Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Ten Minute Photo Shoot

I am a fan of most anything spontaneous, but when it came to doing a photo shoot in my friends living room I was a little nervous.  With little time to prep, no props, no lightning but natural light, and a bouncing three year old I wasn't sure I would be able to pull off decent photos, but let me tell you, it is possible and worked out better than any planned session ever could.  

Here's some advice to pull off an impromptu ten minute photo shoot.  Keep in mind, these are the type of sessions I love to do for friends and usually don't even charge a thing.  Its fun, quick, and great practice for the "real" sessions you spend days planning. 

1. Make sure your camera batter is charged and your memory card isn't full.

2.  Scout out sources of natural light (if you are inside). 

3.  Look around for any "props" that are nearby that would add to the photo.  This is an added benefit from being in the person's home.  You can use things that actually mean something to them.

4. Find a comfortable spot for your subjects to stand based on the best available light.  Ask them where they feel most comfortable.  Suggest somewhere without a busy background.  A wall or plain patterned curtain works great. 

5. Take some practice shots to adjust your camera settings according to the light.  If you are indoors you'll want a low aperture to let in the most amount of light possible.  Testing photos also allows you to determine if parts of the photo are over/under exposed due to the lighting in the room.  

6.  You're ready to begin your session!  All the above steps take about two minutes or less.  

7.  Remember to snap some full length photos and to take ones zoomed in on little details such as hands, faces, or any variation.  Using different perspectives will allow you a wider variety of photos to choose from in the end after such a short session.

8.  Keep to your time limit, that's the key. That's the point of this session.  Its impromptu and real. 

9. In the end you should aim to end up with around 5-10 keeper photos. 

These photos were the result of ten minutes in my friends living room.  Her adorable daughter quickly changed her clothes into a new outfit (as she loves to do anyway) while mom picked out a couple of shirts.  In the mean time I checked over my camera settings based on the lighting and then directed them into a couple of poses.  Of course her daughter just let her natural personality shine and I did my best to snap the shutter with her smiles. 

You don't have to be a pro to whip out your camera and capture incredible little  moments without preparation.  You just have to be brave enough to try it!  Ten Minute Sessions like this one are great confidence builders for budding photographers (including me!)  Find a willing friend or family member and give it a go. 


  1. Her little girl is so cute. I love the natural curiosity you captured in the first photo. That is not something that you can get in a professional studio!

  2. Great shots! I love the idea of such a quick shoot, especially kids. Then you can caturemuch more candid, real pictures that are qualityas well.

  3. Oh my goodness! These are great. Love the one of her belly and the tiny shoes. Precious!

  4. Love this! Outstanding photos, Jen!


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