Feb 4 2011

Preparation for your shoot

The hard part is over. You’ve chosen your photographer. How else can you make sure you will get the most out of your photoshoot? Here are several things we recommend you do in preparation of your portrait session.

  • Talk to us. If you have any questions at all as to how the shoot will go, please give us a call. We also like to get a feel for each client’s unique style, so let us know what you have in mind. Playful, classic, contemporary, edgy… Work with us and let us help you choose the perfect location and feel for your shoot so that we can get just the look and feel that you want in your photos.
  • For your formal portrait session: We recommend solid, fairly neutral colors — avoid bright whites or blacks. Also, avoid busy patterns which will detract from your face, although subdued patterns are fine. Please, no sleeveless shirts (even if you have beautiful armpits). If you want to wear an armless or strapless gown, consider bringing a matching shawl as an option. Pants are universally better than shorts for formal portraits. Like senior portraits, glamour sessions have different guidelines and we discuss those below.
  • For your Senior portrait session: Graduating Seniors may break the rules a little and bring an outfit that says “THIS is me!”, along with any outfits for sports or activities from school.  But definitely bring one complete matching outfit that conforms to the formal portrait guidelines as well. Think of some ideas for location, setting, time of day, props, and what YOU want to convey and run it by us. The more descriptive you are, the more likely we can help you capture that look.
  • For group portraits: follow the advice above. The most polished group photos generally contain variations on a single color. Above all, be sure to choose a complimentary color palette (you don’t want colors to clash!) and have everyone stick with it, especially for the shirts. Please, do not wear shorts for group shots (obvious exceptions being sports teams, etc). Also, decide on the level of formality you’d like to accomplish and have everyone dress accordingly. Uncle Bob is going to look a little silly standing there in his tux if everyone else wore jeans. (Of course, that may be exactly what you’re going for!) In front of a camera, shiny fabrics reflect a lot of light even if they’re dark, so keep that in mind regarding group shots.

Ooooh, Shiny!


  • For your fashion or glamour shoot: A week before your shoot, you should refresh color in your roots, and tan out any lines as best as possible. The day before (or better yet, two days), avoid foods that cause water retention or swelling. These include salty and greasy food, caffeine, and alcohol. Avoid any skin peeling products the day before, or they may cause issues with peeling which show up under photographic flashes. Fingernails and toenails should be manicured, the same length, and colors should be natural, or match the outfits discussed with us previously. On the day of the shoot, exfoliate your skin (gently), but be careful using artificial tanning with any sort of scrub brushes as it can leave strange streaks and blotches. Wear loose clothing with no straps or elastic anywhere you plan on showing any skin (including under sheer outfits). It can take hours for strap marks to fade, which show up as unsightly dark red lines on your otherwise beautiful skin. Also make sure any unsightly body hair is removed on any areas that will be exposed but don’t try any untested methods which might cause irritation. On the night before and the morning of the shoot, drink a lot of water and keep sipping during the day. The better you’re hydrated, the better you will look and feel. Eat normally, avoiding the foods above, so that you’re comfortable but not too full. Visit your make-up artist shortly before the shoot, or bring your MUA with you. Also, bring some upbeat tunes you like — we will have a CD player or ipod speakers available.
  • Be yourself. Are you really into hockey? Books? Music? Bring props! Would it just not be a family picture without Lassie & Spot? No problem, we love pets (but please keep them under control — there will be a lot of expensive equipment around). Maybe you’d like to have your session somewhere funky like a graveyard, or edgy against a graffiti-filled wall, or geeky in a laboratory, or out in nature relaxing at your campsite. Run it by us–the more inventive the idea, the better!  (Remember, we must always have permission to shoot at the locations you choose.)

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