difficult to provide a one size fits all comprehensive how to, but here are some guidelines that may provide inspiration.

Find a Theme

Your theme can come from anywhere. It can be based on your personal taste or you may be assigned a theme that you are looking to take outside the box. There is no right or wrong when it comes to finding a theme that’s right for you.

Decide on the Style

What could be more important in a stylized photo shoot than the style? You may integrate style ideas such as macro, odd angles and blurred background combined with clear foregrounds. You may decide to add elements in editing. The style is completely up to you so get creative!

Find a Location

The location will set the tone of your shoot so it’s important to find one that makes sense considering the images you are looking to capture. Think of using landscape scenes, old buildings and various backdrops that can make your studio look like it came from another time and place.

Picture It

Stylized photos defy reality so you must get a clear picture in your head of what you are looking to do. This will make it easier for you to set it into motion. While picturing the scene, take various factors into account such as the weather, the scenery and the way your subjects should be dressed (if you’re shooting people). That way you can plan ahead to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Consider the Light

The light will play a key role in the images you capture. It dictates the mood of your shots. If you want a bright and sunny appearance, try shooting on days when there is minimal chance of rain. Low light can be great for adding emotion so if you are going for more of a dark and moody vibe, shoot when it’s cloudy out or during dawn or dusk.

Keep it Simple

A stylized shoot may have a lot of out of the box elements but that doesn’t mean it needs to get complicated. If you bring in too many props and people, it will make things stressful and that will show in the images you are taking. Opt for simplicity instead eliminating factors you can’t control. If you need extra props, use what’s available to you instead of spending time and money searching for them.

A stylized photo shoot can be anything you want it to be. The only common factor is including an element of the unusual.

The tips in this article will help you get stylized images that are sure to impress. What will you be doing the next time you want to take a photo shoot outside the box?

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