Photoshoot or Photo Shoot: What’s the Difference?

Many independent photographers work hard to run a profitable business. In this endeavor, professionalism is crucial, and careful use of language is part of professionalism.

As a photographer, you will take hundreds of pictures in each session. But in your professional correspondence, what should you call these sessions? Is one session a photo shoot or a photoshoot? Continue reading to discover the truth.

What is the Difference Between Photoshoot and Photo Shoot?

In this post, I will compare photo shoot vs photoshoot. I will use each of these terms in multiple example sentences.

I will also outline a useful memory trick to help you decide whether you should use photoshoot or photo shoot.

When to Use Photo Shoot

Definition of photo shoot definition of photoshoot definitionWhat does photo shoot mean? A photo shoot is a noun phrase that refers to a session with a photographer. Photo shoots are common before major life events, such as graduations or weddings, and in fashion and other industries.

Here are some example sentences,

  • My dog Eddie has a photo shoot for a new dog food advertisement.
  • The photographer panicked when he realized he had booked four photo shoots in the same afternoon.
  • The models remembered that they had worked together in a previous photo shoot.
  • After agreeing to an interview and photo shoot to promote the mansion, Saul was asked what it means to carry his family name. –The Washington Post

When to Use Photoshoot

photoshoot and photoshotWhat does photoshoot mean? Photoshoot is a compound word, formed by combining the phrase photo shoot into a single word. It means the same thing as photo shoot, but it has not yet been accepted into common usage and is considered a spelling error.

As you can see from the following graph, photo shoot is still the preferred word by a huge margin.

photoshoot versus photo shoot

This graph is not rigidly scientific. Since it only looks at books written in English since 1800, the data it is based on are not representative of the entire spectrum of usage in English. Still, it is useful for visualizing a clear preference for photo shoot over photoshoot.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define photo shoot define photoshoot defineAs things currently stand, the two word photo shoot vastly outnumbers photoshoot in terms of its use.

The term photo shoot is itself a relatively new word. As you can see from the above graph, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that it started to gain popularity, so photoshoot may someday eclipse photo shoot in the popular lexicon, but that won’t be for quite some time.

In the meantime, if you want to keep your writing standard and professional, opt for the two word photo shoot, and to help you remember the proper spelling, here is a trick to remember photoshoot vs. photo shoot.

Since photo shoot is a two-word phrase, just like portrait subject or photo session, you can remember to choose this version of the phrase when referring to a session wherein photographs are being taken.

Just as you wouldn’t say “photosession,” you also wouldn’t say “photoshoot.”


Is it photoshoot or photo shoot? Photoshoot and photo shoot are variant spellings of the same phrase.

  • Photo shoot is the preferred spelling by a wide margin.
  • Photoshoot is considered a spelling error.

Photo shoot is much more common in contemporary writing, especially in formal, academic writing where it is the better choice.

You can remember to choose photo shoot since it is a two-word phrase, like portrait subject and photo session.

To summarize, photo shoot is more common today, but photoshoot may well be preferred at some point in the future.