Is photo shoot planning stressing you out? - Amanda Kraft Photography - Lancaster, PA

Are you planning an upcoming photo shoot, but the planning feels a tad bit overwhelming? Girl… I feel your pain. I’ll obsess about outfits, hairstyling, and makeup for weeks (also know as… spending countless hours on Pinterest). Only to remind myself that wearing all black makes me feel polished, professional, and confident. And, trusting my hair stylist and makeup artist to make me camera ready. See all the worrying was for nothing.

Easier said than done! Yep, I know. That’s why I’ve created a Photo Shoot Planning Guide to help eliminate the overwhelm with checklists, wardrobe suggestions (and examples), and a list of location & prop ideas.


I’ve taken 16+ years of experience of planning engagement photo shoots on the hottest summer day during a heatwave to working with a client who lost all of her luggage at the airport the day before her engagement portraits. Or working with high school seniors who are sometimes afraid to show their true style or selves in their portraits.

Included is a checklist to help remind you of when to schedule hair and nail appointments, how to arrive to your photo shoot, extra things to back and WHAT NOT TO PACK. And please by all means, download your guide, read it over and let me know if I forgot to add something that saved the day and might be helpful to add!


For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes aspect of photo shoots. Giving the viewer (me at the time; a 13-year old girl who dreamed of being a photographer) a chance to see what it really took to bring an idea full circle to finished piece or product.

Thanks to technology; the ease of creating eye catching photographs and video paired with ability to share on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube we have more access to seeing the behind the scenes process than ever before.

Any Devil Wears Prada fans? I’ll admit that I am a DWP superfan and LOVE the movie for so many reasons, but it gave viewers a chance to understand the visual story that is being told through fashion editorials using models and clothing to tell the story. Plus, a look at the not-so-glamourous side of what working at a fashion magazine could be.

Storytelling is shared daily - Every heard of Gary V? Gary V is an incredible storyteller sharing what it takes to be a business owner - he has pulled back the curtain and shows us the grit and commitment it takes to build and sustain a business daily.

Why am I sharing all of this on a photography blog, because we must become storytellers in our lives & businesses. We can no longer post a few photos and wait for the phone to ring. I truly believe we need to show to process no matter how messy it can be, it gives us a relate-ability factor.

For those in business, how many times have you heard someone say… “I’ve been following you quietly for weeks, months, or years before reaching out to you, joining your program, or hiring you.” Several clients have told me this over the years and many of my high school senior clients younger siblings have told me how excited they have been for it to finally be their turn for a photo shoot. Because they have watched the story unfold.

Of course, you don’t have to air your dirty laundry, but giving your audience the opportunity to understand the process behind WHO YOU ARE & WHAT YOU DO does matter in today’s world of business, and it might actually matter more now than ever before.

Let’s chat about ways to weave your story in your brand and business.

  1. Creating a series of behind the scenes photos of how you take a project or idea from your head to paper and from paper to final product gives the viewer/consumer a better understanding of the level of craftsmanship involved. You can do this through still photography and small video clips.

  2. If you are personal trainer, wellness coach, or life coach - maybe you could show what a day in the life is like for you. Showing a glimpse of how you meal prep, plan or design your workouts, interact with clients, and balance juggling a family. Allowing your viewers to see that you walk the talk yourself.

  3. Maybe you are a food truck owner (ever see Chef?!) and you want to use your online presence to build buzz about where your truck might be for the day, what your current specials are, and tell the story of what food means to you.

  4. A small custom t-shirt company - sharing how the designs are created, the meaning or connection to why you create what you create along with why you choose to use the vendors you do might matter to your customers as much as it means to you.

Another behind the scenes moment of how I create natural light food photographs for my stock photography site and personal blog.

Another behind the scenes moment of how I create natural light food photographs for my stock photography site and personal blog.

A behind the scenes photo when I spoke to fellow photographers on the importance of creating a health and wellness plan within their business

A behind the scenes photo when I spoke to fellow photographers on the importance of creating a health and wellness plan within their business



I’d love to hear how you weave storytelling into your business and brand in the comments below.

Personal Branding Headshots with Michael

One of the new divisions of AKP that will be launching in 2018 will be Personal Branding Photo Shoots.  Adding this new extension to the work that I already do felt like a natural fit to the style of work that I've already been offering.  

A dear friend of mine and local freelance graphic designer came in to my studio a few weeks ago and I love the series of images that we created.  We opted for several wardrobe changes and I love the combinations we came up with.  

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My January 2018 calendar is starting to book for personalized branding photos and I'd love to invite you into the studio for an updated headshot session with me.  


Personalized branding portraits have become an incredibly powerful way to showcase who you are and what you do, especially in the online world.  Professional branding portraits can elevate the look and feel of your business in a way that showcases your personality, style, and the work that you create/do.  


Three different personalized branding photo shoots allow you to choose from standard in-studio headshots, environmental portraits (portraits of you in your working environment), product photography or a combination of all three.  For clients looking to further their experience, we can discuss a destination photo shoot or even being on hand to document a retreat you are planning and incorporate a mini headshot photo shoot for your attendees.  



A Lularoe consultant looking to showcase her styling skills and personality, a health coach who is looking to stand out from the crowd and show their coaching style through photography along with a collection of recipes to be used on her blog or within a cookbook, an actor or dancer in need of updated headshots for their agency, or a business owner who is looking for an updated look beyond a typical blue background.  Branding photo shoots are perfect for anyone looking to update their website and / or marketing materials with imagery that highlights who you are and what you do! 

Social Media Overlays for Wellness Coaches

Turn your social media imagery into an eye-catching post begging to be shared with health and wellness inspired script font overlays.

Included in this freebie bundle of 9- are prompts to direct your followers to new blog posts, recipes, wellness tips and more.

Each png file is ready to use with editing software of choice and be combined with any photograph in your library. With a collection of 9 overlays to work with, you will be able to create new social media imagery in seconds.

Using overlays will help you create a cohesive well-branded look that your followers will come to recognize!




Selecting art for your walls

Sitting down with a handful of photographs can often feel like a daunting task when trying to narrow down which images will grace your walls, especially when you have many favorites to choose from. I've found that working with tangible proofs can help eliminate the overwhelm and allow you to group photographs that you love much easier than navigating an online gallery or watching a slideshow over and over again.

During each portrait reveal and ordering appointment we will sit down and review the collection of photographs from your session.  Making  "love" and  "like" piles to work through.  Once we have narrowed down your favorites we will select handful that will become signature pieces in your home rather than live in  "the cloud" or on a thumb drive.


I believe in hanging large, beautiful portraits in your home, allowing these moments to be frozen in time and displayed for your to enjoy.  An art form that is becoming lost with the digital age.   While some may argue that hanging large portraits in your home of yourself and loved ones as being boastful or showy, I completely disagree.  I'd much rather walk into a home filled with large portraits from their wedding, a trip, or a photo shoot over a large piece of art found while walking the aisles of IKEA that share no meaning or significance. 

Once we have narrowed down your favorites we will discuss placement, sizing, print finishes, and framing to complete the process.  All you'll need to do is make time to display and hang your portraits once they arrive.