How to Stage an Instagram Photoshoot on a Tight Budget


Want to up your Instagram game but don’t have a huge budget? Staging eye-catching photos for the ‘gram doesn’t have to break the bank. With some clever planning and simple DIY solutions, you can set up enviable backdrops to make your content shine. Follow these tips for pulling off polished Instagram photo shoots on a modest dime.

Choose an Appropriate Location  

How to Stage an Instagram Photoshoot on a Tight Budget

Seek out local spots conducive to photo shooting instead of expensive rentals. Think public parks, brick walls, graffiti underpasses, and cafe patios. Drive or walk around your neighborhood and town with fresh eyes for colorful murals, textured alleyways, or cool architectural details that can lend visual interest for free. Pay attention to lighting as you scout so you direct shoots at optimal times of the day

Creatively Use What You Already Own

Before purchasing any new props or sets, thoroughly comb through your home and closets. Fabric backdrops can be fashioned from tapestries, scarves, blankets, and tablecloths. Product flat lays utilize clutter you likely have – books, plants, mugs, jewelry. Patterned wrapping paper, wallpaper samples, and magazine cutouts make eye-catching backgrounds. Be resourceful in repurposing everyday items such as risers and reflectors to bend natural light. There are also endless online shopping deals if you need new accessories or equipment.

Craft Photo Sets from Upcycled Materials 

Collect shipping boxes, egg cartons, paper bags, and takeout containers destined for the recycling bin. These readily available supplies morph into textured surfaces for elevated, editorial looks with a coat of paint. Thrift store finds like old cages, crates, and ladders bring shabby chic style on a dime. Visit hardware stores for wood scraps to build custom geometric fixtures. Analyze props in glossy magazines – often things like string lights, terracotta pots, and frames can be sourced secondhand and then styled for photogenic vignettes.  

Style Savvy Friends and Family as Models

Skip hiring professional models by recruiting stylish friends or relatives likely to pose for free. Those with modeling experience can really sell the clothes and lend their skills to make images editorially polished. But even amateur models bring fresh faces to your grid, enabling you to deliver aspirational content that feels more relatable. Offer to style, do their hair and makeup in exchange for them donating their time.

Lean on Local Small Business Partners 

Approach complementary brands in your area that align aesthetically with your content focus. Cross-promotional partnerships are mutually beneficial for expanding your audiences organically. Negotiate loans of backdrop materials, props or finished products to showcase from their retail stores, warehouses or showrooms. Harness employees as stylist assistants, makeup artists, or extra models on your shoot date. Small business owners stand to gain increased exposure, so bartering goods and services can replace monetary compensation.  

Style Flat Lay Scenes

Gather art supplies, small toys, flowers, and food elements for fashioning still-life vignettes. Fill backgrounds with eye-catching colors and textures by layering tissue paper, scrapbook tops, and textiles. Affordable clip lights are directed just to sculpt dramatic dimension and shadows. Getting sharp overhead shots of editorial tableaus removes the need for models or equipment entirely, making this approach ultra budget-friendly. 

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Studying photography lighting will equip you with knowledge for maximizing free ambient light—position models near large windows, open shade, and dappled sun spots. Diffuse harsh midday light by bouncing it off makeshift reflectors – whiteboards, tin foil, reflector discs. Shoot sunrise and golden hour for glorious directional lighting that flatters. Silhouettes make striking graphic images at the right time. 

Get Crafty with Editing Apps

Spruce up shots in post-processing by using the array of editing options on Instagram and free photo apps. Fine-tune light levels, saturation, and contrasts that set tone and mood. Dramatize skies and backgrounds using digital filters. Play up colors to intensify vibrancy. Include graphic text overlays to brand content. Let your inner artist run wild – anything goes when it comes to editing to enhance images creatively!

With intelligent planning and ingenuity, you can produce professional-grade Instagram photo shoots on a shoestring budget. 

Cherry Sharma
Cherry Sharma
Cherry is a Vocational English graduate with a deep love for reading fiction and writing. Cherry is also passionate about psychology and is an advocate of mental health. In her free time, you can catch her making reels and posts around the topics for Instagram. She's constantly brainstorming ideas and googling strategies to grow her own profile. So, on Viebly, she combines her interests and knowledge to write articles that help other people use Instagram better as well.


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