25 Photoshoot Ideas to Inspire Your Next Editorial

Do you feel stuck with the same old boring photoshoot ideas? We don’t blame you! If you’re a fashion photographer it’s tough to constantly come up with creative new concepts that will blow everyone away, and get your work pubished. Even the most brilliant photographers start to creatively burn out eventually. We hear you, and we’ve decided to answer you prayers. Below we have compiled an inspirational list of ideas to help fuel your next (totally unique and not-like-all-the-others) photoshoot. Very often inspiration hides in the unlikeliest places, and who said it always has to be a tribute to photographers Tim Walker or Paolo Roversi? A sad melody, the way the moon is reflected in a sidewalk puddle or even the way the sunlight spills into your kitchen, good ideas are everywhere, tucked under even the most mundane every-day experiences. Here are some shoot ideas we love at the moment:


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Photo Within a Photo


This photoshoot idea works just like the movie Inception, a photograph within a photograph within a photograph. You get the idea. The way to do this is to schedule a two day photoshoot that allows you to shoot, print, and then shoot what you’ve shot, re-framing each image, adding tons of context and narrative in the process. Totally worth the effort.


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Be Creative With How You Display Your Products


Your model doesn’t always have to be wearing the clothes. You have full creative license to present products any way you damned well please in your photographs! Pose your model standing beside the clothes instead of in them. Go nuts, your pictures will be so much more interesting.


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Vintage Dance Party


Your family’s photo albums are a gold mine of photoshoot ideas. They’re jam-packed with inspiration. The colors and textures are gorgeous, and they’re just really fun. Why not do a photoshoot tribute to these vintage gems? Stage your own vintage house party (throw in some home brew) and shoot away!


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The Plastic Age


First there was the stone age, then the bronze age, and the iron age…we are currently, unmistakably, unfortunately, living in the plastic age. Has a terrible ring to it, right? Love it or hate it, the reality is that plastic completely defines our entire society, and for that very reason, it is a compelling photoshoot idea. Focusing on plastic bags in your next photoshoot is a weird and visually interesting way to say something meaningful about the world we live in.


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The Sequence of Things


Photograph a sequence to tell a story about your model. Either come in really close and study your model in minute detail, or step back and see the bigger picture. Keep an eye out for variations in color, texture and patterns. This is a remarkable technique for a creative portrait or unexpected fashion editorial.


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Besides being a literary genius, Hemingway was a whiskey drinking, fist fighting, gun-toting, barrel chested master of manliness. Cool, but everyone knows that, right? Nothing new to see here…except if you took everything that made Hemingway the man he was, and translate it onto a female model in a fashion shoot. That’s what makes this such a thrilling photoshoot idea with tons of literary-referencing gender-bending potential. A woman can be every bit the man Hemingway was. Dont believe me? Try it for yourself.


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Paint Paint Everywhere


Painting over your prints is actually a stunning way to spice up boring pictures. Just place transparency sheets over your photo, and paint away. There are a million ways to use art in your photography, and make your editorial sing. Don’t shy away from being experimental.


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Warping Reality


Sometimes all you need is a little change in perspective. Why not add a magnifying glass, colored filters, layers of textured glass, or just change the angle from which you take the picture. Anything that adds depth and dimension, and changes the way we would normally view the model.


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Random Objects


Step one: Put real stuff on prints of your photograps, step two: photograph your photograph. Instant art! You can get really creative with this idea, experimenting with different objects, textures and fluids to achieve images that are truly unique. Pay a visit to your local mall, and try to spot as many unconventional, and weirdly photogenic objects as possible.


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The Beauty of Nap Time


How about doing a fashion shoot inspired by the single most beautiful thing on this planet? Sleep! Wrap your beautiful model in some pajamas, throw her on a bed and tell her to pose to her dream’s content. We guarantee you that your model will never be happier about another photoshoot.


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Nancy Drew


Murder, mystery, ghostly apparitions, paired with killer pin-curls and 50s-inspired wardrobe makes for an amazing fashion photoshoot idea. Just look at those incredible jewel tones. Nancy Drew was a big deal between the 1950s and 70s, she was kind of like the original Harry Potter without the magic (unless you count her super-human problem solving skills as magic). The point here is, don’t just go for the obvious photoshoot options, do something different and unexpected!


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Natural Light Geometry


Keep your eyes open to the magnificent natural light around you, and use it – even if it means having to shoot for multiple days just to catch that perfect 6pm ray of sunlight streaming through your bathroom window. It’ll take time, but your photos will thank you for it.


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Everyone Loves Hair


Everyone always focuses on makeup and clothing in their fashion photography, why not do a photoshoot dedicated to hair for a change? Forget about the crazy contortionist posing, and let your model’s mane do all the talking this time. For something extra special, try to match your model’s hair styles to random objects found in nature, like this gorgeous Iris below.


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Plant Play


Find a giant beautiful plant and find creative ways for your model to pose with it. Large plants make for a bright and interesting element in photos, and you can find them on every corner (especially if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with large tropical plants like the one above left). Also, the more awkward the model’s posing the better. In fact, we insist on it.


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Puddle Reflections


During bright days, right after it has rained really hard, water acts as a natural mirror against a dark pavement. If you angle it just right, it can even create a natural double exposure effect. It makes for stunning photo opportunities. Imagine the visual effect of having your model pose between the sky above, and the sky reflected below. In case you can’f find a puddle big enough, a small one will do. Just get down low and the illusion of distance will make your small puddle look like a lake (check out this tutorial here). The middle photo above was taken with a tiny puddle no larger than two feet. No photographer should miss out on this magical photo-op


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Ugly Is Pretty, Bad Is Good


Stop trying to make your models into glamazons all the time. Let them be themselves, unruly, imperfect and human. The fantasy of fashion is wonderful, but sometimes simplicity and imperfection is refreshing. Try a shoot with no makeup and hair styling. Better yet, try using intentionally ugly clothing.


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When You Love Your Job This Much Its A Photoshoot Idea


Fact: Most people hate their jobs and would never think of producing a photoshoot dedicated to their work. But that’s exactly what makes this photoshoot idea so brilliant! They’ll never see it coming. If you think about it, your work is an excellent subject for a picture series. It’s where we spend most of our lives. Your models could take the roles of disgruntled office workers, a nerdy physicist locked up in her laboratory, or fashion bloggers looking comfortable (a little too comfortable?) at home. Or you could dedicate a photoshoot to fashion photography itself and make the photographer the subject of your picture. Models posing as photographers posing as models.


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Motion Blur


Place yourself at a high vantage point over-looking a busy street on an overcast day, and shoot your model standing still among the busy crowd. When styling your model be sure to use bright bold colors not typically found on people, like yellow, hot pink and orange. Or else you can just have her dance in your studio. Either way, the results can be surprisingly poetic.


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Vintage Cowgirls Anyone?


What could be more delightful? It’s cute, it’s playful and it’s definitely unexpected. Perhaps this is partially due to the fact that fashion photography is having a very minimalistic moment that overly stylized shoots are not as popular as they once were. But you’re no sheep, you’re a fashion wolf and you march to the beat of your own drummer! Create something cool with a quirky motif.


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Photography Gets Illustrated


To be sure, there’s nothing easy about achieving this effect. But nothing worth doing ever is. Get creative by transforming your photos into sketches. Some useful tips here: shoot your model from as far back as possible, zooming in with your lens. This will effectively “flatten” your photograph and make your model easier to transform into a sketch.


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Jet Set Chic Photoshoot Idea


This photoshoot idea is aspirational as hell, and in truth that’s how most photographers shoot it – all glamorous and aspirational. What would happen if you turned this theme on it’s head and shot it from the perspective of how rough travel can be. Who travels in heels anymore anyway?


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Luna Lady: To the Moon and Back


Though there’s nothing original about this photoshoot idea, the moon can still provide a lot of fuel for your creative fire. It can be interpreted in a million ways, from a sleek futurism, to a sparkling gothy story. You can choose to use the light blue and grey colors of the moon as inspiration for a dreamy portrait shoot, or you can structure a whole editorial around Diana, goddess of the moon. The create things you can do with this theme is endless.


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Collage Your Heart Out


Think back to a time before Photoshop and the ability to cut and paste digitally, way back when you had to use an actual pair of scissors and glue to refashion an image. We still believe there’s nothing quite like it. You can always tell when a photographer tried to imitate a real collage digitally, it just never looks the same. It’s missing that incredible three-dimensionality you only get when you actually layer, for real layer paper on top of paper. Try it, and see for yourself how beautiful it can be.


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Taking a Stand for Something


Political and social issues very very rarely inspire fashion editorials, there’s just nothing aspirational or glamorous about socio-political issues, and 99.9% of fashion editors insist that is what fashion should be – luxury, glamor, and $dollars$. It’s a real shame because, with the exception of movies, no other form of media gets as much air-time as photography. We know we know, most fashion photographers get into the business because it’s fun to be creative, but wouldn’t it be cool to make a social stand while making art?


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Natalia Borecka

Natalia is the editor in chief and publisher of Lone Wolf Magazine. She founded the publication in 2012.

  1. I think I have done more than a half of it though! 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and the last one : – )

  2. I have been looking for something like this for the past 1-2 hours, this was the only relavant and useful article I found. Thank you very much.

  3. One of the best styling articles I’ve read . It’s really hard to find this info. Thank you !

  4. Loved reading this – some really interesting ideas, thank you!

  5. Old Skool No Joke says:

    Bullshit advice for a generation of bullshit camera users..

  6. This is great! This page is a continuous source of inspiration whenever I get stuck on a project to do. Just wondering what are the names of the photographers of the two works under ‘the sequence of things’?

  7. charles hamisi says:

    Really good ideas loved them

  8. Loved your article! Very inspiring

  9. Absolutely in love with these ideas. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  10. thank you so much for your ideas and inspirations..now this Is certainly going to be a great help for my photoshoot

  11. Ok, hands down the best photoshoot ideas list on the internet right now. Thank you SO MUCH for this. I was totally out of ideas, like completely creatively drained, until now. I mean, there’s only so many times you can do the same thing. This is a fantastic resource for photoshoot ideas.

  12. Great inspirations here! My favorite is the “Taking a Stand for Something”. It would definitely be cool to make a social stand while making art. After all, isn’t the point of art to elevate a people/society? 💯 We share the sentiment at PURPLE & CHROME.

  13. Used some of these ideas for my Depop photos.
    Check them out on Depop @DUKEVINTAGE (vintage clothing and homeware coming soon).

  14. You have listed some interesting ideas here Natalia. I have already seen the concept of photo within photo but I just love the idea of using the products creatively to take product shot differently. Besides that motion blur shots are also really cool. Thank you indeed.

  15. Really very inspirational post. I have learn a lot from your post. Thanks for your great effort. You put lots of time to make the post.

  16. What a GREAT Perspective! These
    photo’s are simply Great. They Remind me of My Friends Work
    Johan Endre of Daytona Beach Florida.
    He has a Great Eye also.

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