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I'll start out by saying that plenty of rest and hydration is the best preparation for any photo shoot.  It may be tough to fully address all the items on this list before your session, but, accomplishing even some of these will greatly impact the resulting images.


1. Get plenty of rest the night before your photo session. 


2. Eat!  Be sure to eat something before you leave for your session so you're not hungry during the shoot.  I can't stress this enough.  You will look better, be more focused, and have the energy throughout the shoot.  This is especially important for children. A great idea would be to bring crackers, nutrition bar, etc.; but stay away from chocolate or colored items/drinks, etc. You wouldn't want to color the lips, tongue, and teeth.  Try to avoid alcohol the night before your session.  Alcohol tends to make the face "puffy".


3. Make-up:  You want to achieve a natural even skin tone, and be sure to cover blemishes.  If you’re having your makeup done by a makeup artist, have your face clean, makeup free.


4. Fingers and toes should be clean and groomed.  Nails should be a natural color (nude, french, light-pink, etc.) for model/actor headshots and portfolios; and any color for family portraits, etc.  Although, for all, you want to be careful your nail color doesn't detract from you and your face as the primary subject.  The focus of a viewer naturally gravitates first to laud vibrant colors, then secondly to the rest of the photo.


5. For men, all facial hair should be groomed.  If you wish to have a few "rough" shots and then shave to include a few shots with a smoother look, please bring your shaving kit and mention this to the photographer before the shoot.


6. Facials and haircuts should be done a week or so before the shoot date - never the night before your session.  Ladies, have your under arm area shaved.  The same would apply to the bikini area if that area will be exposed


7. For all, be sure eyebrows are groomed, teeth are clean, and lips are not dry.  If necessary, please bring a lip balm/moisturizer with you.  Moist lips always look better.


8. Come hair-ready and bring a brush, comb, etc. for touching up during the shoot.  Hair and Make-up professionals are recommended for best results and are available for an additional cost.


9. Wardrobe: A good rule-of-thumb is to try and wear clothing that doesn't detract from your face:  Your clothes should be free of logos.  You would also want to stay away from large busy prints and loud vibrant colors, Similar to nails, loud colors usually command the viewer's attention, etc.  You should discuss wardrobe with me before the shoot.


10. I will put this tip on its own bullet point as it is so important. Be sure all clothes are lint and hair free.  I cannot stress this enough.  All you intend to wear should be laid out, clean and ironed the night before.  Wrinkle-free clothing will help make your image much more professional.


If you see ideas in magazines, etc. that really attract your attention, feel free to bring those clipping or phone pics to your session.  How you feel about photography, what moves you and what you gravitate to provides much insight into who you are and your expectations.  Never hesitate to share your ideas with me. 


Headshots are a bit different, as most are shot in natural light and from the chest up.  These are pretty straight forward; with colors, venues, and expressions as the core focus.


Here are a few ideas to assist you when you are looking for a photographer. A single image taken with skill can reveal some of the most intimate feelings and emotions between you and your friends and family.  The challenge is to get the best photographer for the task.

  • Ask your friends which professional they used and look at their albums or portfolios.
  • Decide what style of photography you prefer.  For instance, are you looking at traditional poses, or would you prefer more natural looking photos, or perhaps a more glamour approach to the photos.  Some photographers are better at one style more than the other, so it is important that you know what your preferred style is.
  • Review their photos for innovativeness, quality and the style you like.  It is also important that you feel comfortable with your final choice too.  If you feel uncomfortable, you will not look relaxed in the photos that they are taking.  Don’t always go for the cheapest option either, it is sometimes better to go for a quality professional but take a cheaper package with them.  After all you can’t redo the photos later if you don’t like them.
  • Make sure you are aware of what you are paying for.  Does payment include a disk of all photos, how many hours does it include, does it include an album and is there some photo shopping done on the photos afterwards.
  • Check out magazines for specific shots that you like and make sure that you photographer understands what you are looking for.  Put you requirements in writing so that there are no misunderstandings.
  • Lastly, your chosen professional needs to be as excited as you to be a part of your special day and not have an attitude of being bored or inconvenienced.

Myth 1 – To be a photographer, you just press a button, right?

Many believe with the clever technology of digital cameras today you simply point and shoot; however, this is simply not the case. You can have the best camera in the world but if you only use it on auto you might as well own a compact.


Myth 2 – Anyone with a nice or expensive camera can be a pro

Being a professional photographer is more than just the gear and equipment we own. It is about running a business and making a living to survive not just taking pretty photographs.


Myth 3 – When in doubt, 1/125sec @ f8 always works

No it will not always work. Professionals know how to handle lighting situations and the problems you may encounter to still get the shot. Particularly at a wedding, there will be no second chances so you best know how to capture the dark church to the bright midday sun.


Myth 4 – All pro photographers act in a professional manner

Unfortunately not all professional photographers know or understand that to be a professional you are servicing the needs of a client and not your hobby. A true professional knows how to act and handle people in most situations that may arise.