Tips from a photographer how to prepare for a photoshoot

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notebook book with photoshoot preparation checklist written on it

Before your professional photoshoot there is a number of things that I recommend my clients prepare ahead of time. This list of things includes both reminders as well as tips on things to do prior which will make sure you have a successful photoshoot.

On the day of your photoshoot is is common to feel nervous or anxious. Having you photo taken professionally can be daunting. So referring to this list in the lead up to your photography session will make you feel at ease and organised, and hopefully save you a mad rush that morning trying to find or remember things.

Hair

I recommend clean dry hair for shoot day. Hair is the top of the list because for most people you will need to prepare the day before by washing it.

I also remind my clients to touch up their roots or get a fresh colour about three days before the shoot. This can make a huge difference to your final images as well as how you feel on the day.

Depending what type of shoot you have booked – we may have planned and organised a hair stylist for you, or you may decide to do it yourself. These details are covered in the lead up to your session.

If you are doing it yourself that day make sure you leave yourself enough time in the morning to style it, making sure you are happy with it before the shoot. I recommend sticking to a style you know and are comfortable doing – now is not the time for trying new ideas that may not work or stress you out.

Face

Similarly – professional makeup may be booked for your shoot. If so the following preparation should be done.

Please come with a clean bare face, you can use your regular moisturiser on the day. Eyelashes are included so there is no need to get extension or wear your own false ones. My makeup artist is amazingly talented and has everything needed to glam you up. They are sent your mood board so they are on the same page with what look we are going for.

Enrica is one of my preferred artists visit her website to see some of her amazing work. 

If you are sourcing your own makeup artist or doing your own makeup – I recommend planning your morning to allow enough time to do so.

I also recommend exfoliating your face two days before your shoot to give you a smooth base.

Eyebrows are often forgotten so here is your reminder. It’s a great idea to get your brows waxed or threaded a few days before your shoot to allow the skin to settle.

hands with moisturiser in the shape of a love heart in it's palm

Skin

Makeup can work wonders but there are also a few beauty basics that will make a difference on the day to your face and skin. 

Make sure your body is well moisturised in the weeks leading up to your photo session by making it part for your daily routine a few days before. Drinking plenty of water will also help.

If you wax make your body make your appointment a few days before your shoot so any redness in those areas can calm down. If you shave you can do so the night before.

If you usually sport a spray tan – book yourself one a couple of days before. If you are going without a tan please make sure you exfoliate any older ones away, as you will see old spray tans in your photos.

Hands

Hands are often forgotten but usually present in final images. If you are in the mood to pamper yourself book in a manicure and pedicure. You certainly don’t need false nails. Simply making sure that your hands are moisturised and nails are neat and even, will make a difference to those photos where your hands are visible in poses. If wearing no shoes or open shoes the same principle goes for toe nails and feet.

Your photoshoot brief will include a shot list which will indicate what types of poses and photos we will be creating, and what parts of your body will be visible. 

Wardrobe

For portrait or branding sessions with me you will be sent a styling guide with a list of what items you need to bring for your shoot. During our planning meeting we would have planned in full each outfit on your mood board. Make sure that the night before all items on that list are packed.

Don’t forget to wash, dry clean or lint roll anything that needs it. Try and keep all clothing flat to avoid getting creases on the way to the studio or location.

If you are booked in for a headshot photoshoot please read ” What to wear for headshots? A simple guide” for tips and inspiration on what to wear.

One thing that is sometimes forgotten is the correct under garments. Be sure to pack underwear and bras that will not show under your clothing.

What to bring

mood board made for a client names michelle with her photoshoot plan, wardrobe and makeup
Example of a clients mood board – I do not own the images used for inspiration

On the day of the shoot there are a few things I recommend packing along with your wardrobe items.

  • bring water bottles if your shooting on location
  • snacks for yourself
  • comfy slippers or slides to wear when we are not shooting
  • a dressing gown to wear so makeup and hair don’t get ruined
  • any inspiration images or ideas that you have

Bad weather

If the weather forecast isn’t looking too great at your shooting location I will be in touch the day before to discuss with you. If you have any concerns about shooting outdoors always reach out. I will always have a backup plan or can usually reschedule if needed.

Plan your journey

One of the most stressful parts of a photoshoot can be getting there. I will always provide you with a full address and directions of where to meet me along with parking information.

A really important thing to plan is enough time to get organised on the day of the shoot so you can arrive at the location on time. Plan your journey the night before so you know what time you need to leave and have the right directions already programmed into your Google maps. You will feel comfortable knowing where you need to be the next day and hopefully ease any worry.

Sleep, drink and eat

These are very self explanatory and can make or break your photoshoot experience.

Make sure that you get a good nights sleep the night before your scheduled shoot. Nobody wants to be tired during their shoot or looking tired. Feeling well rested will create a much better mindset and mood for your photoshoot. You will be surprised how much energy you need on the day, so rest up!

Being well hydrated leading up to your photo session as well as on the day and throughout it is a game changer. Your skin and will thank you and so will your body. There can be a lot of standing under hot lighting if you are photographed in studio so being hydrated will help you deal with those conditions.

Please make sure that you eat before your photoshoot! This one is a must. If you are coming in for a portrait photography with hair and makeup and custom photoshoot you are in for a big few hours. It is very exciting and fun, but does require a lot of energy. Eat before your session and snack throughout to make sure you are fuelled and feeling good.

Photoshoot preparation list – summarised

A few days before your photoshoot

  • Touch up your hair colour or roots
  • Get any waxing appointments (face and body) done
  • Moisturise you body and face daily
  • Exfoliate your face, as well as any old fake tan

A couple of days before your photoshoot

  • Spray tan appointment
  • Wash or dry clean any garments that need it
  • Manicure and or pedicure appointment

The day before your photoshoot

  • Pack your all wardrobe items, or lay out what you will wear
  • Pack water, snacks, dressing gown and slippers
  • Wash and dry hair
  • Shave
  • Moisturise your body and face
  • Plan your morning and journey to your photoshoot
  • Get a good nights sleep

The day of your photoshoot

  • Clean face with moisturiser
  • Hair and makeup if doing it yourself
  • Eat and drink water before your arrive
  • Leave on time and double check you have everything!

I hope that these tips are helpful and make you feel prepared. Following this guide will make sure you get the best photos and feel confident during your photoshoot. You can always reach out to me at any stage before your photoshoot with questions. 

Portrait Photography

If you would like to have a custom portrait session and walk away with photos that you love head over to my Portrait Photography page to find out more. If you’re a creative or business owner check out my Headshot or Personal Branding pages for more details. Ready to book? Get in touch over on the contact page, or book now.

Angela Pezzimenti Photography

Angela is a professional photographer based in Melbourne specialising in portraits, family mini sessionsheadshots and personal branding photos.