Preparing for a portrait session.

Make Up and Hair

Find a professional make-up artist with experience working with photographers. There are several issues to overcome like blending skin tones, contouring/sculpting, picking the right colors for your look, concealing blemishes, etc. Setting up a session with an MUA before the shoot is a must to make this work.

Ask for a small retouching kit to take with you after they are done. Lipstick wears off over time, for example. Having a small retouch kit with you takes care of such things.

You shouldn’t wash your hair the day of the shoot as it leads to intense frizz. Hairstylists won’t work on hair for celebrities unless it has had time to sit for almost 24 hours. The hair accepts styles better because there is enough oil in the hair to do it.

Unless we are going for a specific look don’t weigh your hair down with conditioners, stiff hair sprays, or hot oil treatments. We want it to look fresh and light – not stiff or oily. For beach-look, windswept styles, try “Surf Spray” by Bumble and Bumble.

Dark roots will look even worse in photos. Refresh your hair color a few days before your shoot. If you do not color your hair, try “shades” or a toner just a shade lighter than your hair to make it shine.

Please DO NOT experiment with things like drugstore hair dyes or a radically new haircut the night before a session.

Set aside at least an hour and a half to get it all done.

While we are on the topic of time management – Don’t forget to factor in drive time to the location of the shoot after the MUA/Hair people are done. We all know how bad traffic can get around here. If Google Maps says 20 minutes to get there I plan on 30 as you never know what is going on between here and there.

Fingernails and toenails should be manicured.

Eyebrows need to be plucked, shaped and filled in.

A note on shaving: If you want the “smooth look” in your photos, be sure to shave as close to your shoot start time as possible. Be sure to immediately treat all areas with a soothing, after-shave skin care product that’s designed to prevent irritation, redness, razor bumps, etc. There’s an excellent product called “Bikini Zone Medicated” which is highly effective.

Avoid dry lips by putting Vaseline on your lips before bed and the morning of your shoot.

Outfits – The Basic Five

The Basic Five outfits. They should be brought to every photo shoot along with shoot-specific outfits. Best to have something and not need it as opposed to needing it and it’s not there.

They are:
Good fitting jeans/white tank/shirt
Sunday casual
Dress up/night out outfit
Business
Seasonal

Plus the outfits you plan on wearing during the session. If we were doing a beach session you’d bring the Basic Five plus all outfits we would need for the beach.

General Prep

Bring a couple bottles of water or non-alcoholic beverages to keep yourself hydrated.

Please don’t skip meals on the day of your shoot. Groggy, hungry models are not good models. Bringing a snack like a piece of fruit or granola bars to the shoot would be good, too, in case your energy dips.

I have a smock available for outfit changes on-location.

Pre-pack the night before the shoot and leave it by the door. It has been my repeated experience that trying to gather these things as you are heading out the door to the session usually results in a lot of added, unneeded stress and things being left behind.

Do not wear anything constrictive or tight an hour before the start of the shoot. Tight things cause redness, marks and indentations that take a good 30-45 minutes to disappear which could be time used shooting. Bras and tight pants are a given but even socks can leave behind a pattern that will take time to disappear.

Use a clear deodorant so you don’t stain the outfits and allows for more posing options.

Please, no alcoholic beverages before/during the shoot. They dehydrate you, which is bad enough, but it also hinders your thinking skills. In a very legal sense you are not of sound mind to make judgments on how much you want to reveal, how much risk you want to take, signing any releases, etc.

3 Replies to “Preparing for a portrait session.”

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