Self-Portrait Project

9 lessons

Test Shots

In this lesson, you will test shoot your ideas and finalise planning for shoots.

Lesson menu


  • Successfully plan a photographic shoot, considering and understanding all aspects/ outcomes.
  • Test out any ideas/techniques/styles you are unsure about before shoot.


  • Workbook

Guiding questions

Think about these questions as you work your way through the lesson:

  • Will over-planning LIMIT your creativity during the shoot? 
  • Will thorough planning help GUIDE your creativity during the shoot? 

Figure out what level of planning realistically suits you.

Lesson content

  1. Now you have your ideas sorted, it’s time to plan your shoot. Being an organised person, I like to make lists of what I need for each shoot. However, a lot of photographers prefer to go with the flow. It’s up to you how you work! Some people also like to do test shoots, just to quickly test out if an idea is going to work as they anticipated. This can be useful, however, if you are on a tight timeframe, it may not be necessary. 

    When planning a shoot there are a few important things to think about:


    If you are planning on using props in your shoots, it is important to give yourself time to source these. Good props can make a real difference, especially if it’s a key feature in your photograph. 


    Depending on the type of photos you want to take, the equipment can be minimal. It also depends on where you are shooting. Are you in a studio or on location? Either way, you will need a DSLR camera of your choice (figuring out the self-timer function is a good hack for self-portraiture). Other helpful equipment includes portable lighting, reflectors, diffusers, specific lenses, etc.     


    If location is important for your project, location scouting is going to be vital. Visiting a few locations and figuring out the logistics and lighting intricacies. Also making sure the places you are shooting at are public property and you are allowed to be there. Alternatively, if you wish to shoot in a studio space (or a makeshift studio) figure out where you could do this and what it requires. Once you have decided on a location, make yourself familiar with it to avoid any surprises on the day of the shoot. 


    Having an assistant(s) when shooting self-portraits is pretty essential. From pressing the shutter to holding reflectors, assistants can help a shoot run more efficiently. Think of yourself as the photographer and creative director, make sure you communicate your ideas and vision with your assistant before your shoot so you are both on the same page. 

    Lesson content

    'Untitled', Anjuli Selvadurai 2019


  1. 1

    Plan shoot (using a workbook to write notes and checklists)


    Plans can be quick - they just need to be helpful

  2. 2

    Test any techniques or equipment before your shoot


    Testing is super important

Tips & tricks

  • Start to think about the potential output for your work (and how this will affect the planning of your project from here on)
  • I do quick drawings of what I want the photo to look like. This makes it easier to try to recreate exactly what you envision

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