September 11, 2018

Preparing for your Photo Session

Senior Year of High School is SOOO busy.  There are so many things going on that it seems like your head is spinning.  College applications, Last Pep Rally’s, Last Football season, SATs, Spending every last treasured second with your dearest friends BUT, you have to take time to get Professional Senior Pictures.  Not only are these for Mom but they are also for YOU.  You will look back and want to remember these days and what better than having professional portraits of this beautiful time in your life.


Now we know what we have to do so…LET’S PREPARE!

This goes for not just senior portraits but ALL of them.

I’ve had Mostly Great clients that show up prepared and excited for their shoot, however, I have also had some that were not so prepared and let me tell you, it makes a difference in the final product.

The most successful and beautiful shoots are the ones my clients took the time to prepare for.  So let’s get the best out of your session together.

Here are some TIPS for doing just that.



Got on the books early so you have plenty of time to shop for outfits, jewelry etc.  Also, this sets your spot so you are not scrambling at the last second to get booked.  More importantly, if you have a specific photographer in mind (we) book up early.


I also suggest that all of my clients get plenty of sleep the night before a session. A solid 8 hrs is best!  I know most of you have games the night before but go home right after and go to bed, sleep in.   Not just the night before but all week building up to your session get plenty of sleep.  You would be amazed at the difference.  You will wake up feeling more radiant, refreshed and ready for your day in the spotlight.  More benefits are No puffy skin, your eyes don’t look worn, red and tired.  There is a reason they call it Beauty Sleep.

As the photographer, I consciously do not overbook my calendar. I schedule myself in such a way where I can be fully present and grounded with each of my clients.  When we both take the time to be fully present and prepared it leads to a much more successful portrait session we will both be proud of.


getting facial

Your skin can make or break your photo shoot. If you’ve been getting plenty of rest, and are staying hydrated you’re well on your way to success for your shoot but whats the biggest Skin issue…ACNE!!  For those with acne prone skin, I recommend taking a break from make-up for a good week prior to your session and drink extra water! (more water than you think you need)  I fully understand that when your skin is broken out, mine still breaks out all the time (which is completely unfair btw)!!!  My instinct and most likely yours is to pick at it or cover up the acne with concealer. This can lead to several problems, one of which is MORE acne….ugggg.  The second issue being blotchy red patches from picking.  As an experienced skin retoucher,  I can attest to the fact that it is much easier to edit out a big pimple than a huge popped pimple that is red and irritated and the skin around is also red and blochy from picking.  So please, I encourage you to not pick at any existing acne before a portrait session.  I know, I know!!!!


One week before a session is a great time to go get a facial or create a “do it at home” facial.  Exfoliating off dead skin cells can leave the skin fresh, smooth and more receptive to receiving makeup from your makeup artist on the day of the shoot.

The night before your shoot, wash with your regular cleanser, use a good toner like witch hazel or rosewater, and then apply a good quality moisturizer. This will leave you with supple dewy skin the next morning and have you looking your best.

Do not use the weeks before your shoot to experiment with new products, either skin or makeup.

I also suggest avoiding salty, spicy, greasy foods and anything with alcohol in it for 24 hours before a portrait session.  Spicy foods and alcohol can redden the skin and leave us looking a bit more flustered. Whereas drinking LOTS of water and alkaline foods like avocados and cucumbers can cool the skin and keep us hydrated. Even if this is something that you don’t normally do, treat yourself to a cucumber and some avocado and indulge in the best quality water you can find and soak it up the day before a shoot. BTW, there is high alkaline water at the store….Your body will thank you!

so with that…


Keep a water bottle full and with you all the time leading up to your shoot.  Water rids the body of toxins.  What do toxins do….those punks give us the dreaded acne.

Your face and skin will be fuller (the good full), radiant and have a beautiful glow that shows in your portraits.  You CAN NOT drink enough water.  If you have a hard time with this, add some orange slices, cucumbers or berries to add a little flavor.



Making sure that your nails are clipped, dirt free, tidy!  RED ALERT…have nails free of any peeling nail polish.  It’s always fun to get a manicure if you’re able or at the very least, Please remove old nail polish. Nothing is worse than having everything prepared for weeks and someone shows up with old chipped nail polish.  Editing chipped nail polish is not cool!!  Honestly, I won’t do it anymore.  It can be easy to forget this step for some but please don’t.  I will love you even more for it.

Opt for neutral colors that will coordinate with any of your clothing choices. (nude or French manicure)


Please eat lightly before your session, but not so light that you’re going to be hangry!  No one wants that!!  A session can last anywhere from 1-3hrs. Please plan to bring a snack if you are the type to get hungry.  I will have cold water bottles for the shoot.


It’s a good idea to check in with your photographer at least 48 hrs before your shoot.  It’s also good to confirm that all is good, no one is sick and ensure that the weather is cooperating. If you have any last minute questions or new ideas, now is the time. Portrait sessions flow much more smoothly when everyone knows what will be happening and all questions are answered prior to the arrival time.


RED ALERT…Please Please, I beg of you Iron or steam your clothing and arrive with it on the hanger, vs stuffed in a bag or suitcase. This will also make me love you more!!!  Retouching out wrinkles can ensue extra editing fees, so its best to simply prepare ahead of time with everything wrinkle free.


~ Avoid white deodorant which can leave stains on your clothing, as you change from outfit to outfit. In Texas we can not go without so try using clear antiperspirant which will absorb the extra moisture and help avoid any pit stains.

~RED ALERT… Please Avoid wearing hair ties on your wrists, as they can leave imprints.

~Please avoid wearing socks for at least a few hours before your shoot….also leave imprints.

~I will have you send pictures of yourself in your outfits for my benefit but also so you know how everything looks together and if you need any new undergarments, etc.

I have a session “emergency” bag with things like bobby and straight pins, hair ties, band-aids, hairspray and etc… in case you need it.

~DONT FORGET TO Anything! Bring whatever earrings, necklaces, all shoes, scarves or hats that you will need.

Jewelry TIP…Put all jewelry in separate ziploc bags according to which outfit they go with. (i.e red outfit has gold tassle earings, gold funky necklace and bam bracelet. (i.e. Put all three of those jewelry pieces in a ziploc bag, label it “red outfit” and attach it to the red outfit hanger.)


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  1. Ann says:

    Such awesome tip!!!

  2. Deanna says:

    Great tips! Love the addion about the nails, it’s so often overlooked!

  3. Karen says:

    These are all great tips and I love that you made a post about it so seniors can prepare to look their best! Thanks for these!

  4. Great tips for a stress-free senior portrait session!