Hot Shots! Shooting Photos in Public

Photography: Fifi Newbery

Hey guys! So I’ve been wanting to create this post for the longest time but…life kept getting in the way as it normally does. I thought it would be cool to talk about shooting photos in public, either as an influencer or non-influencer, and ways in which you can gain the confidence to do so.

I think it’s safe to say that the boom in Instagram and blog engagement has given rise to a whole new level of creating visual content. Whether it’s taking video shots using a drone for Youtube, or shooting a street style session with a photographer, you can’t go to any random back street or monument in London without seeing the flash of a camera bulb and the willing, stylish subject in front posing for the frame.

I started creating fashion blog posts in 2014 and obviously in order to do that, one would have needed to pose for photographs in a brightly lit space. I was still at a point in my life where I felt incredibly wary and self conscious about my body, and didn’t even like family members snapping me so I decided to teach myself. It’s now 2019 and we have an entirely different Steph. We have a Steph who now gets changed in the middle of the street regardless of what people have to say. We have a Steph who likes to pose in a variety of different ways in order to bring something new and a bit more editorial to the table. So with that being said, I thought I would share some of my tips on being shot and feeling confident in public.

Shell dress

Baby Steps: Shooting outside your home

When I first started shooting outfit content, I started shooting in my Mum’s back garden as we had plenty of space. It allowed me to work on poses without feeling overly self conscious that loads of people would be looking. I invested in a good tripod and a Canon self timing camera remote (which I will link below), and began playing about with generic poses and such. I would often have the next door neighbours on either side take a peek out of their windows, wondering what on earth this girl was doing in her garden, but in my mind, I saw it as getting used to the eventual glares I would get from the general public.

Eventually when I moved in with my ex, he unwillingly became my new blog photographer, and we started shooting on the road outside our flat. This opened me up to a whole new audience of curtain tuggers and people gazing at what we were doing from their houses, but I slowly began to get accustomed to being stared at.

  • Shoot in your garden or outside your front door/porch/stairs.
  • Ask a member of your family to help you shoot. I find that it’s a lot easier to tell them you’re doing it for your blog early on, so that they don’t get the wrong idea.
  • Please grab your keys if shooting outside your house/road. There have been many occasions where I was locked out of the flat accidentally!

How do I pose?!

Ok so posing can be a tricky one to master because let’s face it: we all feel (and probably look) like pricks in public. One thing I will say is not to feel pressured by, or compare yourself to how other influencers are posing in their photos online (and certainly do not copy specific signature poses, because people will notice).

Everyone has their own style, and the more you shoot (either alone or with a photographer) the more you’ll feel at home with a specific pose. A lot of us started off with the good old ‘looking for spare change on the floor’ look while moving our hear behind our ears, or you can go traditional and stand with your hand on your hip and smile! Some prefer motion shots of them walking and looking away, and some prefer to gaze into the distance while holding an item of their clothing. It’s all about doing what feels natural to you. A somewhat signature pose of mine is to pose with my legs spread wide apart. Why? I don’t know, I just like having my legs open I suppose (LMAO), but more importantly, it’s a pose that feels natural to me, it allows me to show off my legs, which are my favourite parts of my body, and it gives my pose/body movement.

If you’re worried about what to do with your hands while posing, accessorise! Grab an umbrella, a pair of sunglasses, a bag, a sandwich, a newspaper, your phone, anything, and work with it for the shot. Pretend as if you’re taking your glasses off or putting them on, or lightly touch your forefinger to your lips if you’re doing something a bit more editorial and sultry.

Figure out niche: do research

Ok so you’re ready to start shooting #CONTENT. Wonderful! But what kind of content are you doing? What kinds of poses and shots do you want to associate with said content? Are you a Mummy blogger? Disney blogger? fashion blogger? What do you want your images to portray when you upload them? Are you wanting to go down the high-fashion ‘editorial’ route with your images, or do you want a more ‘down to earth’ casual tone? Do you want your images to look almost ethereal and aspirational?

These are the questions you need to ask before shooting. Once you’ve figured it out. Do your research. Look at websites and magazines that are in line with the kind of content you want to create, and get inspiration from them. Look at your favourite influencers’ feeds (but do not copy) as a guideline, and come up with your own ways of posing.

I’ve always had a profound love of fashion, the industry, modelling and everything that comes along with it, and from the age of 11, started watching Fashion TV after school every day, alongside every single season of America’s Next Top Model. I already knew that when I started creating fashion content, I wanted my shots to look as editorial as possible and thus would watch hours of fashion content on Youtube, read all the coffee books just to look at the models’ faces, and would practise my ‘serious face’ in the mirror all the time. I definitely smile and can be cute in photos from time-to-time, but my thing is very much the sultry, serious, glam pose.

Find a photographer you feel comfy with

Please please understand that it is not necessary to get a photographer in order to be an influencer or take photos for your blog so please do not feel like you have to check this off your list, but I know that a vast majority of you like the professional option, so if you are interested in using a professional photographer, check out who your favourite bloggers are using and whether you like their style of shooting. We have a great variety of amazing photographers in the blogosphere at the minute, so it’s definitely work enquiring into! Here are some of my faves:

Most photographers charge by the hour, however if you’re feeling a little nervous before the shoot, it’s worth asking your photographer if you want to have a quick coffee with them for 10 minutes beforehand, just so you can loosen up (provided they aren’t on a tight schedule).

Shoot in the backstreets first

Backstreets, alleyways, mews, whatever the case may be, when I first started shooting out in London, I tried to find the quietest places I could shoot and get changed in without attracting too much attention. I love shooting in Mews because they are generally extremely quiet as well as being beautiful streets to shoot on! All it takes is a quick google search to find the quietest streets in your town or city.

Keep your eyes on the photographer

Trust me, it’s EASY to get distracted once you start noticing eyes on you, however we live in a society now where taking photos in public is the norm, so people should be used to it, especially in the big cities. What i’ve noticed is that 70% of the time, people are staring at the photographers instead of you, so I wouldn’t worry. Pretend as if it is only you and the photographer outside. Nobody else’s eyes exist, or matter.

When shooting some photos with Fifi this week, a man walked by and shouted ‘IT’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!’. I said ‘Sir? Who TF is the beast in this situation?’ and my man back-peddled quicktime and kept it moving. Sometimes if people stare, give them something to stare at. You are taking pictures for you and if people want to look, let them look.

Be willing to risk it all for ‘the shot’

In these photos, I was bare-legged in 1 degree weather. Baring in mind (no pun intended) that I am anaemic, this wasn’t the ideal weather. But can you see it in my face? Nope! I could be chilling at Venice Beach in the sunshine for all you know. The first time I did the ‘split’ pose, I’m pretty sure I nearly pulled a muscle or tore something in my groin, but we got the shot. I’m not saying you have to injure yourself for the sake of fashion, but If you create a concept featuring poses and images that you think would look amazing, do whatever possible (within reason) to achieve it. Just don’t be out here risking your lives though please…it’s not that deep.

Get your accessories!

These are basically items that you’ll need on a shoot day. The vast majority of them are optional and is down to personal preference:


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