DRESS FOR THE OCCASION.
Before each session, I remind my clients that if the session will take place in their home, or in an area that’s familiar to them, that they should dress casually. When photographing a lifestyle session, it’s important for clients to look like they belong there; so I recommend a casually-put-together outfit.
This should go without saying, but it is a huge part of having a successful session. When you are relaxed, you feel free to be silly, you embrace your emotion and you display the most vulnerable sides of yourself.
LISTEN TO MUSIC.
My favorite genre is indie/folk/singer-songwriter, so my personal recommendations for listening are Jose Gonzalez or Bon Iver. Their voices put my mind at ease before each session, so if you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend checking them out on Spotify or iTunes. If the indie genre doesn’t do it for you, then you do you! Ultimately, you should listen to whatever puts your mind at ease. Whether that means blasting Mozart, or listen to your favorite podcast, whatever helps you feel “normal” is what you should be listening to prior to your session.
This is a big one. As a photographer, it’s incredibly important to me that my clients have appropriate and realistic expectations for their lifestyle session. If the session is with a newborn that is more than 10 days old, know that baby may not sleep a wink while I am there and that is okay! If the session involves a newborn and a toddler between 1 and 3 years old, please know that the toddler will be calling the shots and may not want to be around the baby…and that is okay! I am the professional; I have dealt with all kinds of situations. It is my job to pass this knowledge on to you to help you better prepare for your session.
Photographers and clients alike, communication is key. We need to communicate with each other. It is my responsibility to set expectations and help you to prepare for your session, but communication is also very important on your side. If you are experiencing something that isn’t normal, such as a family member becoming ill, or your toddler is very shy or terrified of strangers, or if you are in the middle of moving, these things are all factors that will affect your session experience, so I need to be aware of them before your session (if possible). It is ALWAYS okay to ask questions, so please do so!
REMEMBER THE GOAL.
This is all-encompassing. Lifestyle photography is unique from all other types of photography. If you love my work, you’re choosing to hire me because you want to capture candid, authentic, emotional moments. So, there’s something very important that I’d like to you to keep in mind while preparing for your session, and throughout your session experience. If I am playing games with your 2-year-old, or snuggling your newborn, or chatting with mom, this is all part of my job. If our session ends and you didn’t hear the words, “smile for the camera” one time, please know that the end result will be exactly what you’re looking for.
Things to consider.
If people wouldn't recognize you without glasses, you'll want to wear glasses in your shoot. However, the glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. You can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (don't worry, it's what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies), ask your doctor to loan you a pair of similar frames, or you can also visit an inexpensive company online like Zenni Optical to buy a suitable pair of duplicate frame for cheap!
Visine is your friend. Not getting intoxicated the night before your shoot helps, too. (I mean that with a lot of love!)
You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick for touch-ups. Use lip balm for a few days in advance of your shoot to make sure your lips look their best.
If you want to brighten your smile, start your treatments about two weeks before your shoot.
Start using African Black Bar Soap, or a cleanser that you know works for you, for a week in advance of your shoot to help reduce and limit pimples and blemishes. Equally important, don’t cake on a lot of make-up to try to hide blemishes – it’s almost always easier to Photoshop away pimples than to clean up overdone make-up.
A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. If you are able, I highly recommend treating yourself to a professional makeup application prior to your session. If that’s not a possibility, when applying makeup, make sure it matches your skin tone, or your face may look orange compared to the rest of your body.
Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and moisturizing lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your board, sideburns, moustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs.
Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), treat yourself to a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair can be noticeable in your photos. Men and women both, pluck and clean up those eyebrows.
Dry skin can really detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot. When you get out of the shower, dry off until lightly damp, and slather on moisturizer. Focus on your arms, shoulders, neck, face, hands, anywhere you’ll be exposed to the camera. This includes your legs if you’re shooting in shorts or a skirt. ProTip: For dry skin on your face, especially around your nose, use a sugar scrub. Mix a cup of sugar with about a quarter cup of olive oil, or just until it looks like wet sand. Scrub your face with it anywhere you have flaky skin, wash it off. The sugar paste shouldn’t be oily, just wet enough to moisten the sugar. Also, be sure on your face to use a facial moisturizer, not a thick body moisturizer, or you could break out.
A fresh coat of nail polish will make a world of difference in your photo shoot. Pick a neutral color that won’t distract in your shoot or clash with your outfits. Freshen the morning of the shoot, then be careful not to scuff your nails while preparing for your session. Your session is a great excuse to treat yourself to a fresh manicure, but if you can’t go to the salon, make sure your nails look tidy and clean, including the cuticles.
If you iron, iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE EVER.
Enjoy yourself! I am honored to be your photographer and I am so looking forward to spending this time with you!