A Picture’s Worth 1000 words: Prepping for Photo Shoots

5 Nov

Pictures last a lifetime, so you want to ensure you look your best.  Whether you are taking pictures for your portfolio, a special occasion such as a wedding or bar mitzvah or holiday photos, you want to spend some time preparing to insure you get the best shots.   There is a lot that goes into preparing for pictures. I enlisted the help of talented Arizona photographer Angela Dixon Cook, Owner of  Lights, Camera Love Photography,  to develop some tips you can use to help prepare for your next photo shoot. 

One week Prior:  

  • This is your opportunity to coordinate everything you need, including clothing, accessories, supplies, props, etc.  When in doubt, bring it.  Angela Dixon Cook often encourages her clients to bring props even if they are not sure how they might be used.  Photographers often think outside the box and can find ways of incorporating items.
  • Review the photographer’s website to get an idea of things they have done in the past.  This will help you gather ideas for your shoot. 
  • Follow-up with your photographer to find out if there is anything special they would like from you.  If possible, have clothing hung up with coordinated accessories to take with you and plan to change once you arrive.  Always bring a few extra outfits.  
  • Many photographers, including Cook, find it helpful if you pull out magazine clips or pictures you like to bring with you.  This will give them an idea of what you are drawn to and provide a starting point. 
  • Have haircut and colored if necessary. 
  • Schedule a trial run with your make-up artist and/or hair stylist.
  • Drink lots of water.  Water helps hydrate your skin and insures you have that healthy glow.

48 hours prior:

  • Complete any necessary waxing.
  • Spray tan if desired.
  • Focus on diet, particularly if you are shooting any fitness or bathing suit wear.  Avoid high sodium foods or other things that might cause bloating.  In addition, now is a good time to avoid alcohol.
  • A good microdermabrasion is helpful.  There are many at-home varieties you can use.  This will freshen up the tone of your skins and allow you to look your best on film.  If you panic because all of the sudden you have a pimple, leave it alone!  Photographers can touch up small blemishes easily. 
  • Practice, practice practice!  You might feel silly in front of the mirror trying on different smiles, but this will help you feel more comfortable.  Cook recommends you try a variety of different facial expression to see what looks good on you.  This will help you feel more natural on camera.

24 hours Prior:

  • Schedule your manicure and/or pedicure (but make sure they don’t exfoliate your legs if you have spray tanned).
  • Get a good night’s rest! 
  • Confirm with your photographer the location and appointment time.
  • If you exercise, get a good work-out in.  This will help you relax and feel fit, ready to be on camera.

The Day of the shoot:

  • Show up a few minutes early.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the photographer for directions.  Typically they have a good idea of what works best on camera.  In addition, if you want something special (a prop in the picture, a certain look to be captured) make sure you communicate that.
  • Most importantly, be yourself!  Don’t be afraid to be silly, laugh, and show your personality. Be confident.  You can do this, just relax and enjoy the experience.  Let the photographer worry about the details.

Whether you are a novice in front of the camera or a pro it always helps to be prepared and relaxed.  If you happen to be pursuing a career in something that will involve many photo sessions, do not get discouraged.  Practice makes perfect so give yourself some space to learn.  Finally, one more tip I have to throw in, if you are shooting with children bring something to bribe them with!  Trust me,  you’ll thank me for this later. 

Angela Cook, Owner/Photographer at Lights, Camera, Love Photography can be contacted at Angela@LCLphoto.com or visit her website at www.lclphoto.com

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