Preparing for Your Photography Session

You’ve booked a photographer, chosen a location, know when the session begins—and the day is almost here! What can you do to make sure your session flows smoothly and a great time is had by all? Check out the list below and learn how to help get the most out of your session.

  1. Relax! The best thing you can do is not worry about how the session is going to go before the day arrives, and continue going with the flow during the session itself. It’s not your job to direct the session or worry about what needs to happen next—that’s your photographers job. All you need to do is prepare yourself, your family, and get where you need to be when you’re supposed to be there.
  2. Rest and Hydrate. It’s important to be well-rested the day of your session. You want to look your best, and getting enough sleep the night before is a great first step. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water the day before—it helps not only your energy but your skin tone as well—and drink enough water the day of the session too. Each a sensible breakfast (and other meals if your session is later in the day) and think about possibly bringing a snack and a bottle of water if your session is scheduled for longer than an hour—just don’t forget that rest room facilities may or may not be available at your location.
  3. Arrive Early. Allow yourself extra time to perfect your wardrobe’s finishing touches, style yourself, apply makeup, and travel to the location. Your photographer will need to start on time especially if your location is outdoors. It’s likely that your photographer has already walked the location and knows where the sun will be during specific times throughout your shoot and has planned accordingly. Plus, you don’t want to be in a rush at the beginning of your shoot—you’ll be stressed out and it will reflect in your final photos. Getting there early lets you remain calm and stress-free as you photographer finishes getting set up.
  4. Trust Your Photographer. Once the session begins, the absolute best thing you can do is trust your photographer. This means don’t try to step in and take over their job when it comes to choosing locations, selecting poses, or even fussing with your (or someone else’s) hair or clothing. Again, your photographer probably has a flow mapped out in anticipation of where the sunlight will fall, so let them direct you. On top of all this, you have no idea what the shot looks like through their camera, so don’t meddle with poses, angles, and clothing unless asked to do so. You hired a professional, so trust their judgment in the moment to make you look your best.
  5. Less is More. You and your photograph have hopefully already discussed what you’ll be wearing during your shoot, but may or may not have specifically addressed jewelry, accessories, and props. In general, always remember that less is more. Think of jewelry and clothing accessories to be accents or highlights to your attire—not the main attraction. For props, it’s not necessary to bring any unless you’ve already discussed them with your photographer as a featured or integral part of your session. Don’t throw your photographer a curve ball by adding a last-minute element to your session.
  6. Embrace the Moment. Whatever mood you’re feeling during the session, embrace it! Feel free to stay relaxed, laugh, and have a good time. Portraits are best when you’re being yourself—you’re not expected to act differently than you would on a normal day. Remember that, just because a camera is pointed at you it doesn’t mean you have to be looking at the camera at all times—let your photographer guide you. Sometimes the strongest images are created when you’re interacting with someone else and simply enjoying the moment. Remind yourself, “This isn’t a performance.” You can’t mess this up unless you try to take control.
  7. Let Kids be Kids. If your session involves children, don’t be afraid to just let kids be kids. There will be times when your photograph is looking for staged shots with everyone holding poses as best they can, but at other times they’ll want to capture pictures of everyone just being themselves. There will be time for your kids to run around off-camera and be silly on-camera.

In the final equation, a photography session is one of the few events in life when it’s completely appropriate to be a little selfish—but in a way that makes you look your best. This day is all about you and making you look good, so do everything you can to be the center of attention and let the photographer direct you each step of the way.

In the end, you’ll be glad you did!