How to Prepare for Your Portrait Session

Booking a professional portrait session is an exciting step! Portraits give you an opportunity to get all dressed up, strut your stuff, and capture images that you and your family can look back on for years to come. It’s the perfect boost to your confidence and a chance to capture this specific moment in your life.

But having your photo taken can be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve never had a portrait session before. Maybe your wedding was the last time you got in front of the camera. Maybe it’s been even longer. Maybe you’ve never had a professional photoshoot.

It’s okay to be a little nervous. After all, you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. That’s incredibly brave! Regardless of your experience, you can enjoy and benefit from a portrait session.

That’s why we put together this guide: to help you feel a little more comfortable about your portrait session and to help your nerves give way to pure excitement!

Pamper yourself
The week of your session is the perfect time to practice a little self-care. Take a night to treat yourself to a facial scrub or soothing mask to refresh your skin or enjoy a luxurious bubble bath. Visit the salon for a touchup if you dye your hair and even splurge on a manicure to make sure your nails are looking their best.

Taking care of yourself also means drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and fried foods, and getting plenty of sleep. Try to go to bed early the night before your session to avoid any bags under your eyes. The more refreshed and relaxed you feel, the better your images will turn out!

Pick the perfect look
The question I probably get asked most often is What should I wear? While choosing an outfit is up to the individual and depends on what kind of images you want to create, there are some basic tips that apply to everyone:

  • Avoid neon colors.
  • Stick to neutral and jewel tones. If you do want to wear something brighter, make sure it looks good with your skin tone and hair color.
  • Stay away from distracting prints or patterns.
  • Keep accessories elegant and minimal. Instead of multiple necklaces, opt for one classy statement piece.
  • Opt for solid colors.
  • If you are buying new clothing, make sure everything fits correctly before the day of your session.

Consider hiring a makeup artist
You do your own makeup every day and know what amount looks best on you, but makeup for photography is completely different. A professional makeup artist can help make sure you look your best on camera, and their skilled work can give you a little extra confident boost for your session.

Bring along some snacks and drinks
While you definitely want to stay hydrated in the days leading up to your session, it’s just as important to keep drinking water during your session. When you’re packing up your outfits and extra makeup and hair products, throw some bottled water and a few non-messy snacks into your bag as well. You may find yourself getting hungry later in the day, and having a little snack can help keep your mood and energy up.

Avoid getting in a rush
The day of your session should be a relaxing one. Don’t make other appointments or commitments and instead spend the time before your session leisurely getting ready.

Here are a few other tips for keeping your day stress-free:

  • Take time to eat a decent breakfast so you don’t have to go through your photoshoot with an empty stomach.
  • Pack your bag and put your outfits together the night before, so you can just grab everything and go.
  • Look up directions to your portrait location in advance so you know how to get there.
  • Check on traffic the morning of your session and give yourself extra time, if necessary.
  • Give yourself plenty of time. It’s okay to arrive early!

Stay in conversation with your photographer
It’s okay to have questions about your session. Feel free to ask! When you wait until the last minute to voice your concerns, your photographer may have to struggle to meet your needs. Instead, stay in touch with your photographer from the day you book your session right up until the photoshoot itself. Let them know what you expect, what you want your images to look like, and ask any questions you may have. After all, your photographer is here to help you. We want to make sure you truly enjoy your portrait experience! 

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