Moodboarding – Where Does a Shoot Idea Come From

Vintage photo via Pinterest

Where does an idea for a shoot come from?

An idea can come from the client, a piece of clothing, a location, an old photo, a film or history. Inspiration is everywhere.

Today I will talk you through the process I use to put an idea for a portrait shoot together and give you a little sneak look into one of the things I will be teaching at the Picture This Workshop.

In this case the idea for a shoot I am planning came from a seaside location and grew from there.

Love this perspective and feel – those legs! Photo via Pinterest

The location is by the sea, there are old boats and a wonderful wooden yacht club and so much inspiration.

Love this pose Vintage photo via Pinterest

We borrowed a vintage swimsuit from a friend and started to build ideas around the swimsuit including props, poses, hair and make-up and accessories. If the client is up for it so am I!

 Location idea photo via Pinterest

The club has a wonderful old bar and I could just see the vintage costume at the bar!

Prop Umbrella idea photo via Pinterest

Props are wonderful to take your subjects mind of the camera and give them something to do with their hands and give your photos a more authentic feel.

 Love a big beach umbrella as prop photo Pinterest

or legs!

Hair and make-up idea copyright Carla Coulson

Like with all moodboarding images and ideas they are just starting points. I take inspiration photos to show the hair and make-up artist as initial ideas but always trust their judgement on what will work with different face and eye shapes and hair texture.


 Love the graphic quality of this shot and the pose – Photo via Pinterest

Poses and mood are important especially when you are inspired by something vintage. Check out the ways models sat, posed, walked and moved in old photos! There is so much to learn.

Each shoot is an organic process and has a life of it’s own. Even if you wanted to copy an idea it is almost impossible as you will never have the same light, model, location and emotion created by another photographer or model so your shoot will always have your stamp on it.

I gather the inspiration photos together to have with me on the shoot to show the client ideas and the shoot finds it’s own legs and then away we go….

I love everything about the shooting and planning process.

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation and a pinch of creativity”. Bo Bennett

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4 Responses to Moodboarding – Where Does a Shoot Idea Come From

  1. Thank you for your insight. The sourcing of ideas before the image is created is a fun and exciting stage.

  2. Corrina Tough says:

    Thanks Carla, this is wonderful- I am a real methodical person and love the way you have broken down the process- I love that there is a process you can use! It is not random but requires a lot of planing. I have found props very helpful both for the model and me as it adds mood and becomes part of the story. You have illustrated all of this so well- I wish I could have been a part of the picture this workshop- It must have been amazing! Congrats to you and hope you are well rested now. xx Corrina.

  3. sarah says:

    Love it so retro!

  4. Jess Flett says:

    Happy New Year and thank you for some much needed inspiration. Sorry I have been absent from comments but I promise I have been reading. Jx

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