Taking just a little time in preparing for your photo shoot can take your photos from pretty to incredible! And if you’ve just booked your photo shoot, I bet you’re feeling pretty excited at the prospect of making brand new memories to keep. As well you should: a photo shoot is more than just an hour or two in front of the lens, it’s the chance to capture moments, milestones and memories of your family, your loved ones and your friends to treasure. And just a little planning for your shoot can go a long way. Read these 9 handy tips on preparing for your photo shoot and make those photographs something truly special.
1. When is a good time to book your photo shoot?
I say the earlier the better! Get in touch with the photographer of your choice at least 6-8 weeks prior to the date that you would like to have the shoot done, to make sure your photographer will have availability. An important thing to consider when booking your shoot is to have a look at the photographer’s portfolio. This will help you decide whether you like their style as well as giving you ideas for your own shoot.
If you’re planning on getting your hair, makeup and nails done, now is a good time to book your appointments. Read on to see when I advise having these done.
2. Preparing for your newborn photo shoot
Are you an expectant mother? I’d advise planning for your newborn shoot a few weeks before baby’s arrival. Newborn shoots are best done when baby is younger than 10 days old as they sleep and feed, sleep and feed. It’s easy to capture some great photos of a tiny baby who is snoozing away than if baby is a few weeks old and more alert. Booking in advance will also ensure you can secure a booking with your photographer rather than be disappointed because they don’t have availability. Looking for more tips on doing a shoot with a newborn? Take a look at this handy guide.
3. Get your photographer in the picture
When preparing for your photo shoot, discuss your ideas regarding the shoot with your photographer. I find it useful to know what results a client is looking for with their photo shoot and whether this can be achieved. To help meet or manage their expectations, I send my clients a pre-photo shoot form. This gives them a chance to tell me about what shots they really want, how they plan to use the photos (which will help me know what kind of shot to take), whether it’s for a special occasion and how much direction they need during the shoot.
4. Choose a great location for your shoot
I’m no real estate agent, but the saying, “Location, location, location!” is true, particularly with making memories. Where you have your photo shoot done can have a massive impact on the results of the shoot. Decide upfront what feel you want when preparing for your photo shoot. Want a fairytale feel? Consider a forest or a nature reserve with a lake. Want something edgy and vibey? Look for a spot with graffiti or lots of glass and concrete. Go all out and try a vintage feel, perhaps at an airfield and use props like old suitcases, maps and a captain’s uniform. If you’re stuck on ideas on where to have your shoot, I’ve scouted 18 of Pretoria’s top venues for a shoot for you.
5. Two weeks before your photo shoot
Planning on having your hair cut? Now is a good time to have this done to allow your hair to settle after being cut and give you time to get used to styling it if you’re doing your own hair on the day of the shoot.
Consider your props you’d like to use. Little details can really take a photo shoot from boring to brilliant. From a picnic basket, roses and a bottle of champagne for a couple’s photo shoot to fun hats and outfits for a family shoot, let your imagination go wild! Think about incorporating bubbles, hats, snacks, a vintage bicycle, old suitcases and the like.
6. A week before your photoshoot
Have you decided what you will wear to your shoot? This is often the biggest part of preparing for your photo shoot. Some advice I give to my clients for family shoots is to lay out what every family member will wear in the shoot to see whether the outfits will complement one another. Try to avoid wearing colours that clash, which have large logos, brand names or large prints. Also, avoid wearing very bright colours as these can steal the attention in the shot and cause reflection on your neck and face. Keep it simple – plain colours work well if there are several people in the shot. Use complementary colours or varying hues of the same colour. The De Jagers went with a red, white and blue theme, using accessories, jackets and hats to completely change the look and feel during the shoot.
Stuck for ideas on an outfit? Take a look at my Ultimate Guide on What to Wear to A Photo Shoot or trawl through Pinterest for ideas.
Ladies, give some thought to whether your underwear will work with your chosen outfit – you don’t want your bra straps peeking through. If you’re planning on wearing a strapless top, make sure you wear a strapless bra to avoid bra lines.
7. The week of your photo shoot
Try get as much sleep as possible. The amount of sleep you have can have a profound effect on your skin and overall appearance. Getting enough sleep means your skin has time to repair itself, which means you’ll look fresh and bright-eyed for your shoot. The most common thing I have to edit out on photos? Taking out the dark circles under people’s eyes.
Now is the time to go that extra mile and get your nails and eyebrows done. Have a facial, if you’d like. A little grooming can make a big difference and boost your confidence.
Worried you’re going to feel awkward in front of the camera? Don’t be. In the pre-photo shoot form I send to my clients, I ask whether they want a lot of direction on posing or if they’re happy for me to capture them in the moment. If you’re nervous about how to stand, read this blog post or do some research on Pinterest for great posing ideas. Most of all, don’t overthink this – it’s my job as your photographer to help you relax if you’re nervous and help you to interact with me and the camera to get the best results. Be yourself, let your personality shine through.
8. The day before your photo shoot
Preparing for your shoot doesn’t need to be rushed or stressful. If you’re bringing additional outfits or props, pack a bag the night before. This way you won’t rush around on the day trying to remember where everything is and feeling flustered or run late for your photo shoot. If you’re bringing your children to the shoot, make sure to pack snacks, their favourite toys and a few extra items of clothing – kids attract dirt!
9. The day of your photo shoot
If you’re planning on getting your hair done for your shoot, book your appointment with enough time to allow you to get home, get ready and make it to the photo shoot without rushing. Set aside a little extra time if you’re doing your makeup yourself so that you can add a little extra va-va-voom, but don’t be too extravagant with the eyeliner and the lipstick. Keep your makeup looking natural, enhancing your best features.
Leave 15 minutes early for your shoot. This will help if there are any unforeseen delays such as traffic jams. It’s no fun to arrive at your shoot feeling stressed and flustered. Being on time means you’ll be relaxed and it will give you a chance to meet with your photographer before you start shooting. It will also give you the best light to be on time. I plan each photo shoot to ensure we have the right light and arriving late will shorten the amount of time available to capture the best photos for you.
6 quick tips to get the best results from your photo shoot
- Got red eyes? Grab some eyedrops before your shoot starts.
- Doing a maternity shoot? Pregnant moms, don’t forget to moisturise your belly!
- Moms and dads, be prepared that little ones will get dirty during a shoot. Bring facecloths to wipe away any mud/stains. Also, bring an extra reserve of patience. Kids know when to time their meltdowns and getting panicked when your kiddo is freaking out will only make the situation worse. Let them play in front of the lens and if they aren’t happy to pose or do a particular shot, let them be and we’ll come back to it in a bit. For more tips on doing a shoot with kids, check out this helpful post.
- Guys, make sure you shave the day before, or trim your beard. Use a little extra moisturisor on the day to deal with any dry, flaky skin.
- Planning to wear heels to your shoot? Bring an extra pair of flat shoes to the venue to walk around in and save your feet! You can change back to the shoes you want to wear for the shoot just before I start shooting.
- Don’t forget the touch ups! Bring lipgloss or lipstick to reapply during your shoot as well as a small mirror.
Let’s get down to preparing for your photo shoot
I’d love to do a family photo shoot with you and your loved ones! To book, simply contact me here or pop me an email. And don’t forget to download the checklist I’ve created to help you with preparing for your photo shoot!