Making the Most of Your Photo Shoot
Whether it be a family portrait, senior pictures or a layout for your favorite glamour mag, a photo shoot is a big deal! After all, the images captured are forever. So how do we make the most of our shoot? I have been on set for many, many photo shoots from professional models to fitness professionals to first-timers.
I will be discussing some things I have seen on set, as well as the advice from some of the top photographers in the business. In preparation for this article, I talked to many of the top photographers around the country. These photographers are from all genre including glamour, commercial, fitness, wedding, etc.
So you want to schedule a photo shoot? First things first, do your research!
1. Have a Vision
To find a photographer, get recommendations from people you trust. Find a photographer whose work you like. Next, come up with a “vision”. Discuss this vision with your photographer and be clear about what you are looking to capture. Consider time of year (beach scenes in Chicago won’t exactly be ideal in February) in your location and “vision”. Most photographers are happy to help streamline what you are looking for, offering tips and advice for location, etc.
2. Pick a Wardrobe
What will you wear? Keep in mind undergarments. Nothing is worse than a black thong peeping through those classy white slacks. Bring a small suitcase on wheels with your wardrobe in it or transfer clothing on hangers in garment bags. It is better to be over prepared than under, but if you and your photographer agreed on two outfits, plan on two! Have shoes, extra undergarments, safety pins, and accessories ready to go.
Makeup for photos is much different than everyday makeup. If you can, treat yourself to makeup and hair for the shoot (every photographer I asked while researching stressed the importance of Hair/Makeup/Nails). If nothing else, you will feel glamorous which will help to loosen you up in front of the camera. For most photos, your skin should be matte. Use a foundation with little or no SPF and avoid mineral makeup as you will get a flashback with both.
If you get your hair colored, make sure your color is fresh for the shoot; getting a touch-up a few days before is suggested. Don’t forget your nails—a manicure is helpful. If you get the right photographer with the right light and equipment, a stray cuticle will show on your images. To remove the cuticle or clean up unkempt nails can cost a photographer hours!
Many of the photographers I contacted noted posing and being “natural” as being one of the main issues amongst newbies. Relax, practice, look up photographs similar to what you are going to be doing and get in front of a mirror to practice. Being stiff does not translate well to an image. Many photographers will play music to relax the model.
Finally, never go to a photoshoot alone, unless the photographer is a family member or very good friend. If the photographer will not allow a Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist on set, that is a red flag. Be smart... be cautious. As a makeup artist, I am the “escort” on many photoshoots, you can refuse to shoot if you feel uncomfortable! These are all important questions to ask the photographer before you shoot.
A photographer’s job doesn’t stop with the photo session. They spend hours editing your images.
Be clear before your shoot about how much editing you want. No matter what style you are looking for, almost every photographer I contacted stressed the importance of communication with his or her client.
Tips from Photographers:
-Shave! Even if your hair is light, many times the hairs show and it’s not the best look.
-If you don’t normally tan, don’t start now. You don’t want to be burned (by the tanning bed) or blotchy (from a spray).
-Don’t wear deodorant (sounds weird, but deodorant can stain clothing and shows up on the pictures). Don’t worry, pictures don’t smell.
-Drink plenty of water to hydrate skin and reduce bloat.
- You should always see a photographer’s book to see what they can and more importantly can't shoot.
-Hair and make-up is a must, also stay away from cheesy outfits that look like something you would see in Spencer Gifts.
-Finger and toes should be done and looking nice. Clean the navel area as well. Make sure your spray tan is even. Teeth whiten, no deodorant or perfume. Do not get a waxing done the day of your shoot. Pick out clothes that you are comfortable in but will enhance your body all at the same time.
-First-time shoots take longer. If it is your first shoot, schedule 2-3 hours.
-Show off your personality! Listen to your photographer and take direction from them.
Special thanks to all of the photographers who contributed to this article.
All images provided courtesy of JSK Photography and Megan Melone (Makeup Artist)