Sometimes when you scroll through social media, you get the feeling that you have seen it all before, the same locations and the same boring poses. The reason it all seems the same is that people often share a lot of very basic photos. So how do you stand out and show off your creative spirit? I’m here to share with you ten different social media photoshoot ideas and how you can easily create them.
1. Tunnel Vision
This picture has such a big wow effect that it’s hard to believe that it is super easy to create. I saw the idea for this one floating around Tik Tok a while back and thought it was a genius idea! All you do is take a sheet of paper with printed words on it and roll it up into a tube. The paper could be any kind, newspaper, old book paper, magazine, sheet music – whatever you want it to be! Pose yourself on one end of the tube and set up the camera on the other side – and that’s it – you have a great shot.
One thing I would suggest is that you will want to be the highlight of the picture, so put yourself in front of a window or any lit-up area so you come out nice and bright. Not only is the picture creatively mesmerizing but you are the center of the focus in this photo.
2. Magazine Frenzy
This is a classic that everyone has seen at least once! The beauty of it is that it does not go out of style and it can be done in so many different ways. Personally, this photoshoot was a love project for me. When I created this, I had just started experimenting with photography and editing. My husband had a giant stack of old National Geographic magazines that were going to be recycled so I decided to use them for one last project. I took one magazine that was falling apart and stuck its pages all over the walls using tape and the rest of the magazines were laid out on the floor.
During the set up it was really interesting to look at the different magazines that are released over the years, many start with significant historical moments or scientific discoveries. The photoshoot turned out to be a great homage to National Geographic magazines, looking super cool because of the distinct vibrant colors that are unique to National Geographic, really making the viewer feel the magic of the magazine.
3. Polaroid Squares
This was also a very easy project that I did with my sister that truly anyone can do. We picked a grassy park as the location to capture the spring in full bloom. For the polaroids, we cut out squares in rectangular pieces of paper. When taking the pictures we positioned them over the part of our faces and then edited the squares to stand out from the rest of the picture post-production in Photoshop.
It was so hard to choose between what kind of filters we wanted to apply to our faces; there are hundreds of ways you can do it, from simple black and white, light tint, to even a pencil-drawn cartoon. My sister decided to go with a very black and white kind of look, and I went for a more subtle look, both turned out awesome. To this day both of these pictures have had the highest performance on our Instagram pages. Though this requires a few advanced techniques it’s of those photoshoot ideas that people will truly appreciate.
4. Time to read
The next of my photoshoot ideas is a giant book frame, again focusing your attention on the center. If you are a book lover this is also an easy idea to give your books a special moment and make them seem like another world. Let me tell you though, that setting up those books was incredibly hard because they kept falling down, especially where the circle comes together as a bridge at the top. Not only are you fighting gravity but also need to keep the symmetry of the circle using very different shapes and sizes of books. It took me a couple of hours just to get it right.
My picture is not the only way to do it! You can make this much easier but laying them out on the floor in stacks or even opening V’s to create any shape you want. Either way, this is definitely an eye-catching photo for your social media audience to see.
5. Flower Queen
This next photo idea is a very iconic one because a lot of people like flowers and they tend to take a lot of pictures with them. You could create a whole entire album dedicated to every kind of flower there is, embodying each one’s energy and beauty. As an idea, you can plan a shoot in the spring and photograph all the way to late fall featuring seasonal plants. In the spring you’ll easily find tulips, daffodils, and different pink and white flowers on trees to take photos with.
In the summer you’ll find a lot of wildflowers (lavender, poppies, daisies) and roses that are blooming everywhere you go. And then in the fall, you’ll see very classy favorite photos of people with sunflowers. The key to these pictures is to interact with the surrounding nature and try to blend in. So you might want to match your outfit to the flowers that you’re taking to become one with the environment, doing this alone will help you go from a very basic photo to a very creatively composed photo.
6. Fruit & Vegetable Props
Just use vegetable or fruit props or any other kinds of objects for this one! When I took this there was a trend on TikTok where people were carving pumpkins and putting them over their heads. At the time of the trend, I thought I could stand out a little bit and use the tiniest pumpkin I could find and the pictures turned out just as effective. But really why stop there, when there are so many other objects to experiment with?
Another variation of this photo idea is to cut a fruit in half and hold it over a small area of your body to reveal the intricate pattern inside the fruit. The fruit could be any kind – oranges, pineapples, coconuts, or even watermelons. You could get really creative and come up with many photoshoot ideas playing out by the season, I did this in the fall so that is why pumpkins were the main theme.
7. Sweet Car Ride
This has to be my top favorite and most fun of photoshoot ideas to create because it is so simple but so unusually creative by using an object in a totally new way. For this picture, I knew I had to get a cool background in so saved it for when we were going to the Smoky Mountains to really show off a cool esthetic travel destination. We parked the car in a lot of places and tried out a whole bunch of shots until we got the perfect one. Pro tip: The photographer has to be able to get higher than the subject otherwise you sacrifice seeing the beautiful background or the person in the shot.
So choose the location wisely or use a chair, step stool anything you have on hand to get the camera higher. Be careful too when getting up in the car because the funny thing with this, is if you sit in your car a little too hard, the top of the roof may cave in so be cautious!
8. Engage with the environment
My next picture idea is to become your environment. Here I have just two examples but really there is no limit to them. The one on the left was taken in Italy with a quick iPhone shot, and it’s perfect as there is not much you really need – just copy exactly what the statue is doing! The other picture was taken in Arizona and you do have to get a bit more creative, think about the surroundings, and ask yourself what makes them unique and how do I show that.
Once you have the idea just go for it! Any silly pose will be much more interesting than a basic one and really speak to the viewer about your take on the setting.
9. Light and Dark
The next idea is to play with shadows and lights, do I even need to say that there is countless way to do this one too, it’s an amazing concept suitable for any setting. The star photo was actually very difficult to create just because there was a lot of holding going on there. You have to hold the camera, you have to hold your hair, and the actual items that create the shadows.
The way I got the stars was to cut out small shapes on a poster board or a piece of paper (I recommend a poster board just because it’s less flimsy than a piece of paper). Then go to a sunny location or area where you can block a portion of the light and that’s it! To simplify you can grab any object that already has a pattern of holes in it to get a slightly different effect (think about a strainer, palm leaves, or a lace scarf). Alternatively, you can try inverting the effect by focusing on shadows instead of lights. Any way you do it you’re guaranteed to get a great and interesting result!
10. Etherial Window
The last of my photoshoot ideas that I have is a photo near a window. Windows are a photographer’s favorite palace to take photos of because it’s a great source of natural light that can even have a very ethereal and very light kind of beautiful royal look. I think that Windows created a lot of just beautiful, beautiful lighting. For a portrait focus on shooting about the shoulders and make sure you have some light curtains to help diffuse the light evenly. Curtain alone will create stunning royal.
11. Color blocking (Bonus!)
Find a colorful area (flowers would be my go-to) and take pictures with a paintbrush. Then create a few layers in Photoshop and make certain areas of the picture black and white, creating the effect of you painting color onto the plants!
12. In Focus (Bonus!)
You’ve seen these before, and boy do they look impressive every time! Hold something in front of you and make sure that your face or background is blurred – and that’s it you’ve got yourself a pretty cool picture!
13. Make a Splash (Bonus!)
Whether it’s water, sand, or snow you can always make a powerful splash with your you scroll-stopping image! Believe it or not, this pure white “sand” is actually gypsum in White Sands National Park, NM, that looks just like snow. If you’re driving to or through Arizona or New Mexico, it’s a cool driving stop make stretch your legs, sled down hills of pure whiteness, and take amazing photos.
14. Coffee Date (Bonus)
Love coffee (or tea)? Head to your local coffee shop with big windows to take a dreamy photo from the outside. Be careful of the light glare of the window as it sometimes catches the reflection of something distracting in the background. It may take quite a few tries to get the positioning just right for the perfect cozy photo.
Creative Photoshoot Ideas, Conclusion
So those are your 10 photoshoot ideas (with bonuses) perfect for influencers, content creators, and anyone learning photography or learning how to pose. The cool thing is that you can always make them uniquely your own by switching out the environment, props, and setups. No two photos with a similar concept will look the same even if it’s done but one person on the same day so don’t worry about taking inspiration from these and coming up with something that resonates with you!
I have so many more plans to create and share and I can’t wait to do so – so stay tuned to my social media accounts and blogs for more content like this.
Hi! I'm Mariya Maximtsev - a published Chicagoland portrait photographer. I love taking pictures of amazing families, and creating custom sessions for women and business owners!