So you’ve decided to do a professional photo shoot with a Chicago portrait photographer. Congratulations! A photo shoot can be a fantastic memory in and of itself as you create photographs that you will carry with you through life and hand down through the generations.
But in order to make the most of your photo shoot, a little prep work is helpful. Here are 10 top tips for helping you get the absolute most out of your time with a professional photographer:
1. Consider clothing carefully before the shoot.
Clothing represents who you are. That almost goes without saying. So you want to take the time, prior to the shoot, to put together several outfits which project the image you want captured forever. Choose several outfits because that way you can go casual, dressy, do a fun, goofy picture if that’s your thing, etc.
- Make sure you consider accessories—any jewelry, for instance—shoes, ties, etc.
- Also think of things you can layer to easily create multiple outfits.
- Pack the outfits the night before.
- If this photo session involves multiple people, coordinating outfits is fine. Actually, it’s great! But that doesn’t mean you want to get all matchy-matchy. Rather, consider colors. If one person is wearing blue, for instance, someone else might wear a green that is a similar shade.
- Avoid khaki and bland white shirts. Get creative! Have fun!
Remember—the goal is for this picture to clearly represent you. So pick stuff that makes you feel good inside and out!
2. Consider hair and makeup.
Let’s face it—Chicago professional headshots and photo shoots don’t come cheap. So you want to look great in them! Make the absolute most of your time by considering every detail of your appearance, including hair and makeup.
If possible, get your hair and makeup done by professionals. That takes a ton of pressure off you and allows you to have that much more fun at your photo shoot. Pros know all the tricks of the trade to make sure you look incredible. Take advantage of their expertise!
Or, maybe you’re lucky enough to have a friend who excels at the kind of thing. If so, enlist his/her help!
At the very least, strongly consider having someone do your makeup since good (or bad!) makeup can make or break a photo shoot. Professional makeup artists know all about highlighting key features, minimizing flaws, contouring, etc.
Whether you do your hair and makeup yourself or have somebody else do it, the key is to think ahead so that day of the photo shoot, you know the plan and are stress-free.
3. Prop it up.
As part of your pre-shoot prep, think of special things you want included in your photographs. It could be books, awards, suitcases, a special Christmas ornament, sports equipment, flowers, a funky couch—you name it, the sky is the limit as long as you can transport it without undue hassle. Make sure the props are unique and represent the image you want to portray. You want them to enhance the photo shoot and make it that much more, rather than overwhelm it. If you have questions about what will and won’t work, talk to your photographer ahead of time.
Make sure you have anything packed and ready to go the day before.
4. Location, location!
Where you have your photo shoot is every bit as important as what you wear. While photographers undoubtedly have places they love and can recommend—and don’t hesitate to ask about them—there are also special, meaningful places in your life which may make your photographs all the more amazing.
Take some time before the photo shoot to visit such places and figure out the ones that mean the most and which you want captured forever in pictures that will hang in pride of place.
A good tip to keep in mind when considering locations is that a nice balance of sun and shade helps create a good photograph.
While you’re free to choose as many locations as you’d like, do keep in mind that your time for the session is limited, so try to find places that are relatively close to one another so the majority of your session is spent taking incredible pictures and not driving from place to place!
5. Make sure you consider …
Your personality! Your hobbies! What you do for a living! What you love to do with friends! The more you can bring in terms of ideas/props/inspiration to the photo shoot that truly represents you, the more the photo shoot will be amazing. That includes locations.
Maybe you want to take a picture where you had your first date. Maybe you want to go somewhere inspiration struck and led you to start a whole new business. Or the spot your kid first learned to ride a bike or scored that winning goal. Whatever it is that you want to remember forever, make sure it encapsulates your personality, your life, (and that of anyone else in the shoot) and tell the photographer all about it.
6. Think outside the box.
While you may have certain ideas in mind for a photo shoot, absolutely do not be afraid to get a little wild and crazy. Think unique! You don’t have to do the standard dead-on pose. Lie down. Jump. Sprawl on the grass. Sniff a flower. Use your locations and props to their fullest to give you a truly extraordinary, one-of-a-kind photograph.
7. Do your research.
No, you do not want to copy somebody else’s special picture for your own Chicago headshots. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get ideas! Go looking online. Talk to friends. Look in magazines. Gather ideas that help enhance some of the looks and places you’re already considering. Put together a theme. Print it out or snap pictures of it with your phone and bring it to your photo shoot. The more you can give your Chicago family photographer to work with, the better the whole outcome will be.
8. Timing matters.
Yes, you only have a limited amount of time for a session, as we noted earlier. But in addition to that, you need to be aware that certain times of the day are far better for capturing lighting, atmosphere, etc.
So make sure you show up at the appointed time. Even if you’re just a few minutes late, you may be missing out on the perfect moment because the lighting is suddenly all wrong.
Show up on time! You’re paying good money to have the best possible experience. Make the most of it from beginning to end.
9. Strike a pose.
Practice some poses beforehand. At the shoot, don’t worry, the photographer is there to help and guide you. But doing some research and practicing in the mirror ahead of time will put you ahead of the game. You want to feel comfortable. This is supposed to be fun!
If you’re ever feeling awkward or shy or unsure during the photo shoot, talk to the photographer. He or she will be glad to offer expert advice to make sure you come out looking great.
10. Be you.
We’ve already said this several times, but it’s vital: be you at the photo shoot. Let your personality shine through. The pictures need to capture you and not someone else’s idea of who you are. So relax at the photo shoot. Let go. Have fun! It does not need to be perfect in order to be perfect.
The more you allow yourself to just have fun, the more that will be visible in the photographs.
I’m a Chicago-based professional photographer with years of headshot and portrait experience. Please click on the Services Tab for detailed information on my photography services , and samples of my work, and book your session today!