10 Iconic Photo Shoots to Inspire Your Shoot

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Whether this is your first photo shoot or your 100th, it can be hard to know what to expect when you come in and can be difficult finding inspiration for styling your shoot. We picked 10 of the most iconic photo shoots of all time to help you plan your shoot.

By Monique Courtney

10. The Power of the White Shirt, by Peter Lindbergh

Shot in 1988, this shoot featured six supermodels—Estelle Lefébure, Karen Alexander, Rachel Williams, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, and Christy Turlington—standing on a beach wearing nothing but white men’s dress shirts, their hair in loose, effortless buns. Lindbergh even claims that nothing in the photo was retouched. In the 1980s, magazines were all about glitz and glamour; when it was submitted for publication, the photo was turned down immediately. But soon enough, it became one of the most iconic photo shoots in the world; it was a testament to the power of simplicity.

How to channel this in your shoot: not everything has to be bold and over the top! Sometimes a simple look is the most striking.

Image Source: huxleyparlour.com

9. Owen Bruce for Elle Canada

In September 2015, photographer Owen Bruce produced an amazing, whimsical editorial spread, featuring tea parties, balloons, flowers and bright colours. It looks as though it’s straight out of a children’s book—a little bit magical and completely fantastical!

How to channel this in your shoot: experiment with a mix of different colours, textures, patterns, and accessories in your outfits. Bring in cute props like teacups, picnic sets, balloons, and streamers.

Image Source: Pinterest

8. Nykhor In Bloom

Kasia Bielska shot model Nykhor Paul for The Lab Magazine in 2014 and produced some of the most striking photos we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Each photo has a monochromatic, simplistic vibe and the look is absolutely timeless.

How to channel this in your shoot: try out a monochrome outfit—pick your favourite colour and style your shoot around it.

Image Source: Pinterest
Image Source: Pinterest

7. Steven Klein for Vogue

In November 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and in a period of intense American patriotism, Steven Klein produced an editorial shoot filled with US pride. Every photo featured the star-spangled banner and red-white-and-blue. The photos are beautiful and still relevant today.

How to channel this in your shoot: where do you call home? Represent your home town or country in your shoot, whether with flags, colours, traditional dress, or props!

Image Source: Pinterest

6. Anna Wintour’s first Vogue cover

Renowned Vogue editor Anna Wintour styled her first magazine cover in November of 1988. The cover featured model Michaela Bercu and was shot with a street-style vibe instead of an editorial feel. This was revolutionary for Vogue; before this, Vogue covers always featured celebrities, not models, and were always shot in an editorial style. To add fuel to the fire, Bercu was too large to fit into the suit pants that were intended to be featured on the cover—instead, she wore jeans! This photo became one of the most talked-about photos of its time, making it iconic (so iconic, in fact, that Gigi Hadid recreated it in 2014!).

How to channel this in your shoot: not every photo has to be planned and posed! Sometimes the candid, street-style-type photos are the most stunning. And don’t worry if everything you’ve planned doesn’t work out for you—your shoot will still end up being fabulous.

Image Source: Fashionista

5. Alice in Wonderland, by Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz reimagined Alice in Wonderland for Vogue in December 2003. The result was a chic and modern feel with hints of whimsy and romance. The model was dressed by the world’s top designers and so each photo in the spread had a slightly different feel, making for one of the most iconic photo shoots of this century.

How to channel this in your shoot: reimagine your favourite story or fairy tale. Make it as modern or as fanciful as you like—and don’t forget to include some props!

Image Source: Vogue

4. Kate Moss on the cover of Vogue

Kate Moss is one of the most famous supermodels of all time, so it’s only fitting that her first Vogue cover is one of the most iconic photo shoots of all time. Moss was 19 years old when she appeared of the cover of British Vogue in March, 1993. Her wide eyes, plump lips, and fresh face that are seen on this cover earned her the title of “the face of London Style”.

How to channel this in your shoot: it’s not always about crazy outfits or bright colours or fun props; all you need for a beautiful photo is your gorgeous face. Just be you!

Image Source: vogue.co.uk

3. ESPN Body Issue

Each year, ESPN releases an edition of its magazine, titled The Body Issue. This magazine features professional athletes posing nude, showing off their amazing physiques and source of strength and power. The Body Issue is proof that nude photos don’t need to be risqué or hyper-sexualised; they can be beautiful and empowering.

How to channel this in your shoot: strip it down and go nude—every body is beautiful and deserves to be shown off.

Image Source: ESPN.com

2. Le Smoking, by Helmut Newton

In 1966, Helmut Newton captured a woman wearing a clean-cut tuxedo, standing alone in a street, smoking a cigarette. This photo made massive waves in popular culture, as women were not often seen wearing suits and tuxedos. It is a beautiful exploration of femininity and proves that you don’t have to play into gender norms to look amazing!

How to channel this in your shoot: reinvent what it means to be a man or a woman. You don’t need to stick to traditional gender roles and norms. Think outside the box!

Image Source: Icon-Icon

1. Twiggy, by Barry Lategan

This is hands down one of the most iconic photo shoots ever and one of the most recognisable photos. Barry Lategan shot Twiggy in 1966 when she was just 17 years old. Lategan says of Twiggy, “Some people cower in front of the camera, but she became who she was”. The photo made it into the Daily Express soon after it was taken, and Twiggy was dubbed the face of ’66.

How to channel this in your shoot: be confident! It is the easiest way to look incredible on camera.

Image Source: V Magazine

Need more styling inspo? Check out this article for outfit ideas for your upcoming shoot.

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