Have you just booked or are thinking about booking an engagement session, a senior photo session, bridal, or a big family picture gathering? If so, you want your portrait session to be fun and memorable. That’s what I want, too.
My goal is to capture your personality.
The best way to do that is for you to be as comfortable as possible during your session. This isn’t like going to the dentist, so there’s no need to be nervous.
Having said that, here’s some things you should know (and do) in order to get the best experience:
Book your session in plenty of time:
Although I try to get images to you as quickly as possible, it not only takes some time to finalize images after a shoot, but I also may have other jobs to finish before yours. This is why I go over a timeline for the delivery of photos when we meet.
So please keep this in mind if there is any time sensitivity linked to your sessions. For example: senior yearbook submissions, creating Save The Dates for your wedding, images for your acting call, etc.
Booking your session at least a few weeks to a couple of months prior to when you require the photos is always a good idea. Download your portrait session contract here.
Choose your outfits wisely:
Your photo session is not really the time to experiment with a brand new “look.” Remember, the photos are about YOU and not your clothes. If you dress outside of your normal comfort zone, chances are that will come through in the photos.
Your best bet is to pick a nice outfit that you already own and know you look (and feel) good in. If you do want to buy something new, make sure it’s something you would actually wear for more than just this photo shoot.
Go for something simple. When I say “simple,” what I mean is that you should avoid complicated patterns – they just won’t look good in a photo.
Avoid gimmicks. As clever of an idea as it might seem to dress everyone (including the dog, cat and parakeet) in matching turtlenecks, you’ll only wind up with a candidate for Awkward Family Photos.
A change of clothing is also a good idea. Not only does it give you the option for some variety (such as something casual and something a little more dressy), but if we’re shooting outside, you never know when a random bird might mistake your blouse for a newly washed car.
Depending on what locations we select, we might wind up doing some walking around. If you don’t think navigating around the State Park is a wise idea in 4 inch heels, then plan accordingly (but bring the heels along if you want ’em in the shots).
Props are welcome:
That is to say, props within reason are welcome.
If your hobby is hunting, we probably can’t get away with featuring your favorite rifle in a downtown setting without inadvertently inviting SWAT to the session.
Other than that, if you have some hobby or sport that is really an integral part of your personality, there’s no reason to not try to show that off a little.
Musical instruments work well for bands or seniors. Also, sporting equipment can be incorporated (if you’ve got something like football pads, ski equipment or something similar that really stands out, let us know ahead of time so we can try to come up with creative ways to use them).
Even pets are welcome, as long as you can reasonably control them for the shoot.
Skin and hair care and REST:
The eve of your photo shoot is not the time to stay up until 4am cleaning house, playing your favorite video game, or testing your alcohol tolerance. I don’t want to sound like your parents here, but get plenty of rest. If you have a newborn, well, that's a different thing. All I can say is, get all the rest you can.
If you want your skin to look its best, stay well hydrated.
Also, right before your photo shoot is not the time to try out new skin products.
If you want a new hair style, plan for it a couple of weeks before your shoot. This will both give you time to get comfortable with it and to smooth out any mistakes if the cut doesn’t go exactly as you planned.
Do you wear glasses normally but prefer to put in contacts for your shoot? Then make sure to wear your contacts regularly for several days before your shoot to make sure your eyes aren’t irritated for the photos.
If your skin tends to be on the oily side or it’s going to be very hot out, you might want to plan on some powder to help control the shine.
Weather and locations:
As much as I wish I could, I can’t control the weather. If we’re doing an outdoor shoot, you’ll want to remember to dress appropriately. Wearing a t-shirt covered by a button down long sleeve shirt in the middle of August is only going to make you miserable.
When it comes to locations, I know a lot of cool places, but I’m not necessarily aware of every possible spot around. If you have ideas, please feel free to share them. The only thing is, if your idea involves private property, it will be your responsibility to secure permission.
All of the above are just general guidelines, but if you keep these tips in mind, then chances are good that your session will go that much more smoothly.