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If you're a photographer or a writer, or like me, both, you've probably Googled "is photo shoot one word or two?"
It's a common question for those of us in the industry, but a more important question is, which one is the right way to spell it? Photo shoot or photoshoot?
Photo Shoot vs Photoshoot: Which is Correct?
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As it turns out, both photo shoot and photoshoot are considered correct. However, photo shoot is a much more popular term than photo shoot.
According to Grammarly, the popular writing assistant software, photo shoot is much more common, but photoshoot has gained in popularity in recent years.
Not that long ago, "photoshoot" would have been flagged by spell checkers as being incorrectly spelled, but that also has changed in recent years.
So, in the photo shoot vs photoshoot battle, the former is still king, but the latter is becoming more commonly used. Either way, you are spelling the word (or words) correctly and using them correctly as well.
In fact, there is no difference in their meaning - both are noun phrases that refer to a thing (a session with a photographer), so whichever way you like to spell the word, go for it!
I personally like to use it as a two-word term, so from here on out, that's what you'll see.
Popular Kinds of Photo Shoots
Now that we have photo shoot vs photoshoot out of the way, let's explore some popular kinds of photo shoots.
Additionally, let's take a look at some sample images from photo shoots to help you generate some ideas for your next session with a client.
Boudoir Photo Shoot
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As is explained in our article on boudoir photography tips, boudoir photo shoots are a sensual type of portrait photography that has been around for generations.
In years past, boudoir photography was perhaps best known as a way for women to present their significant other with a seductive photo. However, in recent years, boudoir photography has become a more popular choice for women who want to express who they are and celebrate their bodies for no one but themselves.
Boudoir Photo Shoot Ideas
Photo by Adene Sanchez via iStock
Boudoir photos are all about celebrating the subject's body, but they don't have to be nude to do that.
As shown above, this model's showing plenty of skin, which makes this a very sensual boudoir photo.
Ask the model to show off their arms or legs (or both) to reveal the shape and form of their body without having them be nude. As you can see, having the model extend their arms and legs can do wonders for showing off their body.
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Another boudoir photo shoot idea is to get in close and focus on a single body part.
As shown above, the lips can be very seductive, and with all the detail that the shape of the mouth provides, this is a very engaging image to look at, even though it is very tightly framed and prevents us from seeing much of the model.
A model's hands, feet, eyes, and the nape of the neck are further ideas for creating close-up boudoir photos.
Photo by DaniloAndjus via iStock
Something else to keep in mind about boudoir photo shoots is that they don't have to take place in the bedroom or a studio set up to look like a bedroom.
On-location boudoir photo shoots can be a little tricky, particularly if the model is a bit shy.
But as you can see above, beautiful and sensual photos can be had if you put the model in the right location.
Also notice that boudoir photo shoots aren't just for women - men are certainly worthy subjects as well.
Nude Photo Shoot
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Believe it or not, nude photo shoots are one of the most popular types of portrait photography today.
Like boudoir photography, nude photography has been around for ages, and before that, paintings, sculptures, and other art forms have focused on the nude human form.
Since this is a family-friendly website, the examples of nude photo shoots and nude photography ideas that I've compiled below feature models that are clothed, or are at least obscured in some way.
Nevertheless, the examples below demonstrate how you might approach posing a model for a nude photo shoot.
Nude Photo Shoot Ideas
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The purpose of a nude photo shoot is much the same as a boudoir photo shoot - to display the sensuality of the human form.
But don't be afraid to incorporate other elements into the shot to give it some color, contrast, and visual interest.
As shown above, colorful makeup adds an additional layer of interest to this photo, yet does so without distracting from the model's beautiful body.
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Another nude photo shoot idea to try is to use light to highlight the model's form.
As shown above, lights on either side of the model showcase her body while creating intrigue with perfectly placed shadows.
The black and white treatment is also eye-catching and enhances the beauty of the interplay between dark and light.
Notice as well how the model lengthens her body by extending her arms above her head, but does so without appearing rigid. The result is quite striking!
Photo by miljko via iStock
When creating a nude photo shoot, your model might want their significant other to be in the shot with them.
As you can see above, this presents even more opportunities for celebrating the human body and for showcasing the relationship between two people.
It's important to approach these kinds of nude photo shoots with a focus on the artistic quality. Using light and shadow, as discussed above, getting in close and framing a close-up of the models' bodies, and avoiding cliche shots like two people in bed together can help you create high-quality nude photos.
Want more ideas for nude photography? Check out our list of nude photography tips.
Maternity Photo Shoot
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Aside from newborn photo shoots, maternity photo shoots might be the most precious kind of portrait you can take.
Showcasing the relationship between an expecting mother and her unborn child takes great skill, and a ton of maternity photo shoot ideas to help you bring your creative vision to fruition.
The sample images below offer just a sampling of some of the ideas you might use the next time you're photographing an expecting mom.
Maternity Photo Shoot Ideas
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Pregnancy is tough and can take a toll on a woman's body. As a result, some expecting moms might not feel like they're all that beautiful for their portraits.
When heading into a maternity photo shoot, it's important to give the model as much props as you can. Comment on how she's glowing, how nice her hair looks, or how gorgeous her skin is.
Giving her these positive reinforcements before you start pressing the shutter will give her a confidence boost that enables her to feel her best while you take photos that make her look her best. A little confidence will go a long way in helping you do that!
Photo by katrinaelena via iStock
The best time to take maternity photos is usually in the third trimester when the baby bump is really showing.
But during the third trimester, mom is going to be tired and achy, so it's important to bear that in mind as you ask her to pose this way and that.
Do your best to pose mom in one way, like standing, and work your way around her to capture photos from different angles.
Give her direction for changing up the shot (i.e., having her hands on her belly, and then having her hold a prop of some sort, like flowers), that way you can get as many different looks from each pose before moving her to another pose.
This will help minimize how much the model has to sit down, stand up, and so forth, and she will thank you for that!
Photo by inarik via iStock
A final maternity photo shoot idea in mind is to pamper the model and help her look and feel glamorous.
As I mentioned earlier, most pregnant women don't feel all that great, nor do they feel as though they look all that great.
By giving her the opportunity to get dressed up in a gorgeous gown (like the one shown above), you give the model a moment to escape reality and feel like the beautiful woman that she is.
Besides, adding the color and texture and shape of a maternity gown only adds more visual interest to the portrait.
Get even more direction on how to plan and execute a successful maternity photo shoot in our expansive maternity photography section.
Engagement Photo Shoot
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When I think of a photo shoot vs photoshoot, I think of engagement sessions and weddings.
Engagement photo shoots used to not be a thing, but in the last decade or so, documenting the moment that a person proposes to their significant other has become hugely popular.
There is also a big demand for posed engagement photos, either after the moment the proposal is made or well after the fact.
Here are a few ideas for engagement photo shoots you can use to create memorable photos.
Engagement Photo Shoot Ideas
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When tackling an engagement photo shoot, keeping things light and candid can get you some great results.
As shown above, this photo looks more like a private, funny moment this young couple was having together rather than a staged portrait.
You can elicit this sort of interaction by having the couple think of a funny moment they shared together, a favorite memory they have, or even by having them whisper something ridiculous to each other, such as a lame dad joke.
Whatever the approach you take to get a candid shot, the relaxed and genuine results you get are well worth it!
Photo by PeopleImages via iStock
Capturing the moment someone asks another person to marry them is a huge responsibility, and one that requires great skill on your part, not just as a photographer but also in terms of being sly about it.
To capture a photo like the one above without the woman knowing what was about to happen would necessitate you taking the shot from a distant location with a telephoto lens.
This isn't the easiest way to capture a portrait, but if you work with the person popping the question ahead of time, you can scout locations where you can be out of sight, but have a clear view of the spot where the question will be asked.
Photo by LaylaBird via iStock
Playing with the composition of the engagement photos you take enables you to find the best angles and perspectives to highlight the couple.
In the image above, for example, shooting up toward them from a low shooting position creates a sense of the couple being larger than life.
Also notice how the low perspective enabled the photographer to place the couple in front of the sky, rather than the structures in the background.
This helps separate the couple in the shot while also bringing in the brightness of the sky for a high-key portrait.
Family Photo Shoot
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Family photo shoots are a unique animal. Not only do you have to worry about more difficult posing scenarios, but you also have to worry about ensuring that each member of the family is looking at the camera, smiling, standing up straight, and so forth, and doing all of that at the same time.
If a family has young kids, these tasks become even more difficult.
With the family photo shoot ideas listed below, you'll get a few ideas for making the most of your next family portrait session.
Family Photo Shoot Ideas
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One of the best family photo shoot ideas I was ever given was to just let the interactions between the members of the family play out.
That is, rather than forcing everyone into a stiff pose, allow them some time to relax, to talk to one another, and to get comfortable in front of the camera.
Often, what I'll do is tell the family that I just need to test my camera settings before we get started. Then I'll take candid shots, which usually end up being some of the best of the bunch.
No one ever said a family photo shoot had to end with heavily posed portraits, so put your camera on burst mode and capture the genuine type of moments you see in the image above.
Photo by pixdeluxe via iStock
Going along with the candid family photo shoot tip above, try putting the family in their element for the purposes of the portrait.
Rather than having them come to your studio or taking them to the local park to take their photos, why not go to their turf to photograph them?
Not only might this help the subjects be more relaxed in front of the camera, but it also gives you an opportunity to highlight where this family is from and what they do in the image.
In the photo above, this farming family is simply walking through their fields, exploring the land that they cultivate. What a great way to make the family portrait more meaningful!
Photo by skynesher via iStock
Photo by skynesher via iStock
Photo by skynesher via iStock
A final family photo shoot tip to think about is to consider each photo as a part of a larger whole.
The series of images above shows this concept to perfection - each image tells a different part of the story, and while not each family photo might be able to stand on its own, as a collection of shots, it's quite compelling.
General Photo Shoot Ideas
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Obviously there are many other kinds of photo shoots than what is listed here. This is just a sampling, for sure.
But the photo shoot ideas outlined above don't just apply to these specific types of portraits.
The advice to compliment portrait subjects before a shoot will help build the confidence of the model whether they're a pregnant woman, a teenage boy, or something in between.
Photo by pixdeluxe via iStock
Likewise, the advice to capture candid moments doesn't have to be used only with families. Candid portraits of individuals, couples, and groups can be every bit as meaningful and compelling.
Photo by Kharchenko_irina7 via iStock
Thinking about the wardrobe the portrait subject will wear is good advice for all kinds of portraits, not just maternity portraits.
You get the idea...
No matter who you're photographing, approaching the photo shoot with a solid plan, plenty of ideas, and contingency plans in case something goes awry will help you ensure the success of each photo shoot.
Final Thoughts: Photo Shoot vs Photoshoot
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When planning a photo shoot of any type, it's necessary to think not just about posing, wardrobe, and other artistic elements, but also the technical elements too - things like camera settings for portraits, lighting setups, and how you'll process the images after the fact.
Taking beautiful portraits of any kind is a tall task that requires a lot of steps to be taken. But the more you practice, the more tutorials you read, and the more photos you take and critically evaluate, the better your photo shoots (or photoshoots!) will be.
Give the photo shoot ideas outlined in this tutorial a try, explore our portrait photography section for more tips, and practice what you learn so you build confidence behind the lens.