Photoshoot 101

You’ve decided to invest in a photography session with the photographer of your dreams, and you’re either ready to hop in front of that camera or you’re very nervous. Either way is okay, and completely normal! I’ve been photographing people for nearly a decade, and in my time as a photographer I’ve met people who simply came alive the moment the camera was pointed at them, and others who were visibly very uncomfortable. I want to start off by saying that either is okay! If you’re tremendously nervous going into it, I recommend having a family member or friend take some practice shots of you before the shoot so you can get more comfortable and practice posing. Just know that your photographer is there to help and that if you have any questions, need posing ideas, etc. you should always ask them. When I photograph someone, I always offer to show them the photos as I take them so that they can give me feedback, see how they’re coming along, and make any changes they’d like to see. I find that this helps not only open up communication, but shows my models how beautiful they are, and it allows them to try different poses as the shoot progresses. Below are my favorite tips when being photographed: How to prepare, what to wear, things to bring, the role confidence plays, and having a fun shoot! If you have any additional advice, feel free to share in the comments below!

Selecting A Photographer

Pick a Photographer With a Photography Style You Love

If you book someone with a dark editing style, don’t expect them to know that you want your photos edited in a bright and airy style. Photographers, in general, do not give unedited images to clients, nor will they re-edit images over and over until the client is satisfied, so don’t just book an inexpensive photographer and expect to be able to edit/dictate what they do. By selecting someone with a portfolio you find beautiful and a style you know you love, you can rest assured that you will get similar looking images that you will be happy with.

Communicate Expectations

During the consultation/meeting with the photographer, tell them what you want! If you have any ideas for the theme, color scheme, location, time of day, etc. let the photographer know so they can do their best to give you what you want. If it isn’t something they are capable of (say for instance you want underwater shots of your newborn’s baptism and they don’t have the proper equipment for that), or something they don’t do (some photographer don’t do weddings or birth photos for instance), they can let you know before you book.

-If you have any inspiration of the type of shots, poses, or lighting you’d like, bring that with you as well and discuss it with the photographer. While a good photographer won’t copy another’s work, they can get a better understanding of what you’d like, and you can come up with something totally unique together!

-Do you want them to edit your weight? Straighten your teeth? Whiten your smile? Change your hair color? Ask if this is something they do before booking, as most photographers don’t do heavy editing and if a client requests it, they have to outsource it to an editing team which will cost you extra.

-If you have a special request like wanting to have your freckles removed, or your eye color changed, let them know that before hand too, otherwise many photographers just enhance your natural beauty instead of making you look like a different person. Again, select a photographer with lots of examples of their work, so you can ensure you like their quality, style of photography, editing style, etc.

-Are you looking for specific props or backdrops? If so, your photographer may have something similar, if not you will have time to find and order something suitable.

Read the Contract You Are Given

Read their contract before signing as well. Contracts are legally binding agreements between photographers and their clients that outline when you can expect your images to be delivered, payment deadlines, how many photos you will receive, any extras that come in the package such as albums or prints (which are generally sold separately), how you’re allowed to use the photos (on social media, if you’re allowed to enter them into contests, etc.), whether or not you’re allowed to manipulate, edit, or crop the photos, how many outfit changes or locations you will be shooting at, etc. Contracts exist to ensure that you and the photographer are protected and that both parties get what is expected from the other person, in a timely manner. Should any issues arise, refer to the contract and know that it sets the expectations for your shoot.

Preparing For Your Photoshoot

If you’ll be doing your own hair and makeup for the shoot, do a test of it to ensure you love your look if you’re trying something new. There’s nothing wrong with looking like you do any other day of the week, I personally love those shoots because they’re so authentic. Many people like to treat their shoot as a special event and get dolled up before it, which is absolutely wonderful too! A few weeks out is a great time to get a haircut too, because it gives your hair time to look lived in, and not too freshly cut.

-Start a moisturizing routine if you don’t have one already to ensure your skin is bright and hydrated for your shoot.

-If you want to whiten your teeth before your photoshoot, 4-6 weeks should be plenty of time to brighten a few shades using gentle grocery store whitening strips, although a good photographer can edit and whiten your teeth a bit in photoshop.

-Plan your outfits and have them properly tailored. Few things disrupts a photo as easily as ill-fitting clothing does.

The Week to the Day Before

-Tell your photographer what you will be wearing (colors, styles, prints, etc.) so that they can get a better idea and scout out the location for areas that will compliment your wardrobe.

-If you wax, wax your face, upper lip, eye brows, etc.

-Don’t try new haircuts, hair colors, facial treatments, cleansers, cleanses, etc. If you don’t like it, don’t react well to it, or if you breakout, you may not have enough time to fix the problem!

-Get a manicure and pedicure the day before, or do it yourself.

-Get a good night of sleep, at least 8 hours. You’ll feel better, look well rested, and have more energy.

-Please don’t show up hung over. That is to say, don’t get drunk/high the night before. You’ll look haggard and tired in your photos, and you don’t want that!

-Keep drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day, and avoid salty and sugary, or fried foods as they can cause bloating.

-Set a few alarms to ensure you wake up on time and that you arrive to your shoot on time.

The Day Of

-Be on time! Photographers will not give you extra time if you’re late. If you book 3 hours of their time and show up an hour late, you’ll only have 2 hours of shooting time (which is why reading the contract is so important!), and you won’t get a refund for the time you weren’t there on time.

-Take a little extra time to get ready and pamper yourself; give yourself time to relax and have fun! Go through your routine as usual, and spend some time on yourself – today is all about you (and anyone else your being photographed with!)

-Moisturize with a gentle lotion or oil (I use organic, virgin coconut oil) to make sure your skin isn’t dry looking, focus on the apples of your cheeks (the squishy parts that look and feel rounder when you smile), as this is a common dry area for people, as is around the nose/nostrils.

-Take care to clean dirt from under your nails (toenails too, especially if you’re wearing shoes that show your toes)

-If you shave, don’t forget to shave and tees unwanted hair

-Ensure your nail polish (if you’re wearing any) isn’t chipped

-A quick clear coat of nail polish and a gentle file to even nail edges can help you look even more put together

-Floss and brush your teeth before hand to ensure your lunch isn’t visible!

-Bring chapstick! It will help your lips look fuller, softer, and will make smiling more comfortable.

-Steam or iron your outfit(s), you’ll look polished and you won’t have to worry about a wrinkled outfit taking away from your big, beautiful smile!

-Check the corners of your eyes for “eye goop”, and your nose for “clingers” before your shoot begins. I can’t tell you how often I have to edit these things out for clients haha


A friend, family member, significant other, or parent/guardian. Photoshoots are always more fun with more people, however make sure that your guest knows not to disrupt the photographer. There are no cell phones allowed to take photos while we are shooting. For anyone under the age of 18, I require them to bring a parent or guardian (although I’ve never had anyone’s parents not want to come along haha)

-Oil Blotting sheets can do wonders if your face starts to look oily during a shoot

-Chapstick (see above)

-Fashion Tape

-Appropriate outfit changes, plus one or two extra in case you make a last minute change( Only one is required unless you paid for additional outfit change.

-Lint roller to remove lint, dust, pet hair, etc. from clothing

-Bobby pins, headbands, hair ties, hair brush or comb, hair spray/gel, etc. in case it’s windy and your hair becomes tussled.

-Bring accessories you can easily pop on and off like hats, jackets, scarves, etc. to help mix-up your looks without having to take the time to change the entire outfit.

-Drinks or snacks are great if your shoot will be more than an hour or two, but just remember you don’t want to feel bloated or need to use the bathroom more than is necessary during your photoshoot