How to Reduce Stress and Increase Creativity Before a Photo Shoot

Being a professional creative means that you don’t always (ever) have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. It means you have to create your work, on demand, regardless of the circumstances. Building practices to help reduce your stress and increase your creativity before a photoshoot will make creativity less illusive.

Creativity is a practice, meaning you have to practice being creative rather than just hope for it. The more you practice your creativity the more access to it you’ll have. And sometimes it’s important to remove obstacles before you’re able to practice your creativity.

First, it’s important to pay attention to what helps and what hinders your creativity. Staying organized will help you focus on being creative rather than getting bogged down in the logistics of a photo shoot. And once you’ve done what you can to reduce stress, you can take the rest of your nerves and view them as excitement instead of fear.

Know What Helps and What Hinders Your Creativity

Let’s start with discovering what helps and what hinders your creativity. What helps you get into the creative zone and what makes it impossible for you to feel creative? Knowing the things that help and hinder your work will help you build practices to enhance your creativity.

Say you start paying attention or even think back on your past few photoshoots, you might start to notice some patterns. For me, I’m more creative if I feel connected to my clients so I’ve learned to spend some time in the beginning feeling connected and getting comfortable. Knowing what I know about myself, I’ve created a system where I have space to warm up and get comfortable which seems to actually work well for my clients too so that what might start out awkward turns into magic by the end.

Alternatively, I know that I can’t focus on being creative if I’m running late or struggling with something technical. Therefore, it’s become a practice to make sure I’m always early and the gear is always ready. What are things that help or hinder you and what is a practice that you can try as a result?

Create Systems and Practices to Reduce Stress

Let’s talk through a few systems and practices that might help you reduce pre-photoshoot stress. If you’re worried that your clients won’t show up, send a confirmation e-mail the day before the photoshoot. Or if you’re stressed because you’ve never been to the shoot location scout it ahead of time or show up early to give yourself time.

Maybe you’re always stressed about posing so you decide to take a posing course online. Or if you just don’t know how to get in the zone, try making a pre-photoshoot playlist filled with songs that pump you up, relax you, or inspire you. Pack snacks, water, and other things that might help you be more prepared for anything and everything.

It might be the case that your stress comes from another area of your business and you need to raise your prices or find a different type of client. Do you need to adjust your expectations and boundaries or change how you set your client’s expectations?

Stay Organized and Make Room for Creativity

Regardless of what you said in the help and hinder section, I believe that staying organized is one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for creative success. If you’re too frazzled and disorganized your brain won’t have space for inspiration. If you’re so organized and have systems to help you accomplish your goals, you’ll free up mental space for creativity.

Creative ideas don’t come to us when we’re busy and overstretched. Creative ideas come in the shower, out on a walk, or while doing a mindless repetitive task. The more organized you can be with systems in place to prepare for a shoot, the better.

Maybe that means you need a pre-photoshoot checklist, maybe that means you need to simplify your gear and bring less stuff to distract you, or perhaps you need some prompts that you use to get going. Organization might mean different things for different people; you might need rigid systems while someone else just needs a basic outline. Either way, find ways to reduce chaos by increasing organization whether it’s how you handle logistics or cleaning your gear or your shooting process itself.

View Nerves as Excitement Instead of Fear

You’re organized, you’re chaos free, and you’ve set up practices to help you tap into your creativity. But somehow you still feel nervous before a photoshoot. Don’t worry, that’s actually a great thing.

Once you have a plan and know your routine, the nerves are no longer about whether or not you’re prepared for the session. Instead, those nerves are actually excitement, which is a good thing. Wanting to do a good job and feeling a bit of pressure aren’t bad things, they can be fuel for creativity.

Switching your perspective at this point can be the final tweak you need to make to turn your stress into excitement. Take time to recognize the feeling rather than push it down. If you’ve followed the advice above then you’re early for the shoot, you have all the gear ready to go, your plan for the shoot is flawless, and you know that there’s nothing to stress about.

Go Do What You Love and Have a Great Photoshoot

Now, you realize, that emotion you’re feeling isn’t actually stress but the excitement of getting to do something you love. Creativity is waiting for you to try something new and create space for it. Hopefully, the tips above helped you identify why you’re stressed and transform it into fuel.

If you didn’t already, take the time to actually start thinking through what helps and what hinders your creativity. Write it all down, now, this article will wait. Then, set up systems and practices and organization to help reduce the stresses, then pay attention to your emotions.

Right now, what are you feeling, fear or excitement? Take the steps toward a more creative future on your next photoshoot! I can’t wait to hear how it goes and what tools you used to reduce stress for a more creative photoshoot.

About the author: Brenda Bergreen is a Colorado wedding photographer, videographer, yoga teacher, and writer who works alongside her husband at Bergreen Photography. With their mission and mantra “love. adventurously.” they are dedicated to telling adventurous stories in beautiful places.