So you've contacted me about getting some photographs taken of you, your family, your business website, a head shot for LinkedIn, portraits for your dating portfolio or a surprise engagement. We've discussed your goals, talked about a package, picked a location, set up a day and time and have booked studio space. But setting up a shoot is only the first step for both you and me.
My preparation is around location, (either securing the studio or scouting a location), and making sure my gear is working and ready to go the day before. It’s also making sure from a creative side, we’re on the same page- from a stylistic perspective, as well as addressing one of the more frequently asked questions I get - “what should I (or we) wear?”
That’s one question, but let’s talk about the bigger picture. Wardrobe, grooming, location and overall style will tie into your goals and why you’ve hired me.
If we’re shooting for your business, head shot, website or social media needs let’s approach this with a simple question - what are you looking to project about yourself and your business? This is how we will style the shoot; the sequence of shots, your appearance and even your business’s physical setting if it will be involved in our session.
For more general sessions such as lifestyle, branding, fashion, portraits, dance, family photos; let’s get more in-depth, though the principles would still apply to a commercially-focused session.
What’s the purpose of the photo? Business professional, casual, a fashion shoot? The location (and even season) of the session can also factor into your choice of wardrobe. Properly tailored, cleaned and pressed clothes will project style. Be mindful of lint, animal hair and wrinkles. I bring a lint brush for sessions, but we don't want to waste time doing unnecessary cleanup beforehand. For wardrobe, go with clothing that fits. Tight-fitting clothes will cause unflattering, hard body lines. Baggy garments can make you look heavier than you really are, as well as taking away from your figure. Unless this is a fashion shoot, your clothes should not be the focus; this is about you. In some of the best non-branding shots I look back on, clothing styles are neutral and will stand the test of time. For color choices, again be mindful of the location. If we’re shooting fall photos with vibrant foliage, you’ll want to contrast against that subtly and with little pattern. We want to keep you separate from the background. For summer looks, casual, light-colored clothing project comfort and a relaxed feel. Complement your skin tone and hair color. For footwear, make sure they're clean, kept and not marked up.
For women, this would apply to legs, eyebrows and eyelashes. While the magic of post-production can be a powerful tool, hair removal for men or women is not viable as an editing solution. For women wearing dresses or skirts, or for dancers in leotards; having a clean look is optimal for the finished photograph. Eyebrows and lashes will be a fashion statement tied to your makeup application, so be mindful of this in the days leading up to our session.
For men, addressing haircuts and facial hair as an important part of your look will help achieve your goal if it’s a business or acting head shot. It can be overlooked if you’re part of a family photo session, so I encourage the discussion beforehand to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Depending on the time of day we're shooting, you may have natural eye swelling or bags under your eyes. The advice is to get plenty of rest the night before, and drink plenty of water. Your body, and of course your skin, will thank you for that. Hold off on drinking the night before. This will help avoid a fatigued look and bloodshot, tired eyes; a killer for a high-impact head shot or portrait.
While we will go over these points, as well as any other questions you have during our consultation, I feel spreading the word on this up front is beneficial as it could help shape your approach. As an added service, I could also provide a makeup artist and/or hairstylist in addition to our package if you wish to take the burden off yourself. A professional, seasoned approach can also add to the impact of your look.