How to prepare for a photoshoot?

You just booked your shoot, or maybe you're planning to. Maybe this is your first shoot ever, or it's been a while. Either way, planning can get overwhelming so here are some steps and a checklist to help!

Email Your Photographer

Before your shoot, you should communicate with your photographer as much as possible. A good photographer doesn't just take photos, they should help you feel comfortable in front of the camera too. You should ask your photographer any questions you may have whether it's what to wear, location ideas or, just getting to know them a little better. Talking with your photographer a few times leading up to the shoot can also help prevent awkward small talk and make it easier for you (and your photographer) to relax and genuine photos that don't feel forced.

Make a Mood Board

In my opinion, this is the fun part. Take to Pinterest, Instagram, Google, and wherever else you can to find inspiration. This can be for outfits, locations, poses, colors, a theme that you like, just about anything you can think of. And try to get creative with your inspiration, you don't just have to use photos that you like. Gather inspiration from movies, songs, paintings, and wherever else you can find them. After you've pulled some ideas together, definitely make sure to share and discuss them with your photographer so that they know what you're looking for. They need time to prepare and may have some helpful ideas to add!

Make a Playlist

Being in front of a camera may seem awkward, and even more awkward when you add a stranger and poses. The last thing you want is to feel stiff, uncomfortable and like you're forcing each pose. So make sure to have your favorite songs (or songs that match the feel of the shoot). Music sets the mood, helps us relax, and creates genuine moments that lead to posing that looks natural. Not to mention it makes the whole experience more memorable.

Pick Your Favorite Outfit

Depending on who you ask, you'll get a hundred different explanations about what is best to wear. None of that matters if you're not comfortable. Fashion is a huge part of how we express ourselves and every little detail about your outfit should be your own choice. From layers to accessories or patterns to minimalism, it is uniquely you. If you want, you can always talk with your photographer to make sure your locations and outfits complement each other as best as possible. Also, talk with your photographer to let them know if there's something specific about your style or features that you would like highlighted. Bottom line is that your photoshoot is about you and it is so important that you feel comfortable, empowered, and like yourself.

Talk to Your Friends

First, your friends should be there to support you. So if you're feeling anxious or self-conscious try talking with those you know and trust. From support to hype to squashing negative self-talk, friends can be great support. This brings me to my second point, bring a friend! Yep, bring a friend to your photoshoot for in-person support. It helps to have someone you know around to give extra positive reinforcement. Bonus: bringing a friend not only makes you feel safe but can actually keep you safe like a "buddy-system". You don't even have to ask permission, but maybe give your photographer a heads up (if they refuse to let you bring a friend, that can be a red flag).

Pack a Bag of Extras

This will be different for everyone, and you may not want to bring a bag to keep up with at all (and that's okay). Since "extras" can be a bit vague, here are some examples of what I usually recommend. Bring a charger or battery pack for your phone. This one is perhaps the easiest to forget but playing music, referencing your mood board, GPS, and whatever else can drain a battery pretty quick. Pack a comfortable pair of shoes to change into, especially if you are wearing any kind of dress shoe/heel or expect to do a lot of walking. If you wear makeup, maybe bring a little extra for touchups. Also consider face wipes, oil blotting paper, and tissues because spills, smears, runny noses, etc., are natural. Perhaps the only non-negotiable is that you should always bring water (and snacks if you'd like) because taking care of your body is a number-one priority. Also, consider bringing a light layer in case you get cold or want to add variation to your look. Feel free to bring more or less as you see fit. This bag of stuff is just meant to help you feel a little more prepared, prevent last-minute forgetfulness, and ensure that you're comfortable.

Bring Your Smile and Your Confidence

I know, I know, how cliche of me. Perhaps you've noticed, but the theme this whole time has been comfort. Everything is centered around what makes you comfortable because you don't need anything complicated, expensive, or overly time-consuming to have a great photoshoot. You don't have to change anything, wear anything you don't feel comfortable in, or show up in any way other than how you want to express yourself. Your photoshoot is your experience, it should be something that brings joy, not anxiety and stress.