How to Prepare for Your Portrait Photo Shoot (As the Subject)

So you found a photographer you like and trust to create the photos you’re looking for. Congratulations!

Now what?

It’s time to prepare! You want to get the most out of your photo shoot, right? So here are some things to consider before your shoot takes place:

What’s the occasion? Graduation photos, family portrait, couples, etc? If you have any specific poses you’re looking for, get ready ahead of time! Help out your photographer by downloading pictures of the poses you want onto your phone or print them out. Many photographers will even be open to you emailing your preferred poses ahead of time. It lets them plan out the location and lighting they’ll need to use before you even start the shoot!

What are you going to wear? Do you have outfit changes? Get these together ahead of time so you can minimize the amount of time changing and maximize the amount of time in front of the camera!

Remember that any clothes that are too busy will be distracting. This is fine for a studio shoot with a single-color background, but not so good for being outside where the environment is an important part of the image.

Is the shoot in the studio or on location? Will the photographer be traveling to your home, or will you be meeting them at a venue you’ve both discussed before? Remember to plan accordingly!

Remember, the photographer has the right to charge you more for going over the allotted time or stop the shoot once the time is up. Most will keep an eye on the time for you, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on time.

What about your physical appearance? It’s just as important for men as for women.

Considering getting a haircut? You can get one on the day of the shoot, or the day before. This will help you look fresh!

If you’re planning on getting any waxing done, try to schedule or do these a day or two before as well, so any skin irritation can calm down.

If you have a pimple, NO PICKING! Pimples are very easy to cover up with makeup and even easier to heal on the computer after the shoot by the photographer, or his/her retoucher.

Don’t overlook your fingernails. If they’ll be in the final photograph, make sure they look nice. Get them trimmed or spoil yourself and go out for a manicure! Again, this is just as important for all genders.

What about your skin color? No I’m not talking race, but depending on the occasion, you might want to get a spray tan, if that’s your style. It’s generally not a good idea to actually tan right before a photo shoot. If you don’t apply enough sunblock or lotion, you could get burned or even start peeling, and that’s not a good thing for the shoot or your health!

Have a beard? Give it a trim! It’s worth it to put that extra time and effort into making everything look uniform.

Maybe just a little stubble is your style? Make it look clean! Sometimes guys can develop some ingrown hairs or other irritations. If you’re comfortable, take a stroll to a beautician! If not, research some things at home and try your best to relieve them.

Some photographers include time for editing and retouching in the initial price, others charge afterwards. You might just save a couple bucks!

Finally: Remember, there is a limit to what can be done in photoshop. I’m sure everyone has seen those amazing, surreal edits where castles float on clouds and whales swim in space and all that amazing stuff, and it makes the power of editing seem limitless. The almost counterintuitive part here is that those large scenes can be easier than to simply edit the details of a human body. We’re very complex creatures. Take a look in the mirror. Compare the skin on your forehead to the skin on your chin. The textures and even colors can vary wildly just inches from each other. Speaking from experience, it’s easier to add extra eyes and arms to a person than to make a “farmers tan” go away.


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