How to Prepare for Your Dream Portrait Session

Booking a professional portrait session is an exciting step! Portraits give you an opportunity to get all dressed up, strut your stuff, and capture images that you and your family can look back on for years to come. It’s the perfect boost to your confidence and a chance to capture this specific moment in your life.

But having your photo taken can be a little (sometimes a lot!) intimidating, especially if you’ve never had a portrait session before. Maybe your wedding was the last time you got in front of the camera. Maybe it’s been even longer. Maybe you’ve never had a professional photoshoot! (eek!)

It’s okay to be a little nervous. After all, you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new. That’s incredibly brave! Regardless of your experience, you can enjoy and benefit from a portrait session.

That’s why I've put together this guide: to help you feel a little more comfortable about your portrait session and to help your nerves give way to pure excitement!

how to prepare for your dream portrait session

Pamper yourself

The week of your session is the perfect time to practice a little self-care. 2 or 3 days before the shoot, treat yourself to a facial scrub or soothing mask to refresh your skin or enjoy a luxurious bubble bath. This isn't the time to try something new though so stick to tried and tested products and never the night before the shoot!

Visit the salon for a touchup if you dye your hair and splurge on a manicure to make sure your nails are looking their best.

Taking care of yourself also means drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and fried foods, and getting plenty of sleep. Try to go to bed early the night before your session to avoid any bags under your eyes. The more refreshed and relaxed you feel, the better your images will turn out! #winning

Pick the perfect look

The question I probably get asked most often is What should I wear? While choosing an outfit is up to the individual and depends on what kind of images you want to create, there are some basic tips that apply to everyone:

  • Avoid neon colours - these never age well!
  • Stick to neutral and jewel tones. If you do want to wear something brighter, make sure it looks good with your skin tone and hair colour. You may want to invest in a stylist if you find you need more help.
  • Stay away from distracting prints or patterns - we want to see YOU & not your outfits. Solid colours and / or small abstract patterns work best.
  • Keep accessories elegant and minimal. Although if your personal style is lots of layered pieces, then go for it! Don't be cookie cutter - figure out how you want to be seen and embrace it fully!
  • If you are buying new clothes, make sure everything fits correctly before the day of your session. #highlyrecommended

Hire a makeup artist

You do your own makeup every day and know what amount looks best on you, but makeup for photography is completely different. A professional makeup artist can help make sure you look your best on camera, and their skilled work can give you a little extra confident boost for your session.

Even if you want a natural look, basic makeup is required to help even out skin tones and remove any unflattering under-eye bags and shadows that seem to be part of daily life. The goal with makeup is simply to ensure that you look like the best version of yourself! So you can be as natural or glam as you decide - it's completely up to you!

Great makeup is a fundamental part of the styling process at Wani Olatunde Photography, so this is part of the service I offer my clients. This means the only thing my clients need to worry about is turning up with their outfits. I like to keep the process as stress free as possible for my clients.

Bring along some snacks and drinks

While you definitely want to stay hydrated in the days leading up to your session, it’s just as important to keep drinking water during your session. When you’re packing up your outfits and extra makeup and hair products, throw some bottled water and a few non-messy snacks into your bag as well. You may find yourself getting hungry later in the day, and having a little snack can help keep your mood and energy up.

We also offer a selection of snacks and alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks at our intimate Wani Olatunde Photography studio in Milton Keynes. We like to make sure our clients are well taken care of and have the best experience possible with us.

Avoid getting in a rush

There's nothing worse than feeling stressed even before the photoshoot has begun! The day of your session should be a relaxing one. Don’t make other appointments or commitments and instead spend the time before your session leisurely getting ready. Speak to your photographer about how long the shoot will take so you can plan accordingly.

Here are a few other tips for keeping your day stress-free:

  • Take time to eat a light breakfast so you don’t have to go through your photoshoot with an empty stomach. Again, stay away from anything that will make you bloated.
  • Pack your bag and put your outfits together the night before, so you can just grab everything and go.
  • Look up directions to your portrait location in advance so you know how to get there.
  • Check on traffic the morning of your session and give yourself extra time, if necessary.
  • Give yourself plenty of time so you don't feel rushed and stressed when you walk into your shoot.

Stay in conversation with your portrait session photographer

It’s okay to have questions about your photography session. Feel free to ask! When you wait until the last minute to voice your concerns, your photographer may then struggle to meet your needs. Instead, stay in touch with your photographer from the day you book your session right up until the photoshoot itself. Let them know what you expect, what you want your images to look like, and ask any questions you may have.

At Wani Olatunde Photography, I have created several touchpoint with my clients including our pre shoot consultation to talk through styling, the shoot and any concerns my clients may have. My goal is to ensure my clients have a great photoshoot experience and they walk away with images that they love!

So remember your photographer is here to help you. Most photographers really just want to make sure you truly enjoy your portrait experience! 

Hope you've found this useful, if you need more help on preparing for the photoshoot itself, then be sure to check out this helpful blogpost right here.

Stay in touch via Instagram or Facebook for more helpful photography tips. Enjoy your photoshoot! 😄

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