The Personal Blog

How to Prepare for your Photo Shoot


You’ve heard the expression “taking a picture?” Well, there’s a bit more to it than just that. “Making” a picture is more accurate considering the preparation that goes into a quality photo shoot. Like anything of substance, you get out of it in direct proportion to the amount of effort you put into it.

Here are a four things to consider:

  1. Location: Where will your photo shoot happen? What place best captures a desired mood? What time of day will the light be the most flattering?
  2. Outfits: What attire is desired to express personal style, attitude and personality? What combinations of colors compliment the background or evoke a desired mood? Are colors complimentary, expressing harmony or chaos? Understated or loud? Does the clothing in a sexy photo tease or leave much to the imagination of the viewer?
  3. Styling: What modifications to makeup and hair, if any, need to happen so the person photographed looks their best? Some people prefer to do their own hair or makeup, but a skilled makeup artist can be the difference between a decent portrait and something extraordinary.
  4. Props: What elements can be incorporated to express attitude, create compelling action or make an image unique? For example, a high school senior posing with a Letterman’s jacket or a model portraying a country girl with a horse and barn in the background.

Not every photo shoot has to be a big production. Indeed, some of the most simple photo shoots can produce poignant results. But at the basic level, addressing these four things can greatly enhance a photo session.

Not sure how to style your photo shoot? Here are some suggestions…

  • Look at inspirational images you find in a magazine or on the Internet. We are bombarded daily with all sorts of images. You can email us some JPEGs illustrating a pose, a clothing style, an expression, etc. that appeals to you. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and while we may not be able to recreate an image with complete accuracy, we can capture the spirit and character of the source image.
  • Follow some basic rules. For example, solids are generally preferable to patterned outfits. When in doubt, hard to go wrong with basic white or black. Some styles are more timeless than others, so consider whether the point is to capture a hip new style or create photos that won’t look as dated 20 years from now.
  • Do what makes you comfortable and you know you’ll like. The time to experiment with a dramatically different hair length or color is not just before a photo shoot that will immortalize how you look. You don’t want to go to great preparation only to dislike your photos because you regret a change in your appearance that you impulsively decided to make. Then again, maybe the whole point of your photo shoot is to become someone entirely different than how everyone normally sees you…
  • Make clothing selections from your existing wardrobe, go shopping or borrow something from a friend.
  • Taking time to prepare can pay off later. Be sure to iron out wrinkles so we don’t have to charge you for the time it takes to remove them in retouching, if it is even possible. Try on the look you want in the mirror at home to see if it looks as good as you hope it will, and if you are sensitive about a body part ask yourself whether the clothing choices you are making distract from or call attention to it.

Every photo shoot we do includes a complimentary consultation to discuss these things so we can produce the very best images. Feel free to contact us so we can decide on location (studio backdrop or a place of your chosing), outfits, whether to add a professional makeup artist to our collaboration, and ways to make your portrait uniquely yours!



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