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Preparing for Your Photoshoot: The Ultimate Checklist

When having your portrait taken, there are five areas where a little advanced preparation can make a huge difference. Neglect them, and an otherwise perfect photo could end up with distracting elements which take the focus away from where it should be - Your fabulous eyes and face!

We will have a video pre-shoot consultation about two weeks before your scheduled session. This is our time to design a session just for you! We’ll talk about styling, colors, clothes and how you want to be seen! Meanwhile, focus on these five areas for a fantastic shoot!

THE FIVE AREAS: Face, Hair, Hands, Skin, and Clothes.

Two weeks before your shoot is also a good time to start planning your to-do list. Decide on outfits, choose which beautification steps you will take, and schedule the appointments (even if they’re just with yourself). Remember, these tips are here to help you think of ideas for preparing for your shoot, but are definitely not required, or even necessary for everybody. Just choose what fits in with your budget, lifestyle, and current regimen, and go from there!


Here at the studio we have a professional hair and makeup artist to get you camera ready! We will show you examples from natural to full-on glam – it is all up to you. It’s important to remember that the studio lights will wash you out a bit, so even a “natural” look may be a bit more intense than everyday makeup. You will love how you look so make dinner plans!

  • Whiten Teeth. Crest sells white-strips that whiten in a week or less for a quick boost. If you’re due for a cleaning, you might consider going all out. Make sure floss before your shoot!

  • Don’t Pick. A pimple is very easy to cover with makeup or in retouching, but scabs, wounds and flaky patches are more tricky. As soon as possible, stop picking at your skin.

  • Exfoliate. A nice, soothing grainy scrub or gently rubbing your skin with a washcloth is a good plan. Exfoliate a couple times before your appointment, but be sure to allow a few days after the last one before your shoot.

  • Get a Facial. If you’re going to go all out into pamper mode, be sure to do your facial at least a week before your shoot. Since facials tend to cause redness, a week usually allows enough time to heal. For those of us on a budget, an at-home facial with a gooey masque is always fun when you throw in a delicious book and recharge your psyche. Repeat as necessary.

  • Wax Eyebrows. If you decide to have your eyebrows waxed or threaded, be sure to schedule the appointment for at least a few days before your photoshoot to avoi redness. Otherwise, an eyebrow trim/touch up at home could be done a day or two before the shoot.

  • The day of your shoot come to the studio with your face clean and moisturized – no makeup.


  • Touch Up Your Roots. If you dye your hair, touching up your regrowth three days before your photoshoot is ideal. Take my advice: this is not the time for drastic changes. Trust me.

  • Get a Trim. Neat, healthy hair is youthful and vibrant. If it’s been a while since your last haircut, even a subtle trim can make a world of difference.

  • Deep Condition. Your salon can do a professional conditioning treatment, or you can use your favorite deep conditioner or protein pack at home. Toss it on with that gooey facial masque.

  • The day of your shoot your hair should be clean and dry for styling. Or, come with your hair as you love it and we will touch-up!


  • Get a Manicure. While you’re at it, toss in the pedicure. If you’re hard on your manicures, book the mani/pedi for the day before your shoot.

  • Minimalists can stick with neatly shaped, clear nails. Soft, neutral colors work well for fingertips. Toes can get away with any color. (Think about the outfits you’re bringing and be sure to choose a color that will compliment your choices.)

  • Clean Your Jewelry. Using a toothbrush and toothpaste is a great day-to-day way to clean your bling. Most professional jewelers have sonic cleaners that make your rings sparkle.

  • Him, Too. If you’re bringing your man to your shoot, make sure his nails are neat and his ring is clean.


  • Wax or Shave. If you go the waxing route, give yourself a few days to heal before your shoot. Shaving can be done the night before. Be sure to get your legs and underarms, and if you’ll be wearing lingerie, go for the bikini area as well.

  • Spray Tan. Just don’t do it! It never photographs well. Besides, embrace your natural tone – pale can be beautiful!

  • Remember, that while retouching can hide a multitude of sins, you’ll love knowing that your pictures have captured your most perfect self. At the end of the day, there are some things no amount of preparation can change, (and maybe you wouldn’t want to). A couple of examples are birthmarks or scars. Some people feel that these markings are part of who we are, while others would rather have them “photoshopped” away. Which is right? Whatever you want. It’s your face, your body, your photos.


  • Choose an outfit that speaks to you Probably the most important part of preparing for your session is choosing clothes. They say a lot about who you are. And, you want to look and feel your best, so take some time to try on different outfits and find the one that makes you feel amazing. Go shopping,, etc. We have some nice pieces available at the studio you are welcome to wear – it all depends on the look you are going for.

  • Bring up to 4 outfits. Your portraits should be a reflection of you, just more polished. Choose outfits you love. Think of those special pieces you might not wear often because they’re impractical for day-to-day use, or the go-to blouse you always wear when you’re going somewhere nice.

  • Something Dark. Bring at least one dark outfit or top. Black, Navy or Charcoal work best here.

  • Something Light. For your light outfit, think angelic. Soft, gauzy, maybe even layered and sheer. It doesn't have to be white, you could go with cream, nude, light pink – whatever.

  • Something Fun/Funky/Whimsical. This outfit is your chance to really show your personal style. If you tend toward more conservative tastes, choose a different adjective. Instead of Funky, try Structured, Soft, Elegant, or Formal.

  • Something Sexy. This one is entirely your call. You could skip sexy, and that’s up to you. But if you’d like to, you can be an understated sexy in an oversized white shirt, off the shoulder sweater or a backless formal dress. For a more overt sexy go for beautiful lingerie under a blazer or on its own. It can be empowering.

  • Consider Necklines. I love to be able to see your collar bone, so boat neck, scoop neck, square neck, deep V and off-the-shoulder are my favorite necklines. Whatever you choose, try to make it more interesting than the basic T-Shirt neckline. If you love turtlenecks, go for it! Feel free to bring whatever calls to you. Mixing up the necklines will add variety to your shots, so try not to bring all of one style.

  • Think Texture. Sumptuous textures lend a rich, tactile element to your photos. Silk, chiffon, velvet, leather, etc.

  • Avoid Prints. Patterns and prints are distracting. We want people to look at you when they see your portrait, and even the most beautiful print will steal that attention. Check out the photo above for an example. I bet one of the first things you noticed about it was the prints. It's a great outfit, but she has great eyes, too - and they aren't the first thing we see.

  • Fit Your Form. Fitted clothing that shows your shape work best for photographs. Skip that billowy, blouson top, or anything with dolman or batwing sleeves. While they might be flattering in person, they will not be slimming in camera. This applies to any body type. Choose outfits that will hug your curves, especially your waist, hips, arms, and chest.

  • Shoes. Unless you have a special pair you’re dying to photograph, there’s really no need to worry about the shoes you’ll wear. Most images won’t show your feet at all, and if some do, bare feet will add an organic feel to your portraits. But, bring those heels just in case you are going for something sexy!


  • Bare face (wash and apply your usual moisturizer)

  • Clean, dry hair or style as you love it and we will touch-up

  • Floss your teeth!

  • Comfy outfit (to sit in while you’re being styled)

  • 4-5 fitted outfits to wear in photos

  • Pretty & clean nails

  • Clean jewelry

  • Touched up brows

Interested in booking your portrait experience with us?


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