What to Do Before a Photo Shoot (When You’re the Client!)

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!DSC_0019_edit


  • 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!cropped-100_6504_fotor.jpg
  • 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!


DSC_0038_editWell, 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?!

Published by Sierra Grayson

I am a freelance photographer based out of Delaware. I specialize in all kinds of photography - you name it, I can capture it (to a socially-acceptable point, of course).

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