20 Studio Photoshoot Ideas for Products, People, and Pets

Editor’s Key Takeaways: Top 20 Creative Studio Photoshoot Ideas

Woman in the dark holding an illuminated neon ring on her head.

This blog post from Anabel presents intriguing ideas for studio photoshoots, encompassing product photography, pet portraits, and more.

  • Studio Photoshoot Ideas: Explore diverse still life and product setups, from creative use of apple boxes to dramatic all-black sets.
  • Using Apple Boxes: Enhance composition and interaction by varying levels in your setup.
  • Total Blackout: Capture products on a black background with a rim lighting technique for added depth and separation.

By mastering these techniques, photographers can maximize their studio’s potential and create standout images for any purpose.

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Studio photography opens up endless possibilities. While some try to capture traditional images with their studio kit, others seek more unusual shots.

Here are our top 20 studio photoshoot ideas, including options for product photography, pet photography, and portrait photography!

Still Life and Product Ideas

Need some studio product photography ideas? We’ve got you covered!

1. Use Apple Boxes to Play with Levels 

Great composition leads the eye around the frame and encourages the viewer to interact with the art piece. This concept rings true in painting, watercolor, and photography! A great way to capture products and still have an interactive experience with the audience is by using levels. 

“Apple box” is the name given to a studio box that serves a large variety of purposes. Most often made of wood, apple boxes can help adjust a subject’s position, balance equipment, and so much more. Or you can use the apple boxes as an additional compositional element!

2. Total Blackout 

Most products tend to be captured on a plain white background so that the company is able to list them on Amazon, Walmart, and other marketplaces. But when capturing products from an editorial and commercial perspective, you want an image that really grabs the viewer’s attention. One way to achieve this is to shoot a product using an all-black set! 

The key to this type of photography is to use your studio lighting to create a rim around the subject. You have to make sure there is a clear separation from that all-black studio setup!

My recommendation? Use a triangle arrangement: one light in front of the subject, and two lights on either corner behind the subject. The light in front should be aimed directly at the subject, but the back lights should be turned at 90-degree angles toward each corner of the subject to create a rim effect. 

3. Tell a Story, Set the Scene

Studio photography gives you the luxury of a controlled environment. Part of what makes that so great is the blank canvas that you can build into whatever you want!

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So when shooting products, see if you can create an entire storytelling scene within your creative space. Add props, backdrop colors, and so much more!

4. Bold, Bold, and Did We Say Bold? 

Don’t be afraid to play with color. Studio backdrops come in a vast array of incredible shades! Be bold, be loud, and take advantage of the opportunity! 

Just remember to be careful as you don’t want the boldness of the background color to take away from the product.

5. Use Hands 

In product photography, the hands can have a really big impact. Hands add a very humanistic element to shots and show that the products really do have an honest use. Plus, hands make for a fantastic compositional element by adding movement to a shot that would otherwise feel boring.

Remember: Photography is static and comes with no context, so you have to add movement and life to the story on your own!

Portrait Ideas

Looking to capture stunning portraits? Our studio portrait photoshoot ideas are guaranteed to get you amazing shots!

6. Bold (Again)

Boldness in portrait photography is exquisite! Use bright yellows (for example) to really make your subject pop off the background.

A key studio photography tip is to illuminate your subject and the background independently from one another. Although this requires more lighting units, it makes a massive impact as you can suddenly achieve great contrast between each aspect of the image. Plus, the background always needs to be lit differently from the subject (what is flattering for a subject may not be flattering for a backdrop!).

7. Beauty Portrait

Especially popular thanks to the rise of social media (and social media influencers), the classic beauty portrait is a must-have for every studio portrait shoot. However, instead of approaching this idea from a traditional perspective, play around with angles and expressions that aren’t as common. Change the background into a color that you may not often encounter, and make sure it complements your subject’s style!

8. Gel Lighting 

While most approach studio lighting with traditional white lights, you can add a creative touch with flash gels! Gels are filters that are attached to lighting units in order to change the output color. Play around with traditional lighting arrangements (such as butterfly lighting), but use that gel to turn the lights different colors! Try to add complementary colors that work beautifully together. 

These days, there are also LED tubes and panels that can change into colors on the RGB scale; they’re a good alternative to typical gel filters.

9. Use a Projector

If you’re looking for ideas to add some real dramatic interest, you can use a projector to shine whatever you want onto the wall of the photography studio! Projectors do require controlled environments such as studios to function well, so this is a great opportunity to engage in some multimedia creativity. 

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Make sure to set your shutter speed slow enough to keep the projection looking good; sometimes shutters are faster than the projection speed and you can end up with unwanted banding effects. 

10. The Renaissance Portrait

The Renaissance style has been coming back over the last few years. Portraits are suddenly shot and edited to reference traditional painters such as Michelangelo, Caravaggio, and da Vinci.

Softer lighting, softer skin, earthy tones, and lots of drapery tend to be the common characteristics of these painterly images.

11. Emotive Fabric 

Fabric has long been an asset to photographers as it can add texture and emotion to an image. Try draping your subject in a textured fabric and illuminating from the top to create a flowing image with lots of depth. Add in some black and white or monochromatic colors, and you’ll have a recipe for a true fine-art piece.

12. Glitter!

Glitter sparkles so brilliantly under studio lighting, especially when you’re able to adjust the lights to achieve that perfect twinkle. Combining gels with glitter can create an even more aesthetic image! Just make sure to use skin-safe glitter (not craft glitter) before photographing.

13. Shoot Through Objects

There are various items and objects you can place close to your lens to alter the final result. This is especially effective when using lenses with a wide maximum aperture as they’ll make your foreground object blur into a beautiful texture or wash of color.

Try shooting through crystals, flowers, feathers, and more!

14. Bubbles! 

Bring back childhood memories by using bubbles in the studio! You can illuminate the bubbles in whatever way you wish. Let your model play with the bubbles, and capture them as they do!

15. Light Tubes

Light tubes are the newest big photographic trend; they’re LED wands that can be arranged in whatever pattern you wish. These wands are pretty lightweight and can be fastened to a wall without too much hassle. Entire photo studio rentals have begun building businesses around light bars on walls!

Pet Portrait Ideas

Capture beautiful images of your furry friend with these pet photography studio photoshoot ideas:

16. Catching Treats 

The photo studio offers a perfect environment to capture action photography without having to deal with the outside world! A popular action shot for dogs involves the treat capture. Pet owners adore these quirky images of their best friends in action. 

Although continuous lighting can be used for treat-capture shots, the output of these lights isn’t as bright as a flash. Look into using flashes or strobes for these action images and utilize high-speed sync for the best results.

17. Go for Drama

Did you know that animal photography looks just as great with dramatic lighting as human portrait photography? Implement the same techniques you would use for a person and see the magical images you can create! Unlike people, animals tend to have only good sides and they won’t judge your choices, so you can really explore the potential for beautiful drama.

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Play with shadows, hiding parts of the body, and accentuating the texture of the fur. A darker background will create an even more dramatic result. Just make sure you do what you can to make the animal pop off the background so that the shot doesn’t end up looking flat!

18. Use Character Props 

Do you have a tolerant four-legged subject? Consider turning them into animal actors! Dress them up in iconic character garb and/or place them in a scene from your favorite movie.

Just make sure to offer a lot of positive reinforcement and rewards.

19. Happy Smiles 

Focus on photographing the happy personalities of our furry family members; these shots will offer the most sentimental value to the people who love them. 

The key is to make the studio space as positive an experience as possible for the animals. Dogs, cats, and even parrots react to good experiences, and it’ll shape their perception of the space. Offer lots of fun times and you’ll get those smiles you’re after! 

20. Ring Light 

Ring lights are fun pieces of studio equipment and are quite popular among beauty bloggers and makeup gurus. But there are many ways to photograph with a ring light that may not come immediately to mind, such as ring-lit pet photography!

A ring light can be used as an obstacle for pets to walk through. They can even stick their heads through it! Alternatively, you can use a ring light to light up their eyes and create beautiful catchlights.

Enjoy Your Studio Photoshoot with These Creative Ideas!

We hope these 20 studio photoshoot ideas inspire you to think outside of the box. So have fun! And explore your creativity!

About the Author
Anabel author

Anabel DFlux is a published photographer in the sunny states of California & Nevada, known for a vast array of photographic work. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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