You’ve decided to invest in professional photography, and your first photoshoot is right around the corner. You’re very excited, but you still have a few questions. The one big thing you’re wondering is how to prepare for a photo shoot. After all, you’ve invested good money in this, and you want the images to come out as well as possible.
Professional photography is an intimate and highly flexible experience. It’s safe to say that no two photoshoots are the same. Regardless of whether you’re having a business headshot taken, or hiring some lifestyle photography for you and your family, this guide will walk you through how to prepare for a photoshoot – from beginning to end.
Let’s dive in.
First Things First – Choosing Your Photographer
Maybe you’ve already selected the photographer, but perhaps you haven’t. If you’re still looking, choosing a professional is a crucial step.
After all, photographers are just like any other type of professional. They each have certain things that they specialize in, and specific areas of strengths and weaknesses.
For example, you wouldn’t choose an editorial or commercial photographer to take lifestyle shots of your new baby. Likewise, you wouldn’t pick a photographer with a very dark editing style if you want your finalized photos to come out light and airy.
As you shop around for a photographer, keep these things in mind:
Style. You want to choose a photographer whose style matches your own. Do not, under any circumstances, choose a photographer with style very different from yours and expect that they will adapt to your taste. This is just asking for disappointment on your end and frustration on the end of your photographer. Instead, shop around. Ask your friends and relatives for recommendations of photographers that they worked with us, or use a platform like the H Hub to shop thousands of freelance photographers with thousands of different styles.
Expectations. How many finalized images do you want from your photographer? Would you like several wardrobe changes? Do you have ideas about the theme and location of your photoshoot? If so, make sure that you communicate these to your photographer right off the bat. Better yet, find a photographer who already works well within the scope that you’re envisioning. Again, there are dozens of professional photographers out there, and finding one who is already aligned with your vision and values will prevent conflict and disappointment down the road. As you’ll see, most photographers are happy to work around personal preferences, and they’ll almost always try to bring your vision to life.
Budget. Photographers, just like any other professional, range widely in cost. Their pricing is based on many things, including experience, equipment, location, and whether or not they hire a second shooter. If you’re on a tight budget, be sure to talk with your photographer about this at the beginning of the process. They’ll probably be able to work with you to determine a package that suits your needs or refer you to a photographer who is a better fit for your budget.
Comfort level. Let’s face it- most of us are at least a little bit uncomfortable being photographed. And this makes sense! Unless you’re a professional model or a reality television star, you probably don’t spend all of your time with a camera following you around. With this in mind, find a photographer that makes you feel comfortable. Again, you want your photographs to come out as naturally as possible. One of the best ways to ensure this is to work with a photographer that makes you feel comfortable and at ease in front of the camera. Everything else will fall into place naturally from there.
Reading the Contract
One of the most essential steps of getting ready for a photoshoot is to read the contract carefully. There are dozens of reasons for this. First of all, a contract is designed to protect both the photographer and you as the client.
Once signed, a contract is a legally-binding document. It outlines things like when you can expect your photographs to be delivered, how and when you are required to make payments, and any extras you are entitled to with your photographic package. It also details what happens if you cancel the session at the last minute.
Before your photoshoot comes around, it’s important to read your contract in its entirety. Contracts exist to ensure that both you and the photographer are protected and that both of you get what you need and expect. If any issues arise, you can refer back to the contract to see which expectations it put forth in the beginning.
Have questions about the contract? Go ahead and ask your photographer. Most photographers are happy to talk through their contracts with clients, and may even adjust certain portions of the contract to suit specific projects.
How to Prepare for a Photoshoot: 5 Fast Steps
Now that you’ve laid all the logistical groundwork, it’s time to get ready for the big day! Here are a few things to do in the weeks leading up to your photoshoot:
1. Finalize all Details
About 4 to 6 weeks before your photoshoot is scheduled to occur, you want to wrap up any loose ends that may exist. This includes making your final payment to the photographer, booking hair or makeup appointments you want to have done for your photoshoot, and making location arrangements if needed.
Although it may seem overkill to finalize these things so far out, leaving yourself plenty of time allows you to make last-minute adjustments if something goes wrong.
2. Decide What You’ll Wear
Even if you’re not usually the type to pay a great deal of attention to your clothing, a photoshoot is all about presenting yourself in the best possible light. With that in mind, dedicate some time to deciding which outfit or outfits you’ll wear for your photo shoot. If you have no idea where to start, go ahead and ask your photographer. They’ll likely have some suggestions about what colors, styles, and prints to shoot for.
If you intend to have an outfit change in the middle of your photo shoot, make sure that you’ve made plans for both outfits, and have a way to get them to and from the photoshoot with you.
3. Plan to be on Time
Photographers are busy people, and most of them will not give you extra time if you arrive at a photoshoot late. With this in mind, make sure you understand how you’re getting to and from the shoot location on the big day. If you have to take public transit or contend with traffic, be sure that you’re leaving yourself plenty of time to get there.
4. Have Some Activities in Mind
Unless you’re having headshots taken, most modern photography tends to be candid and unposed. Lifestyle photography is an excellent example of this. If you want your photos to capture you and your family in the moment, the best way to do this is to come into the shoot with some activities prepared.
What you choose to do depends entirely on you and the setting. If it’s just you, consider reading a book, interacting with a pet, or taking a walk through a field. If you’re shooting with your family, things like building a fort or having a pillow fight photograph very well.
5. Just Have Fun
Last but not least, prepare yourself to have fun on the day of your photoshoot. It’s easy to take ourselves too seriously in front of the camera, but this should be a stress-free environment. The more relaxed you are, the more beautiful your pictures will become.
Bonus: Preparing for a Product Photoshoot
If you’re a direct-to-consumer brand preparing for a product photoshoot, there are a few additional considerations you’ll want to keep in mind. These include the following:
- Select a model. If your product requires a model, you’ll need to hire one before the photoshoot date. Alternatively, you may be able to ask your photographer to help you source a model or models.
- Send the photographer your product. Before the photoshoot date arrives, be sure you’ve sent the photographer enough of your product. This gives them a chance to familiarize themselves with it and start brainstorming the best way to shoot it.
- Brainstorm. While your photographer will be able to help you come up with lots of unique product posing ideas, it helps if you come in with some idea of what you’d like to do, or other D2C product work you’ve admired in the past.
Learning How to Prepare for a Photoshoot, the Easy Way
You booked your photoshoot, and now it’s time to have fun. By following the tips in this article, you can let loose, create beautiful images, and enjoy your experience with a professional photographer. If you’re still looking for a photographer, don’t forget to visit the H Hub. We have thousands of freelance photographers and videographers to choose from, and we’ll help you find exactly the professional you’ll need.