Ultimate Photoshoot Checklist!

For those of you that regularly follow my side gig The Beauty School Dropouts, you will have seen that we recently coordinated a big photoshoot day with Tony McKay Studios in Hamilton! It went really really well – so well, in fact, that we have another two-day shoot coming up later this month that sold out in under 90 minutes!


With that in mind, today I’m going to share a few photos from that shoot, and go through my top must-dos in the lead up to a photo shoot!

Book your dream team!

Make sure to do your research and choose a photographer with a style you like! It’s worth spending the money to book a photographer who you know will understand the brief and be able to achieve the look you want! If you aren’t sure, check out portfolios, ask people you know for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to be fussy if you have a specific style in mind!
If you’re comfortable doing your own hair and makeup, then that’s great, but there are plenty of talented and experienced hair and makeup artists around if you would prefer someone else take care of that for you! Once again, check out photos of their work, and ask people you know for recommendations – This is also a good time for me to remind you that if you are in the market for a HMUA then, well, I am one. Haha

Practice!

It’s important to know how your face feels when you smile, or laugh, or frown, or pout, so that you can recreate the expressions you like when it comes to shoot day! Practice facial expressions and poses in front of the mirror so you feel comfortable – More often than not the photographer will guide you when it comes to posing, but it can certainly help if you are confident at posing!

Prepare your outfit

Select your outfit, and write a detailed list of the accessories and jewellery you are bringing – then check them off the list as you pack them into your bag, so you don’t arrive and realise you’ve forgotten something important! I pack everything into a clear ziplock bag that I can hang over the coathanger that my clothes are on, with the list inside the bag, so I know what I’m taking and I can see it all!

Props!

Think of props that you can bring to match your outfits – For example if you are doing a tropical themed shoot, you could bring a ukulele, some bongos, or a coconut cocktail mug! Props can make a photo more believable, and will also give you something to do with your hands, which is important if you are a little nervous or a little awkward!

Make a beauty / grooming checklist for the week leading up to your shoot!

  • Wax or shave your legs and armpits 3 days prior to a shoot, if that’s your thing….just don’t have any facial hair waxed in the three days before your shoot otherwise you might end up with some residual redness.
  • Check your hair! If it’s been a while since you had a trim, or if your roots are showing or your colour needs a touch up, now is the time to have those dealt to. If you hair is dry, consider a deep conditioning treatment. Make sure you don’t make any crazy drastic changes though, because if your colour doesn’t come out as planned you won’t look like yourself in your photos, and that can put a bit of a dampener on your mood!
  • Get your nails done, or at least give them a little tidy yourself, and if you are wearing open shoes then don’t forget your toes!
  • Tidy up your eyebrows, or pay someone else to!
  • Look after your skin – Consider getting a facial, or give yourself a mini-spa evening – but don’t start a brand new skincare regime right before a shoot, because your skin can sometimes take a little while to adjust to new products and you can run the risk of breakouts!
    If you do have a breakout, that’s fine and totally normal, just please please don’t pick or squeeze anything! It’s really easy to cover a pimple, it’s much trickier to cover broken skin!

Stay in touch with your team!

Consider messaging your photographer / HMUA a day or two before the set date, just to confirm that all details are correct and that everyone is still on track for your shoot – As a makeup artist, I always appreciate when my clients message me to confirm everything, because then I know I won’t get stood up! It’s also a good time to ask any last questions, and give yourself a little peace of mind.

Make the job easier for your makeup artist – get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol and salty foods so you look bright and fresh come shoot day!
Come with a clean moisturised face, and follow the instructions your hair stylist has given you – if they want you with day old hair, then please come with day old hair!

And this should go without saying, but turn up on time. The people you are working with have likely got a timeline all worked out for their day, so make sure you play your part by being there ready to go at your previously agreed start time!

Be good to yourself!

Stop the negative self-talk, and be open to falling in love with parts of yourself that you don’t see the appeal in! Photoshoots can open up all kinds of negative body image things that you might think you have safely locked away, and that can be tough to get past, but please don’t focus on them! This is such a good opportunity to see yourself in a whole new light, so grab it with both hands! Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and have fun – my favourite photos of myself are the ones where I’ve let my guard down and am showing real emotion, or being a bit silly!

I think that’s my list pretty much covered – Let me know what your top tips are for preparing for a photo shoot!

Until next time,
<3 Fran

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