5 Tips for a Smooth Photo Session

Having Your Picture Taken – 5 Things to Make Your Photography Session Run Smoothly

I love to photograph people—individuals and families.  Sometimes I’m trying to create something artistic and moody and sometimes it’s simply to capture images of a person or a family to share with others or preserve memories for the future.  I am surprised, however, at the number of people who are nervous about having their picture taken.  

Photoshoots are meant to be fun and creative, and with a little planning, you can ensure that you not only get the results you want but also have fun doing so. If you or your family are posing for a photoshoot, take a breath, relax and follow these 5 tips to make your photography session run smoothly. 

Plan Ahead 

Decide What You Want to Wear and How You Want to Look

A lot of people show up for a photoshoot, hoping the photographer will simply tell them what they have to do in order to get the result they want.  But a successful photoshoot is collaborative and requires planning on your part as well.  Decide what you want to wear well in advance of your shoot, and give yourself several options.  Make sure that you have all of your outfits picked out, washed, ironed, and ready to go the night before. Practice the hairstyle or makeup look you want to go for. This one may be a no-brainer, but the last thing you want is to show up at a photo shoot with no idea of the look you’re hoping for or be rushed while getting ready.

Have a Plan B 

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, especially if your shoot is on location. Hopefully, your photographer will have a Plan B should there be a sudden turn in the weather or if the location ends up being unavailable at the last minute.  But it is helpful for you to consider alternatives as well.  All kinds of things can happen at an on-location photoshoot.  The weather or lighting could change unexpectedly, a place you hoped would be quiet can unexpectedly be filled with people, or you could suddenly stain the outfit you were planning to wear. Show up at your photoshoot with options.  The night before your session, check the weather, and touch base with your photographer to talk about the shoot.  If the forecast calls for rain or high winds, discuss alternatives so you don’t have to make a location decision at the last minute.

  1. Communicate With Your Photographer Both Before and During the Shoot
    A session can go wrong really quickly if you and your photographer are not on the same page. Send the pictures of ideas or looks you’re going for ahead of time. Often your photographer will recommend that you create a Pinterest board. (You can take a look at a few of my Pinterest boards here).  If not, create one yourself and share it with your photographer.  Once your photographer has an idea of what kind of images you’re hoping to capture, the two of you can work together to decide on a location. If you have props that you would like to bring, let your photographer know so that they can begin to think of ways to capture each shot. 
  2. Get Plenty of Rest and Water
    While it’s generally a good idea to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated anyway, it’s particularly important before a photoshoot.  There is a tremendous difference between how one looks when they show up for a shoot well rested and hydrated, as compared to someone who only had three hours of sleep and solely sticks to drinking their coffee. 
  3. Bring a Bag of Pick-Me-Ups
    I will often bring water and snacks to a photoshoot.  But you can’t always count on your photographer to have these on hand, so pack some yourself.  Having snacks and drinks on hand can provide a much-needed energy boost during your photoshoot. Frequently, a photographer will take at least 300-400 images during a shoot, trying to capture different looks and poses.  That takes time and can certainly be exhausting for you as the model. If you’re hot or tired, some cold water or a snack can drastically alter your mood and keep you looking good for the duration. 
  4. Just Relax
    Lastly and most importantly, relax. Having your picture taken is a lot of fun.  Enjoy it. Have fun. Tell jokes. Engage your photographer to loosen you up. If you aren’t relaxed, and you remain tense, uptight and nervous, it will definitely show in the pictures.  Families can laugh, tickle, snuggle, etc. Whatever makes you or the people you are with comfortable, do it.