One of the hardest things for me during the lockdown is the lack of having a regular creative outlet, which for me is photography. But, nothing is impossible if only you want it badly enough!

My soul was craving creation, and not just on my own, but with other people. Working with others is one of my favourite things about my job and one that brings me a lot of satisfaction.

I observed what other photographers were doing during this time on Instagram and I’ve noticed an interesting idea – taking photos via FaceTime.

At first, it sounded crazy – who would even want to do this? The quality is not the same as normal photos, you can’t help the model with setting up the studio, etc. Nevertheless, something inside me told me to try. 

I teamed up with my photographer bestie Julia Malinowska and we scheduled our first FaceTime photo session.

I prepared a mood board, outfits, background, and props. My idea was to keep it minimalistic and dreamy.  We set up the time for our call and I set up my phone on a tripod. We had so much fun during the session, it felt like Julia was with me in the room. I almost didn’t feel any difference between a regular photo session. And, the results exceeded my expectations!

Here are the photos Julia took of me:

Virtual photo session at home | Natalia Wisniewska Julia Malinowska
Virtual photo session | Natalia Wisniewska Julia Malinowska
Virtual photo shoot tutorial
FaceTime photo session | Natalia Wisniewska Julia Malinowska
FaceTimePhoto session | Julia Malinowska Natalia Wisniewska
Photo session in progress! GIF: Julia Malinowska

Julia’s idea was to create a tropical and artistic mood, making use of her props and backgrounds which she uses for photo sessions. Here is the result:

Virtual photo session tutorial | Natalia Wisniewska
FaceTime virtual photo session tutorial | Natalia Wisniewska
FaceTime virtual photo session | Natalia Wisniewska
FaceTime photo session tutorial

If you’d like to do a FaceTime session, here is a step by step guide:

  1. Prepare the mood board. Look around your house what kind of decor, props, and clothes you have and plan the mood board accordingly.
  2. Look for 1-2 spots at your house where there is a lot of natural light coming in. Look for big windows with soft curtains (to soften the light) and interesting shadows from the window blinds. Arrange your “studio” there.
  3. Set up the technology. You will need a smartphone (iPhone if you want to use FaceTime, other phones can use Skype or Zoom, but shooting on FaceTime is easier), a tripod with a phone holder and the other person needs a MacBook. iPad can work too, but the camera isn’t so good as an iPhone. When you’re connected via FaceTime, there is an onscreen button to take a photo.
  4. A few technical things: the model needs to have the phone updated to iOS 11 or later. They need to have FaceTime Live photos enabled (Settings>FaceTime>Live Photos – toggle on)
  5. The model needs to have their phone set up to upload photos to iCloud.
  6. If the model needs to change any settings, they will need to restart the phone.

Another option is to use Skype (as we did in case of shooting Julia). You have to connect via Skype and then take screenshots as if you were taking photos.

Virtual photo session tutorial

If you want to see more photos from our session with Julia, I encourage you to check out her page

Lastly, remember that it’s about the experience, having fun together, and being creative. The quality of the photos obviously cannot be compared to a “real” photo session, but that’s not the point 😉

If you have any questions about this or would like to have a virtual photo session with me, check out this page.

PS If you’re looking for ways to take better photos at home with your phone, download my free ebook with 5 Simple Tricks To Improve Your Photos Right Now!