Ally Frances Photo

January 19, 2022

How to Create a Styled Shoot With a Limited Budget

I have a passion for vintage aesthetics. I dreamt of bringing a styled shoot to life of an old timey scene with a snazzy couple. A month ago, I did not have a crazy budget to use for a styled shoot. I also just arrived to Tampa so I did not have many connections with people in the area.

I met a few models after going to a photography meet up in Tampa. I also started meeting people through my close friend Karim (follow his stunning work @ramediaa) through group gatherings. I decided to ask one of the male models and a friend of a friend to be my couple for the photoshoot. They said yes!

Further, I found an abandoned cigar factory when I was driving through Tampa and had the epiphany. I decided to bring my idea to life and conduct the photoshoot in front of that very cigar factory. The first step to my styled shoot was picking the location. Once I had the location done, I needed to find outfits for my models that would fit the vibe I was going for. Lucky me, my female model already had the red jacket, pants, and belt to wear. We then went thrifting to complete the outfit. We found her pearl clip-on earrings, a pearl necklace, and the FINAL TOUCH of the white gloves. We pieced it all together to create the exact old timey look that I wanted. I spent a total of $23 at the thrift store for the accessories.

As for the male model, I got lucky again because he already had a gray suit with a red tie. For his accessories, I insisted on a cigar. He loved the idea and he already had the cigars too! We were able to get things ready fairly quickly. Both outfits were ready to go at a very very low cost. I used every resource that we all had combined and it worked out perfectly.

After I had the models, location, outfits, and accessories, I needed to think of the exact shots, angles, and poses I wanted to make it all come together. I imagined how an emphasis on the cigar would help the look, a close up on the gloves, and details of the outfits.

Once I finish that, I conduct the shoot itself. We went to the cigar factory.

An unexpected bump in the road happened, there was a stray pit bull dog guarding the factory. The pit bull was getting closer and closer to us and barking. I had to think on my feet to make sure we could keep a safe distance from the dog and still get the shots we needed. We went to the very front by the sidewalk. There was a foot high wall between us on the sidewalk and the large area in front of the factory where the pit bull wandered. We stayed in front of the wall the whole time and did not have any problems.

You can see in the photo that the models are leaning on this wall. It actually ended up adding something and looks even better with the wall in it. Never panic and become frozen, think on your feet in the moment and simply work with what you have.

That is my recipe for a styled shoot on a limited budget. Do not be discouraged if you are a beginner photographer and want to create. You can create the visions you have if you try your hardest to bring your resources together. Do not be afraid to ask for help too. I am not the best at thrifting so I went with my female model Giuliana. She helped me so much and she was the one who found the white gloves. I was ecstatic!

I hope this is inspiration for the photographers out there who have been wanting to create something new but felt they were not prepared! Make yourself prepared and use what you have! Don’t wait for the right time because the right time is now to bring your visions to life.

Thank you so much for reading!

Ally Coghlan

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