If you’ve ever done a professional photoshoot, you know there are countless elements that go into a smooth-running, successful session when shooting a subject. There’s the technical elements, like making sure you’ve got the right equipment and everything is set up in the place that it needs to be. There’s the creative elements, like subject styling and organizing photo composition. There’s the communicable elements, like making sure you and your crew are on the same page and that the photo subject understands your overall objective.

Sometimes you’ve got all of this down, all of the elements are in place, but something just feels off. I propose a possible solution for this: music.

It isn’t a novel concept, people have been using music during their photoshoots for ages, but oftentimes they just throw on a playlist and let the music serve as mindless background noise. But there is an inherent, universal power to music—it serves as an artistic medium that can do wonders in setting a tone or bringing out aspects of a photo you may not have been getting before.

Though music and photography don’t go neatly hand in hand as music doesn’t truly translate onto a page, there is something to be said about setting a mood with music that you wish to see emulated in your photos—an artistic vision can traverse a number of creative mediums meaning the use of music can sharpen what you see in your mind’s eye and make it easier to communicate this to others. This is especially true if you are shooting with a human subject, the music can help significantly in guiding your photo subject towards your vision.

Not only this, music will instantly put your subject at ease. It isn’t uncommon for a photo’s subject to get uncomfortable or feel directionless during a shoot, and this is only emphasized if silence is the only thing that fills the air between shutter clicks. Music can help in getting your subject comfortable and at ease with the shoot. Not to mention it will put you and your crew in good spirits if you’ve got music to jam to while on the job.

Some studios will have an in-studio sound system, and if that’s the case then make use of this luxury. But more often than not, you’ll want to have your own speaker if an in-studio system isn’t available or you are shooting out of studio. A compact bluetooth speaker can suffice in getting the job done—they’re reasonably priced and simply a good investment even if you aren’t shooting all the time. All you’ve got to do is make up a playlist that fits your vibe so you’re not constantly interrupting the shoot to change the song.

If you’re feeling like you aren’t getting what you want from a shoot, or you’d just like to liven up a photo session to improve overall satisfaction and quality, give the simple beauty of music a try.