Batching Your Photography - How to Set Up a Theme Day
As part of my monthly routine I have a day set aside each month to take all of the photos I need for my website, blog and Instagram for the following few weeks. Batching together all of the photos that I need to take for each month saves a ton of time and also helps me get ahead with my blog and social media content planning. Plus, it’s fun to make a day of it. You can put some tunes on, faff around with props, what’s not to love?
With taking a few photos in one go you can also make sure you’re taking images that look consistent, you can use similar colours and similar light to help create an on-brand feel for your images. Also, if you’re going to the effort of creating a lifestyle scene to photograph or cleaning your kitchen so you can take a picture of it and not be mortified by the state of the floor, it’s worth getting a few photos in the bag for your efforts.
You won’t be surprised to learn that I like to plan out my photo theme days. With photography it’s all about the light and particularly in the winter when good natural light comes in very short windows, it’s good to know what pictures you want to take and whether there’s anything specific you want to photograph for a particular blog post or instagram post you have planned.
I’ve been batching my photography for my business for a few years now. It’s one of those time and energy saving methods that just seems to click with me and it’s stuck. I’m pretty well rehearsed with them now and I can tell you, planning ahead for your photo-taking theme day is key.
1) Scout out your location
Even if you’re shooting in your own home, have a scout round. Have a look at which rooms are brightest. Work out which ways the windows face, take note of what colours the walls and curtains are (as this will effect how the light is reflected around the room). If you’re shooting on a bright day you’ll be better shooting photos near a north facing window where the light isn't too harsh or directly hitting your scene. Find a space where the light is good and you've got plenty of room to take your photos, you might have to move some furniture around but that’s just another reason why it makes sense to batch your photo-taking, so you only have to do it once for a number of shots.
2) Plan what scenes and set-ups you’re going to shoot
I like to use interest for this bit to get inspiration. I pin photos that inspire me, I question what it is about the image I like and try to see how I can create something with a similar mood or story. it’s not a case of taking an image and recreating it, it’s about being inspired by the story telling, the lighting, the way they’ve arranged the props. Here’s my inspiration Pinterest board to get you started with your own.
You might want to draw out a few sketches of what you want to photograph - the clearer idea you can get of what you want to shoot at this stage, the more time you’ll save and images you’ll be able to capture on the day.
3) Gather your props
If you have a look around your house there are probably loads of things you could use as props. Go around your house with fresh eyes, picking out anything that you think might fit with the style of imagery that reflects your brand and the colours you like to use. Things like blankets, books, vases, flowers and glass bottles always make great props. Also, have a look around your house for walls, fabrics, table tops, even chopping boards you could use as a backdrop for your photography. Get all of your props together the night before your shoot so that you’re not hunting around for props on the day.
4) Prep your kit
Get your photography kit ready. Pull together your tripod and any lenses you want to use. If you have reflectors dig them out as well. I use a couple of white foam boards as reflectors, I can lean them up against something and point them at whatever I’m photographing and it makes a massive difference, they’re great for reducing any shadows.
Charge your camera battery and clear your SD card – get some spares of both if you think you might need them, it’s better to have a back up than have to finish early and missing out on getting some of the photos you wanted.
5) Prep your space
Prep the area where you’re going to take your product photos on the day. Clear lots of space because once you get all of your props out, things are going to get untidy. Try to create as much light in the space as possible, you could hang white sheets up or hook up your curtains to let as much light in as possible.
This might feel a bit unnecessary but believe me, when you wake up in the morning knowing that you’ve got everything set up and ready to go makes a massive difference.
The best way to get started with batching is just to set a date and try it out. Treat it as an experiment. if you find you prefer to take photos as and when, that’s fine. Don’t feel any pressure to do things in your business the ‘right way’ because there isn’t one. It’s about finding the tools that work for YOU.
If you give it a go and you love the feeling of getting into one task and submerging yourself fully into it, you can start to think about what other areas of your business you could save time on by batching and setting up theme days.