I went on a professional Instagram photoshoot, and the lengths influencers go to for the perfect picture will shock you

Here I am trying the classic hand-in-hair pose.

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Here I am trying the classic hand-in-hair pose.
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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

  • Whether you’re a full-time influencer or merely thinking of your career or dating prospects, maintaining a strong personal brand via your Instagram page is nothing to be sniffed at.
  • Now, it’s actually possible to have a professional photoshoot designed to give you high-quality photos of yourself for the ‘gram.
  • In the hope of upping my Insta-game, I went to try it out.
  • It turns out it’s harder – and more complicated – than it looks.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An actor? Pop star? Soccer player, perhaps?

Well, kids today now have a whole host of other careers available to them thanks to new technologies. According to one study, the most desired profession amongst children and young people today is “vlogger.”

Although it can be hard to explain to people who don’t use social media, countless young people are now making a living as an “influencer” by writing blog posts, filming YouTube videos, or – more often than not – simply posting pictures on Instagram.

Read more: Disappointing, behind-the-scenes photos show what it’s really like to be an Instagram influencer

Shoot My Travel is a company which helps people try and reach influencer status by providing professional photoshoots that deliver those sought-after candid shots in beautiful locations.

The edited photos are then sent to your phone between 24 and 48 hours after the shoot, ensuring you don’t have to wait long before you can start raking in those likes.

Just like any professional photoshoot though, it doesn’t come cheap: a one-hour shoot costs $195 (£151), a two-hour shoot costs $275 (£213), and a three-hour shoot $375 (£291).

I spent an afternoon with the company to find out what it takes to be an Instagram influencer – and it was more complicated than I expected.


I met my photographer, Tiffany Roubert, in Notting Hill, an area of west London famed for its colourful townhouses.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

The neighbourhood is so popular amongst influencers and tourists that we had to wait for other people to finish taking their snaps in the spot shown above before we could get ours.

One of the houses even had a sign in the window saying: “Please don’t stand on our stairs, it is trespassing” – presumably because the residents are fed up with people taking photos outside their homes.

Oops, sorry.


As Tiffany worked, the thoughts going through my head included: “How do I stand? Where do I look? Oh GOD! What do I do with my hands!?”

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

I tried to ignore my inner self-consciousness and relax into the shoot, but it was hard to ignore the burning stares of the workmen just out of shot above.


After we were satisfied with our colourful street shots, we went to nearby cafe Farm Girl. I spotted a pink table and pounced.

Here I am trying the classic hand-in-hair pose.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

Having noticed influencers often put their hands in their hair, I decided to give it a try.

Insider tip: my bag in this photo is in fact empty and merely a prop (why do influencers always put them on the table?) – my huge backpack, stuffed to the brim with all my actual daily necessities, was left out of shot.


The cafe is famed for its often-Instagrammed rose petal lattes and so, despite not liking matcha, I ordered a rose petal matcha latte to match the pink and green colour scheme of our shoot.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

How do people always look cute while drinking? This is not a skill I possess.


Here’s what this scene actually looked like in real life (it was mainly me pretending to like matcha whilst actually hating it). Also note the difference lighting makes once a photo is edited.

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Rachel Hosie

Tiffany spotted a cute neon sign, which unfortunately had a less cute plug underneath, so I squatted to make myself just the right height for the photo.

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Rachel squats for the shot
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Rachel Hosie

While this was going on, I became aware that the waiters inside the cafe were mocking me, which was pretty off-putting.


Influencers seem to love a walking shot. Are they actually going anywhere? Or just pretending they’re mid-stride? We may never know, but I gave it a go anyway.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

It felt weird. I also noticed a man taking a picture of me from across the street, which was extra weird.


It was time for a costume-change. I popped my gym clothes on to try my hand at posing like a fitness influencer.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

I figured I needed a smoothie to really look the part, so naturally chose a pink one purely based on the fact that it would complement my outfit.

This being London in January, it was bloody freezing. But I womanned-up and did it for the ‘gram, like a true influencer would.


A man actually came up to us and asked if I was famous.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

It turns out having a photoshoot with a photographer using a proper camera is a highly effective way to make people think you’re someone important.


I was low-key attacked by pigeons, but it ended up making for a great impromptu shot.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

Top tip: movement is a useful way to add life to your snaps.


By the end of the shoot, I found I’d totally relaxed into it and was actually having a blast — but I was surprised by how much actually goes into taking these photos.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

It’s not just influencers and wannabe Instagram stars who use the service, though – Tiffany told me that a lot of Shoot My Travel’s clients are solo travellers who simply want some nice snaps from their trip.

It’s understandable, really – after all, there’s nothing worse than asking a stranger to take your picture and later realising they’ve cut half your head off.


Since the shoot, I’ve posted a couple of photos on my Instagram account — and it’s clear the snaps are of an infinitely higher calibre than my usual posts. So much so that friends have messaged asking what the deal is with my suddenly glossy images.

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Tiffany Roubert/Shoot My Travel

Now all I need is a professional photographer following me around every day to keep up my new influencer facade.