5 Mistakes People Make Before Portraits

You researched your photographer before booking. You’ve checked out the style tips, you’ve had your style consult, You planned the best time of day and location for your shoot.  You’re super prepared, right?  Here are 10 common mistakes people make before they have their portraits taken — and how to avoid them.

  1.  A Drastic haircut right before your session. It takes time for a haircut to settle.  And, worst-case scenario you hate it, there isn’t time to do anything about it if you’ve gotten the cut right before your session.  I generally recommend that if you’re going to get your hair cut before your session that it be about two weeks before we take your photos.
  2. Waiting until the last minute to gather outfit pieces.  Ok, I’m a little guilty of this myself.  I recently did a photoshoot of my own and I planned with the stylist early and even ordered the outfit pieces in PLENTY of time, but life was so busy I just threw the packages in a pile in my closet so I was still scrambling the night before the session to make sure everything fit right (if it hadn’t, I would have just been out of luck!) and pack it all for the session.  My session was right after I dropped my kids off at school, and I was able to put my outfit bag in the trunk the night before so I wouldn’t forget it, but that morning was so hectic I totally would have forgotten it if I hadn’t planned ahead.  Finding out I had nothing to actually wear would have been pretty much a disaster at that point.  Plan ahead and check your plans to make sure they’ll work.  
  3. Packing the day with too many activities.  If you have an evening time slot for your portraits, take it easy the day of your session.  The last thing you need (or your kids need if it’s a family shoot!) is to be so exhausted everyone is cranky by the time your session rolls around.  Take time for a nap or relax with a good book or whatever helps you be the most present and energized when your session time comes.  
  4. Not eating.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to sessions and people have told me they skipped breakfast (sunrise) or dinner (sunset).  Being photographed can be exhausting and your body needs good fuel to do the best job it can.  Especially if kids are involved, PLEASE make sure they’ve had a good meal before your session — it can make all the difference in the energy we get.
  5. Expecting too much.  Of yourself, of your kids, whatever.  In family photos, 9 times out of 10 the photos I need to delete are the ones where the parents are looking grumpy because a kid isn’t behaving the way they think their child “should” be behaving, even though the kid is being their awesome true self and really shining on camera.  Or in branding sessions when you start to feel self-conscious about your body, your clothes, or whatever else.  Come to your session with love and patience for yourself and your loved ones, and everything will go so much better, I promise you.

If you have any questions about any aspect of preparing for your session, my inbox is always open and no question is too trivial or stupid or anything — I want you to come to your session feeling as good as possible about both the experience and yourself!

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