So you’ve booked a photo shoot with a photographer. That’s awesome! You’re about to receive one of the greatest treasures in the world – a set of photos that captures your essence (or your family’s essence or the essence of you and your husband as a couple or whatever essence your particular session is aiming to capture). I can honestly say that I believe in the power of images; I feel that there is no gift or token of gratitude in this world as special as amazing photos that you can look back on forever.
But what the heck do you do in the meantime?! Don’t worry – I’ve compiled a list of things you should do to prepare for your photo shoot – not necessarily in any order. Take a look!
- Get cleaned up a week in advance! Get a hair cut, have a spa day, do a mani/pedi, whatever you need to do to feel that you look your best.
- Do your makeup (even if you’re a guy)! Your photographer may have some “far-away” poses in mind, and your face isn’t going to stand out in that background if you don’t help it along. Seek professional help if you’re not used to doing your own makeup!
- Think of poses you might want from your photographer – and write. Them. DOWN! You won’t be able to remember every pose you’ve thought of, so be sure to give your photographer a written list. (A great digital alternative to this is starting a Pinterest board to which you save inspo photos and then sharing that with your photographer a couple days before!)
- Determine if you’ll have a color scheme or an outfit theme! It’s helpful to pick coordinating colors or one central idea for outfits (costumes, all-dresses, etc.) so that no one causes clash in your photos. Your photographer should be able to help with this!
- Be sure you have reliable day-of transportation for everyone involved and that everyone knows the logistical details of the day-of! This tip seems like a weird one for a photographer to give to a client, but it is seriously so important. If you’re waiting on Cousin Ned because he thought the Facebook thread said 4PM when it said 2:30PM, you’re going to be waiting a long time. Then his ’99 Toyota Carola breaks down on the way to the shoot location… Not a good day for anyone!
- Eat well and drink plenty of water the day-of! Again, this seems weird for a photographer to tell you. But trust me – if you’re getting pictures taken outside in the sun or even inside under all of those studio lights, it can quickly turn into a not-so-great situation if you’re not properly hydrated and fed! No one wants dizzy blurry photos!
- Trust the process! Your photographer only came into your purview because someone recommended them or the Internet told you they were great when you were Google-searching at 11PM a week before you needed the session. You’ve got to trust that your photographer knows what they’re doing. Yes, there are a few things you can plan ahead of time yourself (even more than what’s listed here), but you should also leave certain things up to the experts or at least ask for their assistance!
Well, there you have it! I know it’s super anxiety-inducing to wait for a photo shoot, but try not to be too caught up in the planning that you forget what the point is – the beautiful images you’ll be left with once it’s all done! Do you have other recommendations for things to do before a photo shoot? Leave them in the comments below!
P.S. There’s only TWO MORE DAYS to reach out to me about your own portrait session if you want to receive the 40% discount! What are you waiting for?!
I love holding portrait sessions! The perfect portrait session can make a huge difference in someone’s life. I recently was a part of a portrait session for my step-mother’s father (my step-grandfather?) who had a life-threatening disease. The portrait session produced photos of his children and grandchildren (and one step-grandchild?). He was so happy to receive it, and it is truly a testament to the photography profession that something so seemingly small can impact a person and a family in so many ways.
Knowing how important it is to folks to get the exact right pictures during their session, I definitely have developed a process for shooting family portraits/couples’ portraits/etc. Keep reading to find out how I prepare and successfully hold a portrait session!
- Identify your client’s needs! This is the most important step in this whole process (which is why it’s first). It’s vital to understand exactly what vision your client has for their portraits and for what the portraits will be used. Is this a couple’s session that highlights their road to love? Is it a family session that will hang on their wall for years to come to remind them of their children as toddlers? What is this for and where will it go?
- Pick the perfect location and time of day! Your clients may have some locations in mind, and you definitely should take into account their wants.
However, you’re the expert! Use your knowledge of photography and location scouting to help them identify places that meet their needs and match their style while ensuring successful photos. For example, if they suggest photographing in a park during mid-day, you should express to them that mid-day is when the sun is at its highest; this can be a not-so-flattering time of the day lighting-wise, but you can suggest that they maybe photograph in the park at dusk during golden hour!
- Prepare your tools! You all know that I love iPhone photography. I recently purchased an iPhone XS Max, and the camera quality on this thing is amazing! However, even if you know how to successfully capture meaningful photos on your smartphone, you’ll still want to make sure you have all of the accessories you could possibly need during your session to enhance those photos. Grab your tripod and phone mount, your Bluetooth shutter, and your attachable lenses. You can also bring any other helpful tools you can think of! For example, if you know your clients may want different effects in their photos (like various light shapes), an easy way to do this is with a piece of paper that has a cut-out of the shape in the center of it so you can attach it to your lens. It works wonders!
- Get to the location ahead of time and brainstorm different poses in different spots! It is so helpful to be prepared with these ideas before your clients get to the location so that you can get rolling with these portraits as soon as possible. That way, you’re not wasting anyone’s valuable time!
- Start photographing! Okay – your clients are here in their Sunday best, and you’ve got all of your equipment together prepared with locations/poses mapped out. So start photographing already! Be sure to take multiple shots of each pose so that you can edit them later and have the best possible shot available. Be sure to let your clients know when certain poses or smiles aren’t working, and brainstorm new ones with them. It makes a world of difference when you allow your clients to be a part of the photographing process!
Well, there you have it! That’s basically what I do before and during a portrait session to make sure I’m doing my absolute best for my clients. Do you have any other tips for folks looking to hold their own portrait session? Write them in the comments below!
P.S. My discounted portrait sessions are still happening! I’m offering a 40% off of all portrait sessions until the end of February! Call/text/email me for more information!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day! The countdown says 2 days, and I am so excited! It’s definitely strange that I feel so excited for something that happens literally every year and that shouldn’t be that big of a deal for my relationship. My husband and I have been together for almost 7 years and married for a little over half a year, so many people tend to assume that we’re “over” these kinds of holidays by now. But I’m actually more excited for this Valentine’s Day than I have been for a lot of others; this is our first one as a married couple! I can honestly say that I’m so excited to spend my first Valentine’s Day with my man as a married woman.
I’m not sure exactly what we’ll be doing yet; we may be going out some place, but no concrete plans have been decided. I honestly would be a-okay with staying at home and just enjoying each other’s company. Maybe have a stay-in movie date night? Either way, I know that I’ll be with my husband on Thursday evening, making sure that my phone is away and that he has my full attention. Because that’s what making time for each other really means. It means being fully present in the moment with your partner and being attentive to their needs and wishes. And I know he feels the exact same way.
P.S.: If you’re interested in any Valentine’s Day photo shoots, let me know as soon as possible! I’m dishing out 40% discounts for Valentine’s Day portraits and recreational photo shoots, but the deal ends on February 28th. This could be the perfect gift!
So it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and my husband and I aren’t exactly raking in the dough right now. It’s nothing we can’t handle; we still have enough to cover the bills and our day-to-day expenses, but going out for an expensive night on the town can be a little too much for us sometimes. That’s why I’ve come up with these at-home date night ideas that cost little to nothing!
- Dinner and a movie – A new take on this old favorite! Cook up something together that makes you both really excited to eat! Make sure to eat at the table before you start the movie; the more time you have to talk to your partner, the better the date (in my opinion, anyway). You can have as much fun with this as you want – put on some relaxing music in the background, dress up the table with a centerpiece or candles – anything you want! Then pick out a movie that (again) makes you both excited to watch, pop the popcorn, and cuddle up for the next two hours!
- Couple’s retreat – This may sound like you’re about to pay a bunch of money on a hotel room and a 5-hour flight, but I promise it’s not what you think! You’ll need some prep-work before actually doing this one, but it’s worth it! Pick a day that the two of you can either take off of work at the same time or comfortably leave behind other responsibilities. Remember – you have to be responsibility-free for at least half the day! Decide ahead of time what “sessions” you’re going to have on this retreat – whether you need to focus on communicating more with each other, planning for kids, deciding what your next home renovation project is going to be – these could be anything! Pick your location – a state park (’cause they’re large), a shopping mall, a new city, etc. Then get out there and treat this like a real retreat! You should be communicating and enjoying each other’s company the whole time!
- Game night – This is my husband’s favorite! It’s exactly what it sounds like, but you can put your own spin on it. Play board games, video games, or some combination of the two. You could even go outside (if the weather is nice) and play a sport! The key here is to have fun with one another without the pressure of large life talks like a retreat would have you do. I always make a bunch of tasty apps and drinks to see us through the evening like we’re at a bar – ’cause after all, Monopoly is definitely better while drinking!
These three date night ideas are the ones that my husband and I have tried and have proven tried and true for us time and time again! I encourage all of you to step outside of the dinner-and-a-movie box and do something new. You might be surprised how much fun you can have just being at home!