You're finally ready to book your first photoshoot ever in life. How do you prepare? What do you need to know to maximize your results? Is it normal to be nervous? Once you have your photos and are ready to post them, what hashtags do you use? Will Kanye West ever make it back to normal?
1. Choosing the type of shoot you want to do - headshots, portraits, glamor, boudoir, fashion, commercial, alternative art
You've taken the selfies when out with your friends, and the snapchat filters have been kind to you, but you know you like the professional look when photographers have taken your photo at events like weddings. You've thought about doing a shoot for yourself for a while, and you're finally ready to take the leap. So where do you start?
First things first, what is your goal? Do you need headshots for your business cards? Do you want some flattering photos for Tinder? Is this something special for a special someone, like a boyfriend or husband? You've gone to the spa before and received massages to feel better, so is it that crazy to think about doing a glamor shoot to have some beautiful photos of yourself at this moment in your life?
These are all questions you need to honestly ask yourself before proceeding. You won't be able to do every single type of shoot in one day, so you'll have to choose, and then choose your photographer based on that. The one thing to remember is that there is no wrong path to take. You're a paying customer, and you're in control of the direction you want to take. If you've dreamt of doing a fashion shoot, then plan a fashion themed shoot. If you want to dress sexy, or perhaps strip down to your favorite lingerie set and do a glamor or boudoir shoot, then plan on that. Do what will excite you, and ultimately make you happy. The photos will last you forever (if you don't delete them, and you back them up). I know people who have gone through plastic surgery, and they return, often citing it as addicting. I believe photoshoots can be the same, and if you have the right photographer, it'll also be a lot more fulfilling (and less expensive) than plastic surgery. You're preserving yourself at a moment in time. #treatyourselfnow
2. Choosing your photographer - pay someone professional, avoid the perv in the basement
There's few excuses as to not doing your due diligence and selecting the right photographer for the job. Yes, a professional photoshoot can run you anywhere from $300 to $7500. If the person on craigslist who doesn't have a website is charging $37.50, there might be something wrong. You're sacrificing not only quality, but also the experience. It's hard to explain in detail what "the experience" is unless you've had a bad one to compare it to. We spend ample time before a shoot planning the concepts, finding samples, and preparing our subjects, along with having the proofs of the photos ready within 24 hours after the shoot. With certain shoots, we bring wine, and with others we may grab a beer. You won't go thirsty or get hungry with us. On top of that, you want to feel safe that you're in a professional environment and your photographer isn't hitting on you or being inappropriate in general. Review their Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook reviews to get a sense of what their past clients have said about them. Find someone whose work excites you and leaves you anticipating your own shoot. This isn't a trip to the dentist, and you shouldn't be dreading any part of it. #getexcited
3. Hair and Make Up- Can you really do it yourself, be honest?
I recommend a make up artist and hair stylist for our glamor, boudoir, commercial, and fashion sessions. It is included in our packages, but yes, it does cost extra. Yes, in most cases, they will make you look better, and leave you with less to stress about it. It's all part of the experience. You can go to the top massage parlor and ask if you can bring your own lotion to use on yourself. But why? I've also worked with people who are extremely talented with make-up, and have done a terrific job applying their own. On the other hand, I've done commercial shoots where the person wanted to save money, so they opted for doing their own hair and it was a mess. So take a step back, and honestly ask yourself if you can handle it on your own, or if you would prefer a professional to take care of that for you. #pamperyourself
4. Selecting your wardrobe- should I bring everything black I own?
For most shoots, we do recommend bringing multiple outfits. You may bring 5 and we may only use 2-3. If you bring 2, and one doesn't seem to work, then we're stuck with 1 look for a 3 hour shoot you booked. Bring variety. Colors are ok. Don't be scared of wearing colors. I would say to avoid neon yellow/green, and stripes in general. But wear your clothes beforehand and make sure they fit well, and more importantly, you feel confident in them. Props are also absolutely great, as they help a photo appear more natural. Scarfs, purses, hats, glasses, jacket, and anything else you can hold or carry would serve as a wonderful prop. #propsforyou
5. Poses aka practicing that "making love to the camera" face.
If you've hired an experienced photographer, they will guide you through the poses. It's their job. They shouldn't be looking down at their phones looking for poses either. You don't see a chef at a 5 star restaurant going through recipes for every dish he's making. This all goes back to the experience you're getting. It's also ok to go through some photos on Instagram/Pinterest and see what kind of plooks you like. You can offer ideas, and it's great to be involved. Just don't go overkill by selecting 823 photos from Pinterest and forcing your photographer to try to nail them all. That takes away from creativity and destroys the natural progression of a shoot. #ducklipsok
6. Do I opt for indoor or outdoor- aka will the sun make me melt?
This goes back to both the concepts you wanted, and what the photographer you like offers. Headshots, for example, can be done indoor in a studio or in the comfort of your office, or outdoors with some natural lighting. It's a matter of preference. On the other hand, for something like a glamor or boudoir shoot, you'd want to shoot indoors only, so it's private. Your photographer would recommend a hotel or airBNB that would work. Avoid doing the shoot at your own home because it takes away from the whole "experience." When you want to celebrate with a special meal, you don't want them bringing it to you. You want the experience of going to a restaurant, having everything served to you, having your drink refilled without you asking, with your favorite music playing in the background. #theatmospherecounts
7. What do I do after the shoot- I hate waiting.
You did your shoot, and you feel it went well. Did you ask your photographer how long it takes to view the proofs? Hopefully it won't be more than a few days. In most cases, you'll select your favorites to edit/retouch once you do view them. A photographer that is offering all of the photos from the shoot as the main package in 99% of cases isn't editing and retouching the photos. We have basic packages that we give 5 digitals to you after you've selected your favorites, and more extravagant packages with prints and albums that come with 120 digitals. These are obviously things you should find out before. Once you do have your photos, and you're happy with the results, feel free to post them on social media. Just don't add a filter and don't use the app's editing to edit the photo. Here's another restaurant analogy- you don't order lamb and lobster (you're hungry) and then ask for the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and hummus because you think that mixture will give it flavor. The chef has already prepared it. Finally, give your photographer credit. It's just nice etiquette. You don't have to do it for every single photo, although if you're putting 40 hashtags, you can probably tag your photographer too. I promise you they'll love you more for it. #appreciate
Have any other questions before booking your first photoshoot? Feel free to email me directly and I'll be happy to offer you guidance. And feel free to email me if you'd like to set up your first shoot ever in life with us (or even if it's not your first one).
Your eager and enthusiastic San Diegan photographer,
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