Currently scrolling through Kelley Raye’s website because she takes the most stunning photos ever. The image above is her work (she caught me being silly for the camera—typical). It doesn’t hurt that she’s a total girl boss and a Gemini, so we’re basically twins. Btw, thank you to everyone who has commented on/shown love for the blog this last week. I was so thrilled to launch and getting positive feedback makes it that much sweeter.
One of the things I’m excited about for the blog is getting professional photos taken (by Kelley, naturally). I had a photoshoot with her about a month ago and couldn’t wait for another—and it’s tomorrow.
I was super nervous during my first shoot but Kelley is legit magic and made me feel so comfortable (and the photos turned out to be really stunning).
So, as I prepped for tomorrow’s shoot, I thought it would be great to do a post on exactly how to prep for a photo shoot. Because it can be super daunting + there’s a lot that goes into it.
And because my little sister, Laura, just got a call to casting for America’s Next Top Model (WHAT!? I totally freaked out!) and I like to think that, after binge-watching it for many years, I’m somewhat of an expert (ha). Oh, and HEY, TYRA! #1 fan over here!
Anyway, here are some tips on how to prep + be at your absolute best before shoot day.
Plan out your shoot
You definitely don’t need to have every detail nailed down, but knowing the vibe + look you’re going for with your photo shoot is so key.
One of the things I do is look up and/or go to possible locations to see if they’re a good fit for what I want. You can also get on Pinterest/stalk your favorite celebs + bloggers to get ideas for poses and outfits.
Pretty much, just get clear on what you want the final product to be. But also be flexible…sometimes the most unexpected pose/outfit/scenery makes for the perfect picture.
Choose an outfit (or three)
Obviously, what you wear during a photo shoot is important. Not only will it deeply affect how your pictures turn out but it will also affect how confident you feel (which absolutely shows through in photos).
Last time, I didn’t plan my outfit until the day before and, while it ended up super cute (my shirt, especially, looked so gorgeous in the Rose Gold Studio where Kelley shot me), I wish that I had put more thought into it.
For tomorrow’s shoot, I’ve been plotting + planning for weeks. I knew that I wanted a variety of outfits + vibes—from casual to dressy to a mix of both.
No matter what look you choose, make sure that your outfit (or outfits):
- make you feel confident
- fit well
- don’t have any holes, stains, etc. (obviously but I got matcha on one of the shirts I originally picked out—just double check, mmk?)
- are your style. You can emulate others, but don’t copy.
Plan your accessories + props
A unique watch face, detailed ring, or quirky earrings can add so much to your photos, so don’t underestimate their power.
Spend time planning these details for each outfit and really think about what will stand out.
When it comes to props, I’m a huge fan.
Not only do they help you define your brand through imagery, they can also help add diversity to your photos.
I’ll be bringing a matcha latte + books + some of my fave wellness products to get up close shots of to use on the blog.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
The day before your photo shoot, focus on your wellness. Specifically, drink a ton of water (it’ll plump you up and make you look, ya know, alive). You may also want to avoid alcohol entirely for a couple days before your shoot. It tends to make you look puffy + tired—big no-no’s when you’re taking pictures.
I just carry my huge Corksicle canteen around with me to make sure I’m constantly getting my H2O. I even bring it to the shooting location—you can not have too much water (but be smart about it, you don’t want to drink so much that you deplete yourself of electrolytes and pass out while your photographer snaps you).
Don’t forget to hydrate your skin. Use a non-greasy, natural lotion on your face + body the night before and morning of. Your skin will thank you. Currently, I use Shea Moisture’s problem skin moisturizer.
Get a good night’s sleep
Seriously. Don’t stay up all night scrolling through Instagram and watching The Good Wife. You will regret it, trust me. Go to bed early(ish) and actually rest. You’ll need your energy for your photo shoot, plus being tired while you trudge around from location to location is not fun for anyone.
Getting enough sleep will ensure that you won’t be a total cangrejo (that’s crab in Spanish, something David and I call each other a lot) and your energy will shine through in your photos.
Wake up early
Part of the reason I suggest getting to bed at a decent hour is so you can wake up well before you need to leave.
This gives you plenty of time to sip some matcha, get the sleep out of your eyes, and ease into your day.
If you’re rushing, you may end up feeling frantic during your photo shoot. Not ideal, ya know?
Do your make up
Personally, I do my own makeup for photo shoots. Partially because I hate people touching my face + partially due to the fact that every time I’ve gotten my makeup done professionally, I thought I looked ridiculously over done. Just not my style.
If you enjoy getting your makeup done, go for it. Anything that makes you feel more confident.
Now, I’m no makeup expert (I’m lucky to get mascara on every morning) but photographer Melissa Hoffman has a great post on looking flawless for your photo shoot. She has shot women like Nisha Moodley and Sarah Jenks, so I trust her advice.
Get a blowout
This is easily my best advice. Get. a. blow. out. Spend the $45 + tip, head to Drybar (or a local version), and get your hair done professionally. It makes a huge difference in how your hair looks (and how you feel).
I will never, ever get a photo shoot without having a blowout first. It’s life-changing, really.
Eat + Chill Out
I highly recommend scheduling your blowout and makeup services so that you have at least an hour (plus driving time) before your photo shoot.
Last month, when I met with Kelley for my photos, I was in such a rush and had a hard time finding my zen for the camera.
Tomorrow, I’ll have plenty of time between getting my hair done and meeting her and I plan on posting up at a nearby coffee shop so I can eat (being hungry during a photo shoot is so rough) and take a few breaths. This will help me go into my shoot strong + fierce + totally chill. Maybe not totally chill because, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I have no chill.
But you get the idea.
Other tips for slaying your photo shoot
All of that prep should have you ready to go and be the #boss that you are. Here are a few other handy tips:
- Communicate with your photographer about what you want. It’s your photo shoot, after all.
- Bring along some face powder or blotting tissue. Shiny skin doesn’t look great in photos.
- Be open-minded and trust that your photographer knows what they are doing.
- Make sure you get a manicure so your nails look great.
- Have your eyebrows done a couple days in advance so they don’t look puffy and red.
- Bring a backup outfit, just in case.
- Have fun + be confident!
There you have it, friends.
I’m so excited for tomorrow and can’t wait to share the results of this photo shoot with you all.
Before you go, do you have any photo shoot tips for me?
P.s. If you’re in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend you book a photo shoot with Kelley. She’s the best of the best.