How to Prepare for your Shoot
The night before a shoot drink lots of water to hydrate your skin and get lots of rest. You want the day or two before your shoot to be as low-stress as possible.
Plan, plan, plan: The best images come from good advance planning and preparation. Please don’t wait until the morning of your shoot to prepare and pack your clothing, props, hair and makeup needs. If you have children, please get an early start in the morning so you arrive on time. Your session starts at your scheduled time, not the time you arrive, so if you are 15 minutes late, that will be 15 minutes less time we have to make you a great portfolio of images.
- Wardrobe: You should think in terms of color harmony! Two or three colors that work well together such as plums, pinks and blues. This is far more natural and appealing than going strictly match-matchy! Other nice combos include earth tones or gem tones, or neutrals. Please do NOT wear logos, stripes, or patterns. Keep it simple with solids so we can bring focus to your faces in your portraits. Please bring items that are not wrinkled and clothes that you will be proud to wear and look at for the next several decades whenever you see your portraits!
- Hair – If you’re getting a hair cut for your shoot, do so about two weeks beforehand, just in case it goes wrong or needs a little growing out to look good – you just never know. For men, a fresh cut a couple of days before the shoot is fine.
- Sunbathing: We would prefer you avoid sunbathing for the week before your session. New tans tend to photograph badly, especially tan lines and sunburn.
- Hair & Accessories – For women, we always start with the hair down and move to hair up later in the session. Your hair should already be styled when you arrive. If we are doing a location shoot, be ready to put your hair up and make it look nice in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories. For men, please arrive with your hair looking as great as possible. Don’t forget to bring hair product!
- Glasses – You may be photographed with or without your glasses. If you feel like your glasses are a big part of your identity, you may want to wear them. Because glasses are highly reflective, the way we photograph you with them on may restrict our shooting to various angles. If you want to avoid those restrictions, you can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot, or ask your optician to loan you a pair of similar frames, or you can also visit an inexpensive company online and buy a suitable pair of similar frames on the cheap (these would be reading type glasses but the frames can work well).
- Red eyes – Visine is your friend. The whiter your eyes, the better you will look.
- Lips – You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick to do touch-up. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make your lips look their best.
- Teeth – If you want to brighten your smile, start your treatments about two weeks before your shoot.
- Breakouts –Equally important, don’t cake on a lot of make-up to try to hide blemishes – it’s almost always easier to Photoshop away pimples than to clean up overdone make-up.
- Make-up – A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. But make sure you know what you’re doing, and make sure it matches your skin tone, or your face may look orange compared to the rest of your body.
- Facial hair – Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and a moisturizing after shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your board, sideburns, moustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Men and women both, pluck and clean those eyebrows.
- Moisturizer – Dry skin can really detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. When you get out of the shower, dry off until lightly damp, and slather on moisturizer. Focus on your arms, shoulders, neck, face, hands, anywhere you’ll be exposed to the camera. This includes your legs if you’re shooting in shorts or a skirt.
- Nails – A fresh coat of nail polish will make a world of difference in your photo shoot. Pick a neutral color that won’t distract in your shoot or clash with your outfits. Freshen the morning of the shoot, then be careful not to scuff it while prepping. Your photo shoot is a great excuse for a fresh manicure, but if you can’t go to the salon, make sure your nails look tidy and clean, including the cuticles.
- Undergarments – Bra straps won’t do anything to help your outfit look its best. Be sure you bring a set of bras and strap-adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in to keep those straps well-hidden.
- Ironing - If you iron, iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.
Here are some specific suggestions for certain types of shoots:
- Moisturize that belly!
- Gather your props to bring along – ultrasound printout, alphabet blocks that spell your baby’s name, baby shoes, stuffed animals, flowers, whatever you’ve seen in other maternity photos that you like.
- Wear whatever you feel comfortable and pretty in – long, flowy skirts, especially solids are nice, and strapless bras that coordinate with them. Tube dresses are great for showing off your shape. Bring a pair of regular jeans, not the belly panel ones. A button-up shirt also makes it easy to transition into showing your belly.
- If you’re doing semi-nude/implied nude photos, bras and underwear will create noticeable lines on your skin, so wear loose-fitting clothing to the shoot. You can add undergarments as necessary for photos later in the shoot.
- Do bring your significant other and we will include them in some of the images we make! They should bring outfits that coordinate with what you’ll be wearing, or a dark long-sleeved shirt or sweater and dark pants. The focus should always be on you, your expressions, your emotions, your personality, your joy and your connection.
Newborns and Babies
- Bring extra wipes, diapers, blankets and clothing to the session.
- If you will be photographed with the baby, bring an extra outfit or two for you and your spouse or partner as well as for the baby. Babies often spit up or pee (or worse) on the outfit you are wearing, especially when doing naked baby images or changing their outfits.
- Bring baby from fresh bath or wipe down and trim those tiny fingernails and toenails with appropriate baby trimmers.
- Book your shoot around your baby’s feeding and nap times, work with the natural rhythm of your baby. The perfect time to shoot is right when the baby would be laying down for a nap. If your baby normally falls asleep after a feeding, wait to feed the baby until you’re at the shoot. Baby photographers allot plenty of time for this sort of thing to set up the best situation for great photos.
- Dress up paper diapers. Cloth diapers are classy and stylish, but if you don’t use them, bring bloomers or decorative diaper covers, solids preferred.
- Nothing is the best wardrobe for a newborn – no outfit fits a newborn well, and they often look swallowed in clothes. Accessories are good, though – little hats, dainty headbands, boys in crocheted hats, etc. Bring sentimental items like the quilt that Grandma made for the baby, a baby blanket from your own childhood – they’re great for the youngster to lay on.
- If your baby takes a pacifier, bring it – if they’re bottle fed, bring an extra bottle to help put the baby to sleep.
- Clean nails, clean faces and hair, clean feet (sandals on kids = black feet!), wipe runny noses, fresh-scrub teeth. Bring tissues and wipes to help with last minute cleanups.
- If your child is still in diapers or pull-ups, tuck’em in or wear bloomers.
- If your child is still of napping age, make sure they nap before the shoot.
- It is perfectly okay to bring bribes to a photo shoot
- Avoid colorful drinks or lollypops within 24 hours of your shoot, don’t let them eat or drink anything that will stain their face, teeth or mouths. If sugar or other foods over-stimulate them, please refrain from giving them those foods before a session.
- Wardrobe – For girls, you can’t go wrong with cute dresses, rompers, and dainty hats or headbands. For boys, jeans and polos or a button-up shirt, or a T-shirt with a button-up over it can be very cute, as well as overalls on the right age and personality. If nothing else, pick a color that compliments your child’s eye color.
- Him – Have a fresh shave or trim, and use a fresh razor, shaving cream and moisturizing facial lotion to limit bumps and redness. Make sure nails are clean and trimmed. Wash your hands and face thoroughly before a session. Clean up your shoes. Moisturize and scrub away flaky facial skin. For wardrobe, go for jeans or pants, tucked polo or dress shirt with a belt, or go casual with just a T-shirt or untucked polo, button-up short sleeve, etc. If you are not fashion conscious, seek the advice of your spouse or partner and try to coordinate with them. Again you don’t have to perfectly match the rest of the family, just wear something that coordinates.
- Her – You may want to wear something that covers your upper-arms. Long- or 3/4-sleeve tops are very flattering. If you wear jewelry, aim for subtlety, and be aware of it twisting or turning.
- Kids – Same advice as above, but again, everything needn’t match, simply coordinate with the parents’ outfits.
High School Seniors
- The biggest tips for seniors are to either have no tan, or to have an even tan, don’t get sunburned or have tan lines! Clean and freshly-paint those nails, and moisturize and scrub away dry skin.
- Bring a variety of outfits that are ironed and hung on hangers.
- Bring props that recall your high school years – band instrument, sports gear like a volleyball or baseball bat, your beloved (or cursed) high school car, letter jacket, sunglasses. Most of all, rep your style, whatever that may be. Your senior photo should be unique to your life and personality.