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6 Photo Studio Tips Every Content Curator Should Know

So, you’ve stepped into the spotlight. You’ve entered the creative space, and you’re ready to make content that matters. You’re prepared to give it your best shot (and take the best shots). But where do you even begin?

Whether you’re a professional photographer, a hobby shutterbug, a small business, an aspiring influencer, or just taking those yearly family portraits – you need to make the best of your time in studio. From lighting to camera angles, concepts to mood boards (and, of course, those coffee breaks in between), every part of the process is important.

So, here are 6 tips for time well spent in a photo studio!

1. Keep Moving

Why would you settle for a single good shot when you could have a dozen? Your portrait photographer in Johannesburg should keep moving to ensure they get your best angle - all of them! You’d be surprised at the difference a change of angle, and position, can make. For example, an eye-level snap is perfect for professional portraits, while a lower angle makes the subject appear more dominant and powerful (particularly for fashion shoots to show off your outfits!) Plan for movement - lots of movement - with every shot taken for best results.

2. Mood Board to Make it Happen

A mood board is a visual presentation of ideas, concepts, colours, themes, words, and maybe even textures, that you want your photos to embody and exude. Every studio photo shoot has a particular energy to it, and your mood board helps to direct this. It's important to take the time to create one ahead of the shoot, and keep it on hand to remind yourself, the photographer, the stylist, and the model, of the goals you're taking, while simultaneously focusing your energy in pursuit of the goal. This also helps to limit time wastage, while on set, which is a best case scenario for all involved!

3. Restructure and Redecorate

Don’t be afraid to switch up the setting! Work with your mood board, but make sure to leave a little space to play. Move the furniture around, throw in some snazzy props, try new poses enhanced by the light (or lack thereof), and embrace the creative impulse. This extends to your backdrop, too! A plain PVC backdrop can be iconic, and even more so with some strategically props to bring it to life. Your opportunity for creativity is endless, so do what it takes to glam up the photo studio setting.

4. Automation is the Answer

Once you’ve found the perfect shot (and trust us, you’ll know it when you see it), and you’ve capture a couple practise snaps just to make sure, it’s time to speed up the process and take advantage of your studio time by automating the shutter. The good news is you don’t need expensive software to make that happen! Set your camera or Smartphone on timer, with the burst shot option enabled. Your lens will then capture dozens of shots in just a few seconds. To make the most of this, move around while it does so - see Tip 1 again for why this works.

5. The ¾ Rule for Posing

If you’re unsure where to start with posing, the ¾ method is a great way to get going. Angle your body about 45 degrees away, so that three quarters of your body is in the frame (face the camera and then turn in such a way that you're facing slightly to the left or right of the camera, but not completely to the side). Relax, get comfortable, and maybe throw a hand on your hip. Turn your head to the side and lean it slightly towards the camera. There, that's your start shot – everything else from there is a natural progression.

6. Time is Money

Affordable studio rates aren’t the only currency in the photography world! Ultimately, although your imagination is endless, you do need to plan a shoot carefully to ensure you make the most of your time in the space. Make sure you’re kitted out with a steady tripod, a decent camera/smartphone, and a few ideas for the look of your shoot before you get to studio, because taking time to decide when you're there can waste precious minutes! This preparation places limitations on your vision (while allowing space for the creative), which enables you to get an array of varied images, rather than a few half-baked ideas.

For first-time content curators, it’s wise to seek out a space that is flexible to your novice needs, while still offering reputable referrals for photographers, MUA, etc (if you don’t already have them), and is negotiable on rates and times, too.

For an efficient and cost-effective boutique photo pod space, check out the 206 Pop-Up Studio on 4th Avenue in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. For enquiries, email

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