Let's face it... unless you're a supermodel of sorts, it can be W-E-I-R-D to be in front of the camera. I get it. But being as prepared as possible can help take the edge off a bit. But let me clarify... by prepping, I do NOT mean staring at yourself in a mirror for hours on end and practicing all your favorite moves. Instead, I suggest the following steps:
How to prep for a fabulous photo session
1. Let's get to know each other. I highly recommend meeting up ahead of time for an in-person consultation. It's the best way to meet face to face for the first time without the camera between us, and an easy way to get comfortable in each others' presence so that by the time the camera comes out, it's as if we've been friends forever. But I understand that time and/or distance might prevent us from getting together before the day of our session. That's why I also have a questionnaire for you to complete. Whether for a solo, couple or family session, my questionnaires are designed for me to get to know the real you pretty quickly.
2. Select your outfits (and try them on) ahead of time. We've all been there... you have a special event coming up and pick out the perfect outfit in your mind's eye. But what you don't realize until it's too late is that the shirt is in the hamper, the pants are a bit too snug, and you can't find your favorite pair of earrings. So there's a mad dash around your closet or, time permitting, a mad dash to the shopping mall. To prevent both scenarios, coordinate your complete outfit ahead of time (including undergarments and accessories) and try them all on together to make sure you look and feel fabulous.
3. Pick a few treasured items to bring along in order to customize your experience. You could bring big or little items to include, depending on what your style is, and how much we'll be wandering during our session. A few examples from past clients: Marc & Beth brought dogtags that had belonged to Marc... he had had given them to Beth for safekeeping while he was away, and they became a symbol in their relationship. And Jack and Georgina brought along several momentos... records they enjoy listening to, a wine bottle from their wedding, a framed picture from their first date, and a beloved book they read to their sons at bedtime. Please note... not all of these items necessarily need to be featured in the photos together, and sometimes not even at all. But often times, just having these items close-by will spark the memories, and enhance the connections.
4. If kids or pets are involved, bring along a few extra goodies. Let kids choose one of their toys to bring along with them. Sometimes, just having something familiar in their hands (or close-by) will help them to relax a bit more. And if the kiddos have a treasured toy that they just won't let out of their sight, why not showcase it in a few of the pictures to remember them at this moment in time? As for the furry friends, make sure to bring along a favorite squeak toy and a few treats to keep them interested along the way.
5. Plan for the location. If we're heading to the beach, you might want to bring a change of clothes (or at least a fresh pair of socks) in case the waves get too close. And don't forget the sweaters for after a sunset shoot. Once the sun sets, it gets chilly.
6. Give yourself a cushion of extra time. No matter how well you plan your time, sometimes things pop up to throw you off track. You can't find your car keys or purse, your phone rang as you were heading out the door, you hit traffic on the way and you can't find parking... it's enough to make a person scream! (Not the best way to start your portrait session.) Simply allow yourself a few extra minutes when you're planning your departure in order to give yourself some breathing room.
7. Provide a soundtrack. Music sets the mood. If we're in a place where we can crank the tunes, let's do it! I bring along some portable speakers and can pop in my iPhone and set up a Pandora station just for you. But if you have something special in mind that you'd like to hear, just bring it along and we'll use your tunes instead.
8. Expect the unexpected. Life isn't perfect. So let's not aim for perfection. Let's plan to PLAY, instead. Roll with the punches, and take life as it comes. It's so much more FUN that way, don'tcha think?