Great Tips For Walking Into Your First Photoshoot

We all know it can be overwhelming when walking into your first paid photo gigs. You want to look like you know what you're doing and you don't want to disappoint your clients. Here's a helpful short video by Jasmine Star sharing key tips about what to keep in mind when walking into your first portrait photoshoot. Click through to see the rest of the post to learn more tips: I would also add like to add a few tips for new photographers:

  • Never hurts to think of rough concepts the night before. Even better if you try and sketch some setup ideas first (see "storyboarding").


  • Refrain from giving your portrait subjects posing orders or telling them to give an expression (such as "smile" or "frown") right away. Typically people react the opposite of what you ask them to do early on in a shoot because they feel uncomfortable so you must warm them up first. Start the shoot off with casual questions and conversation (example: "where are you going on your  honeymoon?", "have any vacation time coming up?", "where are you from originally?") to help make your subjects feel comfortable (presuming they aren't full-time actors or models) and remove the awkwardness many people feel when in front of a camera.


  • Consider playing music in the background (if the situation is appropriate). My safe bet is always Marvin Gaye's Pandora station. It doesn't hurt to ask what your clients would enjoy. Upbeat music with good energy helps relax everyone on set. I actually travel with a bluetooth speaker set in my camera bag to play music on location from my iPhone.


  • "The night before, make sure all the batteries are charging. The morning of, make sure all the equipment is packed. If this is a paid gig and you're about to try a new technique, make sure to try it ahead of time on a test subject. Don't base your whole photoshoot on a technique you never tried before. It's too risky, and not fair for your client." - Noam Galai


  • "Have a trusted friend/photographer assist you, have a mood board or some concept images in mind to go through with the subject, brief everyone on the team (hair, make up, assistants etc) to be there 30mins before they actually need to be there ahead of the client's arrival time for the inevitable delays/late arrivals. Have some tea/coffee/water/snacks available and out, smile a lot as it helps keep you and your client relaxed, compliment the client on how they look when they walk in even if they look like they are still drunk and been dragged through a hedge backwards from the night before. Have a brief schedule for the team so everyone knows what times they need to work to to minimize stress on your part if time slips away. Sandbag those lights too, don't risk anything falling over and hitting anyone on your first shoot." - Dave Geffin

Have some tips to add? Comment below!

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Previous comments
Dont_Be_A_Dick's picture

Prove it.

I can only go on what I see.

RUSS T.'s picture

i have to say, respectfully, to me this video is information we can get from other credible sources.
Instead of throwing her back in everyone's faces right away.
I'd think it would be better to let people forget about her wrong doings. And then reintroduce her to the crowd.
passions would be given time to settle and she'd probably not meet such a huge outcry from the people.
Unless this is what is being looked for.
Anywho thats my 2 cents worth :)
Carry on ;-)

mmmarc's picture

BS. You all knew the potential repercussions and the greater potential for traffic. It's bait.

Shannon Wimberly's picture

way too much bs in these comments.... unbelievable

Cody Griffin Edger's picture

I think it's awesome that Fstoppers is choosing to embrace her right now. Forgiveness is a HARD thing to do. Them showing that they support her, even when she did something very wrong, is VERY cool of them.

I'm just saying, if you were the one that did what she did and you were sincerely sorry about it, knowing your friends forgave you and they were there to lean on in your time of need would mean everything to you.

Dont_Be_A_Dick's picture


Even supporters see this as a show of support.

Cody Griffin Edger's picture

I'm just saying, Fstoppers is trying not to hold someone's wrongdoings against their professional knowledge.

nigel walker's picture

Disappointing from Fstopper. A carefully timed article from JS and to post so soon shows support for bad behavior. We can all go somewhere else I guess.

Brian Carey's picture

Fstoppers is losing a lot of credibility here!

Alalia Lundy's picture

No they arent. This will all be old news in a couple months. Focus on honing your own crafts people. Nothing Jasmine has done affects you. Trying to punish her only hurts you.

JJWC's picture

Good thing JS dropped out of law school. Her unethical and shady behavior would have gotten her sued for malpractice. Here's a tip for JS:

1) The Internet archives everything so you're always on record. Everything you post will be searchable by everyone for a long time
2) With search tools, including Google's image search, it's pretty easy to check for IP theft

If you combine points #1 and #2 together it's easy to conclude that this unethical behavior will eventually be caught. If you're going to be sleazy at least try to be more clever about it.

stevengrosas's picture

LOL drama, drama, drama. I wonder what haters did before forums,blogs and social media? I guess everyone thought speaking about her for the week was going to make her lose customers or have blogs stop posting her videos haha Photographers make me laugh. Stop worrying about other people, and worry about yourselves. Use your valuable time on your clients and photography, and stop worrying about what other people are doing and or not doing. It's funny how everyone seems to have a clear idea on how other people should live their lives, but have no idea on how they should live their own. Let it go, you're only affecting yourself worrying about this, not her.

Michael Errey's picture

She needs time in the sin bin to reflect and really learn that actions have consequences. FS have made a very public statement that they have no care for ethics by posting this clip so soon after her repeat offending. Surely you could give her a rest for 6 months. Makes you wonder if there are personal or business conflicts of interest behind the scenes on this one.

Matt Thomas's picture

I just want to learn about taking photos and stuff...

Guest's picture

The only reason Fstoppers posted this is because a video of Jasmine is going to generate a lot more hits at the moment than a video of someone else.

K.B.'s picture

So shocked seeing this article with Jasmine Estrella on top. I guess I see why the half-hearted apology was approved.

Guest's picture
Chris Rogers's picture

people too sensitive. i'm glad this was put here. helped me out.

Kurt Langer's picture

Just cant stand looking at her cheesy bad taste ugly 80's trying to show my body off outfit. And listening to her waffling on about nothing.

mmmarc's picture


Smile4Melissa's picture

Great job F-loppers! Mea Culpa one day for Jasmine, and now right on to business as usual. So Classy! (P)rofessional! NOT!

IAM_THE_KGB's picture

What's very interesting is that the, ahem, author of this piece of (insert profanity here) doesn't have the simple decency to either in the original post or in a response to explain his "reasoning" for posting it.

All the author did was a copy/paste directly from Star, nothing more.
Not a single word from Sonders in the post.
Not a single word in the comments from Sonders.

Looks like a buddy post for the benefit of Star from Sonders.

Another step down the ladder for Fstoppers.

EnticingHavoc's picture

I love the moment she swaps lenses without attaching the rear cap but instead tosses the unprotected lens right into her pouch.
Apart from that I love the way she holds the camera. Never seen before on a pro photographer.

Her tips, hints and cues sound reasonable though. Nothing to scoff at especially since she states that they are intended for beginners.

Ralph Berrett's picture

I can understand having Jasmine Star giving advice in the areas that she is talented in like copy and paste, B&E, damage control and Wall Street ethics, but anything else is questionable.

GoboTog's picture

interesting... IMO I think I would of waited especially since who knows if she plagiarized the content in her video from someone else. Especially since this was made pre-apology. But I understand the conflict here.

Chuck Eggen's picture

Why don't you all shut up! Get off your piety wagons and go back to shooting. This article has some very good info and should be posted. I'm sick of all the perfect photographers commenting on how moral and wonderful they are. She apologized and went on with business. Did you think she would just hang up her camera and start a new career? What penance should she pay? Keep your droning to yourself and let us enjoy picking up a tip or two. Idiots! The lot of you that keep whining.

peaceetc's picture

You couldn't say that without calling people names? If you disagree with others' points of view, that's fine, but don't expect anyone to listen to yours if all you can do is throw insults around.

Chuck Eggen's picture

You listened and I'm sure many other will also. Names? Most of those posting comments are Idiots. Should I include you? So everyone can flame on about her but I can't do the same to them? Typical bandwagon member. I know, you have to go along with the crowd or you won't be cool.

peaceetc's picture

I didn't "listen" to you. If someone has to resort to name calling to try to get their point across, I immediately disregard whatever they have to say. I just hoped you could learn to be a little more adult about things, but obviously I was wrong. Have a wonderful day.

GokhanCukurova's picture

Take it down! Take it down! Take it down!

GokhanCukurova's picture

"Often times I am asked by a photographer for advice" she says in the beginning. I'd like to seek advice from ppl whose content you "knowingly" STOLE! Not you Jasmine. Sorry.

mark-eric c's picture

^^ Ladies and Gentlemen....I present to you a 100% perfect human being. We should all be in awe of his perfection. I'm just going to sit here and soak it all in for a minute.

AndersonBetterThanKleberson's picture

^ theres a douchebag right here

Shannon Wimberly's picture

Wow! some of you guys are hard-core! .... i'm glad NONE of you are editors here on Fstoppers! What a sh*t site it would be if you were!...... i've been here from the beginning, this is a wonderful site.... i have gleaned so so much from everything they have posted, everyday 4 or 5 times a day sometimes.... I LOVE THIS SITE!!!! Patrick Hall and Lee Morris have done us all an amazing service with it and for us..... THANK YOU GUYS AND YOUR STAFF!!!

Alalia Lundy's picture

Just like Scott Kelby said "Hating on Jasmine will not make you all better photographers".

All this hatred screams jealousy to me. You all are so morally ethical that you would incite an online lynch mob to try and ruin her. Really! Just like a bunch of good ole boys who think they are better, better yet, it sounds more like "...ah ha! We got something on her. We never liked her anyway. Let's blast her or jump on board of the hating train i.e. lynch mob" You all need to grow up. She shouldn't have done it, she admitted to it, but she is an excellent photographer with great experiences to share. Today is not the last we will hear from her, but by this time next year, you all will be jumping on hating on someone or something else. Sheesh!!!

Dont_Be_A_Dick's picture

You are right. Some people don't "like" her. Some people want reasonable accountability.

In other professions her career would be over. Asking for a week not promoting her business is light in comparison.

Ralph Berrett's picture

I am not a saint or a good person, or am I a good ole boy. I do not hate Jasmine, but she did destroy here own reputation. To quote Chuck Norris; " Actions have consequences" (sorry just could not resist). The only person she can blame is herself.

As far as jealousy I don't shoot weddings, and not into family portraits, also I am not a motivational speaker. I do photojournalism, sports photography, editorial and commercial photography.

My point of view is that she is a tainted source. There is not a single professional news organization or publication that hire, print or publish her work because of the plagiarism. If she worked in the same field as I do her career would be over.

If she really would address issue and truly apologize in stead of blaming a clerical error and hectic life, then forgiveness would come.

Marc's picture

Love fstoppers; can't understand how you fell so abysmally low.
As to the young lady, I did not see one picture in that video that I would have liked to get from my own wedding. I now understand why she "needs" to cheat.

GokhanCukurova's picture

Today is the dayFStoppers' credibilty, trustworthyness goes to garbage! As one other reader put it, today is the day ass meets the lips.
Good bye!!!

AndersonBetterThanKleberson's picture

So, Lee or Patrick? Which one is banging her?

contribuorM's picture

Life goes on. Everyone should move right along with it. Live and let live ffs.

James Reilly's picture

Do you guys all share the same horrible canned music? I could hardly sit through an hour Fstoppers' wedding photographer doco without feeling the urge to seek out and destroy the people responsible for the damned Coldplay-does-infomercial-music that is on loop throughout the entire 16 hours of that video.

Sharva H's picture

Interesting tips. I honestly think an important thing to do is chat with another photographer and ask for 1-1 tips.

It's a relatively friendly industry and helping each other out is part of it.

A friend of mine actually connected with Iain Sherwood, he's been in the photography industry for many years. He's done everything from concept shoots to full wardrobe selection. You can actually chat with him here: