Unless you're in front of a camera for a living, hopping in front of that lens can be a little daunting. I totally get it, but if we're anything alike, a little prep and preview can go a long way when it comes to calming those pre-shoot jitters.
My hope is that you use this Prep Guide in any way you'd like to feel as prepared as you want to be, and to keep those weeks or days leading up to your shoot worry-free. Enjoy!
Locations are oh so important, but it's more than just picking a stunning backdrop. The setting, the weather, the location, it all affects your mood, which also drastically affects the mood of your photos. Make sure wherever you choose, whether it's a foggy mountain, a sun-drenched field, a hike, a cafe, your kitchen, or the like, you're surrounded by what you love.
Think about your ideal vibe ahead of time, e.g. outdoorsy with forests and/or mountains, indoors and cozy and cuddly, city scenes and architecture, etc. We can hash out the details later, but permits can occasionally be required in specific locations, which is why it's good to plan ahead.
One of the biggest mistakes I find a lot of people making is ruling out locations because they don't think it's nice or classy enough. Small and intimate spaces can make some of the best albums too, and you'd be surprised what I can do with a camera to capture your vision ;) So instead of ruling out a random wall, ask me about it! I'm sure we can make something work.
What to Wear
Just be YOU
I'll give you the typical do's and don'ts below, but one thing I stress the most with clients is to wear what you feel comfortable and confident in, whether it's a pair of ripped jeans and a tank, or a flowy sundress, you do you, my friend. Because YOU is who I hope to capture. Now for the foolproof what-to-wear tips:
Stick to solid colors or minimal designs so the first thing we notice is YOU. Neutrals are always a good way to go. Think blush, creams, soft blues, or gray! Prints are ok as long as you don't go overboard. I still advise against stripes (they can play funny tricks on the eye and horizontal stripes can be unflattering through a lens), but subtle prints are a-okay! And avoid skinny spaghetti straps.
If you're doing a family or couple's shoot, make sure to coordinate, but don't go overboard! Pick three or so colors, and assign them to different pieces of clothing for each person.
Don't wear neon!! That's my one hard rule. You'll thank me later.
Stay Comfy, Dress Smart!
If the dress is a little too short and you're worried about offering others a free show, it'll show all over your face, and we don't want that! Wear something you won't be worried about. If your outfit requires heels, bring a second pair of shoes just in case. If we're doing an adventure shoot, bringing along a good pair of tennis shoes, converse, or the like is a good rule of thumb.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes. If they accentuate areas you're not too keen on, you probably won't be keen on the photos. Stick with the two C's: Comfy and Cute!
Just because you want to be comfortable in your clothes, doesn't mean you can't hit up the mall! Find an outfit you're stoked about, and wear your brand new purchase (just make sure you're comfortable in it!)! You feel good, you look good.
Bring Multiple Outfits!
If you can't narrow down your wardrobe, heck, bring it all. I can't always guarentee you'll get to shoot multiple outfits, but it's great to be prepared!! Once you get on-site, you'll get a good feel for the vibe and it'll probably help you decide on your outfits. Multiple outfit changes are not a problem if we plan for it ahead of time, but keep in mind that we're probably going to be pretty mobile once we get there, so the less extra weight and items the better!
Such an important thing to consider. If you live in the city but we're headed to the mountains, you might get a little chilly in the t-shirt and jeans you have on. Dress accordingly, bring layers, and as stated above, a few outfits is never a bad idea!
The Pamper Do's and Don'ts
MAKEUP & HAIR
Wear your hair any freaking way you'd like, but if you'd like a little direction, I tend to advise my clients to wear their hair down with soft waves or curls. I love capturing you for you, so I'm a big fan of looking like your true self and not going too overboard with the youtube tutorials. A slight wave will also account for any moisture in the air that could crimp up that stick straight hair you had that morning!
Schedule your hair appointment closer to your photoshoot date so it's fresh and vibrant. It might mean you go a couple extra days or weeks without a touch-up but your photos will thank you! Put the styling you're already paying for to good use!
ENGAGEMENTS: It's a prime time to test out your hair trial! Book your trial appointment right before the shoot.
The only thing I commonly advise to avoid is a sleek pony (unless we're doing a high-fashion shoot).
Again, I always advise a natural look. Do your makeup how you would going on a fancy lunch date.
If you'd like to get your hair or makeup professionally done, I'd be happy to recommend you to those I've worked with that do stunning work!
Don't forget to moisturize! Dry skin happens, but a little face lotion can go a long way! Bring some along, and bring chapstick while you're at it! You never know, ya know?
Go get that manicure you've been wanting! (Yes, guys and girls!) Especially if your shoot involves a stunning ring ;)
To Do List: Photo Shoot
ENGAGEMENTS & ELOPEMENTS: If you can, make this shoot the only thing on your to-do list that day. Don't run errands, don't schedule phone calls, don't have a time constraint; let the shoot be the only thing your busy mind is juggling. The less stress the better :) And on that note, just forget about the "photo shoot" part altogether! We're not out there just to take pretty pictures, we're out there to capture a meaningful moment.
Honesty is Mandatory. Vulnerability is Encouraged
COUPLES: When it comes time for the shoot and you find yourself in front of the camera, dwell on your time together when no one is watching. Hold on to those feelings and let them bubble to the surface. Embrace both your goofy and vulnerable moments and let them shine during this shoot. The more you open up, the better the chances of your feelings being recorded forever. Just be your beautiful selves and let your personalities take the lead. I want to capture who you truly are!
Spontaneity is Key
Adventurous shoots aren't called "adventurous" for no reason. We're going to get a little messy and it's gonna be epic! Embrace the dirt trail, the slippery wood, the sandy beach, the splashing waves, the city puddles, in addition to the weather. Your dress might get a little dirty, your hair a little windblown, your feet a little sandy, but if we keep to that spontaneous mindset and embrace our natural surroundings, we're bound for success.
Day of: What to Bring
WHAT TO BRING
Makeup for touch-ups
A warm jacket
Comfy shoes for in between locations
Props if you'd like (not too many!)
Aleve/Ibuprofen/Advil just in case!