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How to Prepare for a Photo Shoot

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

You book a photo shoot. You update your calendar. You share the details with whoever needs to know. Then you go back to your daily life and routine. Suddenly, you receive a reminder that your photo shoot is fast approaching. Where did the time go?! With the realization that your time in the spotlight is almost here, the nerves might start creeping in. If this is your first photo shoot, you might just be on the border of freaking out! The good news? Your shoot is going to be just fine. Better than fine, actually. It's going to be fun. How do I know? Because not only will I be there to guide you through it and bring out the rockstar we all know is inside somewhere, I also have some tried and true tips for getting ready for "the big day" so to speak. Consider this blog your playbook for photo shoot prep.

Plan Your Outfit

Your outfit should be selected at least a few days prior to the shoot and should be laundered, ironed, given a once over with a lint roller and hung-up. It's important to choose something you are comfortable in, something that is appropriate for the type of shoot you are doing and whenever possible, solid colors should be chosen. For additional tips on selecting a color check out my blogs "Does Color Matter? A Guide to Selecting Your Headshot Color Palette" and "How to Color Your World."

Practice Hair and Make-Up

Speaking from personal experience here, it's NEVER a good idea to figure out what you are going to do with your hair or make-up the morning of. Been there, done that and won't go back! Yikes. Save yourself the stress and have a dress rehearsal at least a day or two before the shoot.


  • Touch-up your roots.

  • Consider getting a trim.

  • Curl/flat iron your hair to compliment your outfit.

  • Schedule a blow-out, style or up-do with a stylist the day of the shoot. Shari at Paprika Salon in Shorewood, Daisy at Folia Plants & Hair in Milwaukee and Allie at Salon Cole in Oconomowoc are fantastic!


  • Make-Up: Neutral shades for shadow and blush play up the natural contours of your face and can work with any outfit.

  • Skin: Get that natural glow by giving yourself a facial or exfoliate your skin a few days before your photo shoot.

  • Acne: Zits happen. Sometimes they happen the day before or the day of the shoot. Your best line of defense? DON'T PICK OR POP. Make-up is a better concealor and I can also use the magic of Photoshop to take that bad boy right out of the photo!

  • Teeth: For a quick whiteness boost, start using whitening toothpaste and mouthwash a couple of weeks before the shoot. Purchasing Crest 3D White Strips can also do the trick.



  • Book a manicure at a local salon or give yourself an at-home manicure a day or two before the shoot to ensure your nails are shaped and trimmed. PSA: Nail polish will show up in photos! It makes its presence known. French, neutral or deep colors photograph best. Avoid neon, bold or mismatched colors when possible.


  • Make sure you apply lotion daily, but especially the week of your shoot.


  • Polish wedding rings, silver rings and other gems to make them shine.

General Wellness

  • Quality Sleep: People look best when they are healthy, and it shows up easily in photos. Getting good sleep, especially the day before the shoot, is essential because it makes your skin look brighter. After all, makeup can only do so much for dark circles on the day of the shoot! Having a good night of sleep will also help elevate your mood and energy.

  • Hydration: Water is not only a health booster, but it does amazing things for your skin! So drink up extra H20 in the days leading up the shoot and especially the morning of.

Other Logistics

  • Ensure you have updated your mobile calendar with the address and time of the photoshoot.

  • Add my cell number to your phone in the event you need to communicate with me the day of the shoot.

  • Arrive to the shoot location at least 5-10 minutes early so you are not rushed and flushed.

What to Bring to the Shoot

Pack your bag! Here is a list of items that can come in extremely handy when you are at a photo shoot.

  • Water

  • Hairbrush and/or comb

  • Hairspray

  • Hair ties

  • Make-up for quick touch-ups

  • Kleenex

  • Q-Tips

  • Lint roller

  • Safety pins

  • Sunscreen and/or bug spray

  • Small umbrella

The goal of a photo shoot is to capture moments. To capture confidence. To capture the "YOU" you want the world to see. It's about having fun! After all, it’s not every day that the camera is literally on you! Preparing for a photo shoot ahead of time will not only reduce stress, it will help ensure the finished product is nothing short of fantastic!

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