Need to find portrait shoot ideas: 7 places you might not think of

find portrait inspiration and ideas

As I sit on my phone, and randomly search the black abyss known as the internet, I realize that I do tons of research on portrait photography. I can’t help it.

I love to look up new gear and check out new photography online. Specifically, I am always looking for my next portrait shoot ideas and inspiration.

Find portrait shoot ideas

Now, as a professional creative, I’m used to doing research and finding ideas for my work so using this research skill for photography came easy to me.

I like to create mood boards for my portrait shoots to help my models understand the style and tone of the shoot that I‘m reaching for. This helps everyone on-site work towards a goal and keeps our eye on the prize.

If you’re interested in checking out how to create a mood board, make sure to check out my article here.

Where to look for portrait shoot ideas

When I search for inspiration and ideas, I tend to revisit the same places repeatedly and keep detailed notes from each place.

I created a small list of websites and apps that I use to find portrait shoot ideas and these are the first places I visit when I look around. Let’s check out my list below.

Find portrait photography ideas inspiration
Find portrait photography ideas inspiration on Pinterest

1) Using Pinterest for photoshoot ideas

Interest is my number one place for gathering portrait ideas for my photo shoots.

I love Pinterest and the ability to create and save boards for all types of concepts. I usually save photos that I like or styles that I find interesting into boards that I can review later.

Pinterest makes it easy to stay organized and create as many boards as I want.

I also share these boards with potential models, makeup artists and team members to give everyone a better idea of the concepts I have in mind.

Pinterest also lets you collaborate with the boards so you can have others add images to the same boards with any notes or ideas.

If you’ve never created a Pinterest account, you’re missing out.

You can do hashtag searches on the website and also do image searches to find similar results.

Pinterest can be used on desktop and on their mobile app. If you find yourself bored with not much to do, then jump into the app on your phone and build your mood boards.

2) Magazine inspiration for fashion shoot ideas

Is there a better place than high end fashion magazines to find portrait inspiration?

Yes, I still browse magazines at my local used bookstore, and I think you should too. I tend to visit used bookstores because they always have both new and old magazines.

I look through fashion magazines, music magazines, and others to help spark ideas. Don’t just browse the covers. Take some time and really dive into the main articles and see the creative photography and how they tell their story.

I don’t look for photography books or magazines as my only avenue of inspiration. I like to venture out and see what is happening in other industries and how they are breaking he mold with creative photoshoots.

I highly recommend music magazines. These are a great place for artistic portrait shoots and really cool inspiration.

Is instagram good for photographers
@jasonthecreative Instagram

3) Instagram & Facebook groups for portrait ideas

Instagram is a main source of inspiration for many photographers. With millions of users uploading content daily, it can be easy to get lost scrolling through your feed.

I look up popular hashtags to help me find cool trends and more ideas. I don’t always like to follow popular trends online, but it’s a good way to get inspired by the creative community.

I follow many photographers (of all experience levels) on social media so I’m constantly being fed new ideas in my timeline.

Now don’t get too invested in Instagram as it can be both good and bad for photographers.

Check out my article here where I explain both sides so you can decide for yourself.

Facebook groups are also a great place to find photography inspiration. You can join the thousands of creative groups or find local groups and see what other photographers are doing.

You can pretty much find groups for all types of styles. Just do a quick search in your app to find a match.

Just like Instagram, don’t get too caught up in the numbers if you’re posting your work. Check around for inspiration and don’t be afraid to ask questions to other photographers in the groups.

Fstoppers.com website
Fstoppers.com website

4) Photography blogs are a good place to use for inspiration

Fstoppers.com and PetaPixel.com are two of my favorite blogs that I visit on a regular basis for portrait inspiration.

They both provide great learning material for photographers of all levels, and they also have a great community and large forums for finding just what you need.

The photography can range from landscape, product and portrait photography but I always feel like it’s a good idea to study other genres of photography for learning purposes.

Check out the forums to find answers to your questions and make sure to check out all the user uploaded photography. They are constantly holding contests as well, and these are a perfect way to get inspired for your next shoot.

Photography blogs are a great way to find portrait inspiration, and industry leading blogs are a good place to start. I know there are thousands of other blogs on the internet, so just keep a running list and favorite the best so you can revisit them on a regular basis.

500px website
500px website

5) Online art communities for inspiration

500px.com and Behance.net are some of the largest communities I visit online for design and photography inspiration. There are a few others, but I would recommend starting with these two sites.

Behance.net is owned by Adobe and features work from creative professionals all over the world. It’s an amazing way to see what’s happening in the creative industry in general.

Creative professionals post projects ranging from graphic design, web design, and so much more. The photography section is a perfect place to find inspiration from popular and experienced artists in the industry.

You can start an account and save mood boards just like Pinterest.com. You can even start sharing your own photography on the site. It’s a good way to get feedback and grow your network.

500px is also a website dedicated to photography and digital imaging. It’s a great place to see the technical details of a photo uploaded by photographers. The site has undergone many changes over the years, but it’s still a good resource for portrait inspiration.

6) Movies and videos can bring you inspiration

Why settle for still imagery. Movies and TV shows area perfect place to find photography inspiration. From unique camera angles to color grading, watching movies from different genres can help spark that creative drive.

Look at the character outfits being professionally tailored. Look at the lighting in the different scenes and how it can set a mood for your portraits.

I recently finished binge-watching Altered Carbon on Netflix and was dying to do a futuristic shoot after the first episode. The neon lights and futuristic details gave me a huge boost of ideas.

Venture out and look at some historical films or classics. There is a reason many stay relevant even though they are older movies.

7) YouTube will always come in clutch for inspiration

Yes, I said YouTube is a good place for portrait inspiration. The website may be all videos and no photos, but the website has channels geared towards portrait photographers and content creators.

Check out the thousands of behind-the-scenes videos and how-to videos of photoshoots from photographers all over the world. They will breakdown every single little detail and you can’t help but get curious.

Study how they’re preparing for shoots and see if you’re missing a step in your own workflow.
YouTube is now the 2nd largest search engine in the world, so I am sure you can find the style or inspiration you’re looking for.

Photography Inspiration comes in all forms

Keep in mind you can find inspiration from all forms of media. My point is you don’t always have to stare at a screen to find cool concepts. Get out and look at the world around you.

Take a walk in a local park and maybe you will find a special location that has the perfect lighting but don’t get discouraged if you don’t find the inspiration you were looking for.

Remember photography and creative projects are always evolving with the times. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a perfect concept, but I have no doubt you will find some cool ideas.

*Affiliate Disclaimer - I am a proud partner of the various affiliate programs including the Amazon.com Affiliate Program. When you click on my links and make a purchase I make a commision which goes to helping me support this blog. Thanks!

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