How to organise a photo shoot abroad

How to organise a photo shoot abroad is one of the most asked questions since my photo trip to Portugal last February. I was booking flights two weeks before leaving, being super spontaneous and ready for an adventure. It was inbetween a lot of Uni work and other tasks that I had to complete before going on that holiday when I had to organise various photo shoots. You may wonder how it is possible to do photo shoots in another country. Somewhere you have never been to and you know nobody. The answer to that question is super easy. The internet. The internet allows us to connect with every possible human on that earth. The challenge is how to get in contact with them.

Before you start packing your bags and going on that plane to travel to your dream destination. Make yourself clear that it will include a little bit of work before the photo shoots. But no worries, I will give you the best tipps to make your photo shoots happen abroad.

I. Vision

First of all set yourself a goal. What kind of photo shoot do you want to do and how would you like the final pictures to turn out to? Think of the kind of model you would like to take pictures of, the scenery and the clothes. Go on pinterest and collect inspiration images and put together a moodboard. You will also need this later on, when you reach out to other people you would like to work with. Here is the board I drew together before travelling to Portugal.

II. Location

Now this can be a bit tricky. If you have never been to that place and you do not know anyone there, it is important that you have set a clear vision about the location. Will there be a beach, an interesting monument, that could be used as a background or a wonderful nature park? One way to find locations is to simply have a look on Google Maps. I was looking for beaches near Lisboa when planning my photo shoots and so I simply googled for beaches to shoot at. Google is full of pictures and it is easy to get an impression of what it may look like.

When I found an image of the beach near Lisboa I sent it to the local make-up-artist I was going to work with. She knew exactly where the place was and even drove us there with her car. Speaking of which, also do some research on how to get to the specific locations in advance. Is it accessible by train, bus or do you have to rent a car?


Depending on your vision, you will need more or less people to produce your photo series. The search for a model is inevitable. There are various ways to find the perfect model. When I travelled to Portugal I did three photo shoots and for each photo shoot I found the model through a different way.

The first option is to do a Model-Call in various Facebook groups. Search for groups that are based in the country or city where you plan to go to. Keep in mind that people who may react to your call may be not professional models but just starting out. Keep in mind that they may not have a lot of experience and will be a little bit difficult to work with. Though, I also have to say that I have worked with a lot of young women never done a photo shoot before but being wonderful and the most natural in front of the camera.

The second option to find models is to search on platforms like Model Mayham or Modelkartei. Look through the different profiles and send the ones that suit your style a message.

Now, my favourite way to look for a creative team is to use Instagram. Use hashtags like #modelyourlocation, #modelcountry, #makeupartistcountry/city, etc. Also I was searching for the location and then simply scrolling through the pictures and discovering various accounts of people that I found that would look beautiful in my pictures. You can also look for stylists, assistants, etc. Depending on your photo shoot you will need different people to work with.

The last thing to do is to send out your portfolio to local model agencies and ask to do a test shoot with new faces. If you are just starting out with photography, this may be very difficult as long as you have not build your portfolio yet.

IV. Message

The most important thing now is to send a nice message to everyone you would like to work with. Be sure about all the details before reaching out to anyone. Where will the shoot take place? At what time? What does the model/make-up artist have to bring? How long will the shoot take? And do not forget to send out your portfolio and the moods so all the people included will immediately know what you are up to and what your style is like.


V. Conclusion

It may take dozens of emails, messages and DMs to finally get enough people to turn your dream photo shoot into reality. Do not be upset, if people do not answer and do not take it personally. Make sure you have a great mood board and include all important details. Do not let people wait too long for replies and keep in mind that planning is the key to a successful photo shoot.

Now go out and plan your photo trip to another country. And if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!


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