My prospective clients often inquire how to prepare for a photoshoot and here are few tips I have gathered over the years of shooting fashion and personality photography as well as portraiture. In this article I will only be speaking about staged photoshoots for personal use or personalty publications and will not mention photoshoots for businesses and event/reportage photography.
TYPES OF A SHOOT
First things first, you have to decide what type of a photoshoot you need. It mainly is determined by your needs as an individual and/or a publication.
Personal Lifestyle As seen in celebrity magazines, personal blogs, interviews etc Can transmit status, aesthetic taste, political, religious and social statements etc Portrait A close-up of one’s face. Can communicate a message through mimics and posture (engagement, professionalism, dedication, etc) Family and pregnancy Chronicles of good family times, creating family memories. Can be a part of lifestyle shoot. Corporate Made to transmit the message of professionalism. Now in the era of personal branding can be cross-referenced with lifestyle. Portfolio Portfolio shoot is done for a specific professional goal: modelling, acting,etc and is shot in a firm accordance with the agency/management requirements.
Remember: You can NOT create a One-Fit-All image.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
Don’t rely on the photographer to create and produce a look for you. Know what you want and communicate it to your create team. Lack of prep and/or communication can turn into stress on the shooting day and perhaps into an overall disappointment.
To get inspired go through fashion and lifestyle magazines, coffee books and maybe even pieces of art. Be certain about the style and look you are after. (Black and white VS Color, color palette, body poses, hair, make up and wardrobe)
I always recommend my clients to create a Pinterest board to communicate their ideas. Be daring and creative though stick to one style in a shoot.
3. BODY, HAIR AND MAKE UP
Do not compromise neither on your home prep, nor on the make up and hair artist on the day. All further advice is relevant to every type of the shoot.
It is a misconception that Photoshop possibilities are limitless. Additionally a good photographer will do his or her very best to leave the image in its original beauty without harsh touch ups. Contribute to the successful shoot following a number of simple rules:
Fake tan: Glowing sun kissed tan is great. Nobody wants to look dull with a grey skin tone, however avoid darker and orange tones. Wether you will be using a self application product or a salon scary tan, dont forget to exfoliate 24 upfront and hydrate your skin well.
Hair and extensions. Always come with clean hair on the day of the shoot. It is never enough hair for the picture. Consider bringing clip-in extensions and her accessories (fringe, etc). Make sure that extensions are made of human hair if you are planning to style it and in any case match your hair ends.
Make up artist. Goes without saying that you want to use an experienced make up artist. Ask your photographer to recommend one if you don't have anyone in mind. Don't be shy to ask for the artist’s portfolio to make sure that your creative vision will be promptly executed. If you decide to do make up yourself, please consider that photo camera “defuses” over 50% of make up.
Nails. Fresh manicure and pedicure are compulsory. For corporate, portfolio and family types of a shoot I would recommend, nude, clear or french polish. Bright colors might attract unnecessary attention.
4. WARDOBE Expensive clothes do not necessarily look great on camera. Go for elegant yet simple cut and avoid overly tight clothes choices. Timeless classics like a roomy white shirt, classic trousers, knee length dress camel coat always work best. Avoid synthetic and/or shiny numbers as well as busy patterns.
If you wardrobe does not contain suitable for the shoot pieces remember that you can buy and return clothes (provided you keep the receipt and the tags are intact)
5. PUNCTUALITY AND SCHEDULE.
Lets see how long does it take…
Before you start the actual shoot: -make up may take up to two hours, -3-5 wardrobe looks matching and lining up - about an hour -hair up to an hour as well
During the shoot: 1st look - 60-90 minutes every following look 30-60 minutes (always leave your favourite look to be the second or the third)
After the shoot: 30 min to pack
Total: 6-8 hours, depending on beauty team, wardrobe and persons natural ability to pose.
Make sure you've arrived on time. Delays in your arrival might result into stress and cut into your shooting time.
It is irrelevant if you a beginner or a professional model/poser. Fortunately (or not) it it entirely up to photographer to make you look good. However your job is to chose the right photographer and to follow his or her guidance entirely. Drawing from my film directing background, I can confidently say that only trust and close communication between the person in front and behind the camera can create magic.
7. IMAGE RETOUCH
Selecting and retouching images take lots of photographer’s time (especially if many images had been taken on the day). Have a firm agreement on who selects the images, It is either you OR the photographer (based on my experience back and forth ‘collaborative’ discussions can be endless).
I have also noticed that photographers tend to select overall good pictures while clients tend to look at particular part of it (face, or a body part that might be easily fixed) If you trust your photographer, allow him or her make the selection. You might not even know how the image would look like after retouch.