What is a Virtual Photo Shoot?

Catherine Tuckwell Personal Brand Photography virtual brand photo shoot from home

I used to wonder what a virtual photo shoot was myself.

I thought it had something to do with taking pictures of laptop screens during those online Zoom networking events, with everyone in their own little video window like Celebrity Squares.

“Hm, that doesn’t really appeal to my creativity,” I thought.

It was not until later that I realised what they actually were.

Basically, it’s a way for me to hold a shoot with you from anywhere in the world through our phone cameras. You can be in the comfort of your own home and I’ll be connected to you from mine. This is done either through FaceTime or a third-party app that works on both iOS and Android.

The three images of the ladies above were all taken by me. Gabriele, Sarah A and Sarah W were located in Wokingham, Devon and Chester, respectively.

I’ll work with you to come up with a location, props and ideas for a handful of images that will be taken with the camera on your phone. Only I’m the one pressing the shutter button. That way, you’re not restricted by the length of your arm trying to take selfies. And, like T. Rex, I have pitifully short arms.

It’s the ultimate in socially-distant photography! No worries about location, geography, travel, face masks, keeping a two-metre distance, hand sanitising or wiping everything afterwards…

There are some caveats, however.

Image Quality

The image quality depends on the age and capabilities of your camera phone. So they are ideal for social media posts, email newsletters, or placeholder images on your website.

Unless you have the latest iPhone or Samsung with a 12-megapixel front-facing camera, you probably won’t be able to print them out on fliers or leaflets.


We’ll choose one or two locations within your home for the session. Preferably somewhere with natural window light that doesn’t have the sun casting high contrast shadows, or too much background clutter.

So, how does it all work? Let’s take a look.

Before The Shoot

The first few minutes of the session are taken up by me directing you as to the best place to set your phone up. If you have the phone grip from a selfie stick and a tripod, great; if you don’t, don’t worry!

For the pinnacle of low-tech phone-holding equipment, all you need is a tin of beans or a jar, and a rubber band or hair-tie to secure it (I know, right, proper MacGyver style!). This way it’s simple for you to move and shift your phone without the need to buy extra stuff.

Ideally, you’ll need your phone to be placed at your eye level height, or just above it. You certainly don’t want it placed below this or you’ll end up with lots of images looking up your nostrils. Not a good look for anyone.

The Photo Shoot Itself

Once you have your phone set up in a good place, we can get creative and have some fun! Have a handful of props to hand that we can incorporate them into your images. For example your diary, pen, notebook, mug, as well as some business and hobby-related items.

I’ll direct you into different poses to give some variety – although I’m still getting the hang of switching my left and right with your left and right! Seriously thinking about sticking two post-it notes on both sides of my iMac screen to remind me which is which.

If we’re using FaceTime, you’ll be able to see me as well as yourself, and vice versa, but the images will be of a lower quality. However, if we use a third-party app like the one I’ve practiced with, it only lets the model see themselves and not the photographer, which can be a bit strange. The app’s advantage is that the images are better quality, so it depends which way you’d rather do it.

After the Photo Shoot

After only 30-45 minutes of shooting, you’ll have a set of fresh, new, on-brand images that you can use in your marketing. I’ll download, save and edit them as I would for a full face-to-face session, and get them sent over to you so that you can start using them straight away.

And we will have a lot of fun! The first time I tried a virtual photo shoot with another photographer so that we could try out the tech and get the hang of giving each other verbal directions, we laughed so much that my parents were wondering what all the noise coming from my box bedroom was about. On another, I almost set my hair on fire over a candle on my desk. Lockdown haircut due soon, I think.

To Sum Up…

Flammable hair aside, it’s the perfect way for you to stay top of mind as we move into the festive season. You can still show up consistently, confidently and professionally. You can still put yourself out there and market your business, even in these difficult times. People still have money to spend, and they want to spend it with local businesses.

Given how much I love the idea of hibernation over winter, I never thought I’d be saying this. Now is not the time to bury yourself in Netflix and ice cream, hoping it will all go away. Now is the time to remind everyone that you are still here, still working, and you can still help them.

Whether that’s through creating unique, handmade gifts, or offering a service to help with their business or their own self-confidence, it’s never been more important to remind people that you are still Open For Business.

So, if you would like to keep going, if you want to have one final push and try to make 2020 redeem itself in the last few weeks of the year, why not give me a shout to talk about a virtual photo shoot?

It gives you an excuse to get visible. It gives you a reason to put some pretty clothes on and do your hair nicely. Make it an event: pour yourself a mug of coffee or a glass of bubbles. Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place.

If you’d like to have a chat with me about a virtual photo shoot, please do book a free 1-2-1 consultation with me, and I’ll get you sorted out with some new brand images!