Our clients sign up for portrait sessions for an array of reasons–their company adds a new employee to the roster and needs an updated photo of the team; a female engineer wins an award for being one of the top professionals in her industry and needs a headshot for the awards program; a writer/actress needs photos for her website; or someone sends a loved one in for their first professional portraits as a gift. Whatever the reason, the first time in a photography studio or doing a photoshoot with a professional photographer can be a little daunting. While a good professional photographer will try to put you at ease and give you some helpful instruction, we’ve made a list of a few things you can do to prepare before you go.

Here’s a little video Nick grabbed when we did Abby & Paul’s engagement shoot at Rock Creek Park and Jefferson Memorial last October.

Tips for Prepping Before a Shoot

1. Get some sleep – Makeup and a little Photoshop can make a world of difference, but nothing beats those under eye circles and tired eyes like a good night’s sleep! Even if you can’t get a lot of rest the day before, try to get at least 8-10 hours for several nights the week of your shoot.

2. Do some research – Try to find some examples of what you like and write down a few words that describe what you like about each one. Send them to your photographer in advance. Don’t expect an exact copy–your photographer needs some creative license and will have his or her own style–but most photographers can re-create a look or feel of a favorite photo using a similar lighting set up and editing style.

3. Have a soundtrack – If you’re going in for a studio shoot, your photographer will probably have some music on to help put you at ease. If you don’t have a favorite playlist that you can bring, send along some of your music favorites or just have them in mind when the time comes to set the mood. Music makes all the difference between bringing out your inner model and feeling self-conscious. If you’re outside and really want some mood music, have no fear! We have the UE Logitech Mobile Boombox that can Bluetooth sync with any portable music player.

4. Wear makeup, but don’t overdo it – It is true that taking photos with a 21+ megapixel lens will capture some of your flaws as well as your perfections, so a little makeup helps with those blemishes and fine lines. That doesn’t mean you need to cake it on or wear heavy foundation or eye liner. Photoshop allows us to apply a little makeup as needed to smooth things out, which is really helpful for dark circles or for men who don’t have powder readily available. Go with your natural look if you’re having trouble deciding how much to wear.

5. Practice in front of a mirror – Really. It helps you to know what face you’re making and what it feels like when you nail that Top Model expression.

6. Have Fun! – The gift of digital photography is that if you don’t get a perfect look for every shot. Don’t worry if you blink or look a little crazy in a few shots. Just focus on enjoying the time to try something creative and be as open to the experience as possible.

We look forward to portrait sessions because you can be relaxed and have time for creativity. Book your portrait session today (or book one for a friend!) by shooting us an email on our contact page!