My 'What To Expect' Guide

You’re excited! You just booked a session, and you’ve already started planning everything to get ready for the special day. You’re pretty confident you know exactly what you want and exactly what to bring, but maybe there are a few things you haven’t thought of yet.

Find out what you can expect on the day of your photo shoot. I'll tell you what to do before, during and after your session.

Important information you'll find in this guide:

  • How you can prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally

  • What you should bring to and prepare for your photo shoot

  • What you should wear and whether you’ll have an opportunity for outfit changes

  • How I choose which images to share with you

  • When you can expect to receive the final copy of your photos

  • How and where you can expect to find your photos online


What To Do Before My Shoot

The week before your photo shoot is important. There’s a lot you can do to prepare ahead of time to make sure you look and feel your best. Life is hard, but you don’t want that to show on your face. So spend some time taking care of you and yours, and really think about what’s most important to communicate with these photos. You could be hoping to demonstrate your elegance or your fire. You may want your kids’ adventurous nature to really show through. If you’re taking photos with your significant other, you’re going to want that love and partnership to really shine. Think about the purpose of this photo shoot, and keep coming back to that as your anchor as you go through all the things you’ll need to make this process as stress-free as possible.


What I Should Bring To My Photo Shoot

  • Water & Mirror. This is mostly for outdoor sessions. If you’ll be in the studio, you’ll have access to these things. But if we’re out and about, make sure you have something colorless and refreshing to drink, as well as a mirror to check yourself out.

  • SPF, Bug Spray, Snacks. These are other things helpful on a case-by-case basis. Especially if you’ll have kids with you on a longer photo shoot, be sure they’re covered with SPF and bug spray. And bring some snacks! Hopefully some that don’t stain easily.

  • Lip Gloss, Touch-Up Makeup, Hair Product or Brush/Comb, Dental Floss. Whatever is quick and easy for you to apply, bring it. You never know what you’ll need, but make sure these are the quickly accessible items ONLY. Don’t go overboard, but be prepared with the essentials like lip gloss (NOT dark lipstick that may need some TLC applying), oil wipes, finishing powder or highlighter (but nothing that could stain clothes), and colorless hair product for flyaways or quick style changes. And if you have kids sitting for photos, have a brush or comb and some dental floss on hand, because I’m sure they’ll be snacking to stay focused!

  • Confidence & Positivity. Whatever you’re feeling on the inside is going to show on the outside. Take some time for yourself leading up to the photo shoot. Go for a walk, do some yoga, meditate, or go grocery shopping, if that’s what helps you de-stress! Come to the shoot feeling positive, confident, and focused on the moment.

  • Knowledge. You probably already have some ideas on certain poses you’d like to do, specific shots you want of you or your family -- a mental checklist of all your photo shoot requirements. Write all those down! And most importantly, do your research. It never hurts to expand knowledge you may already have on modeling and posing, and learning new techniques is great for everyone from beginners to expert models. Here are just a few great online resources I've found:

What I Should Know For the Day-Of

You’ve spent at least the last week thinking and planning tirelessly for this day. Hopefully you have your bag(s) ready to go! Make sure they’re easily portable -- something you can pick up and put down quickly as we move from location to location. If you have a change of clothes, make sure those are stored in a way that they don’t get wrinkled or dirty. Here are all the items -- from head to toe (H2T) -- that will help ensure this day is truly special for you and everyone involved.

H2T: What I Should Wear Checklist

  • Hair. Always consider the style of your photo shoot when deciding how to wear your hair. This is generally personal preference, but many people like to have their hair styled up and out of their face to help keep flyaways at bay. Others like the long, free-flowing look, and that’s totally fine. Make sure you have some easy-to-apply hair product on hand to fix up between shots. If you color your hair, be sure your roots are touched up.

  • Makeup. The style, type, and amount of makeup you wear is entirely up to you, but it should reflect the atmosphere and style of your photo shoot. If you want a more natural look in the photos, go for a more natural look with your makeup. Bolder colors are amazing if applied correctly and stand out very well in photos. Shine as bright as you want to shine, or show me your chill, earthy side! This should go without saying, but makeup is not required. This is entirely at your discretion.

  • Skincare. Be sure to take care of your skin leading up to the photo shoot. Blemishes can be easy to edit out, but brighter skin from a good skincare routine is definitely noticeable. This includes shaving/waxing/etc. to your level of comfort on the parts of your body that will be visible in photos -- eyebrows, face, underarms, legs, etc.

  • Perfumes & Lotions. Applying a lotion with a shimmer can stand out really nicely in photos. Other than that, this point is more for the benefit of everyone at the photo shoot. Wearing perfumes or lotions with strong scents can be distracting. They can also have the opposite effect, in that they can attract some unwanted guests, like bees and other insects checking out the sweet smells. Even worse, they can stain your clothing!

  • Teeth. As stated above, be sure you have floss on hand, in case you need to liberate some leftovers from your teeth. But also be sure your teeth are as white as you’d like them to be. If you don’t have time to get to the dentist, Crest sells whitestrips that can help whiten teeth, even if you do it just a week before your session.

  • Undergarments. Consider things like panty lines, bra straps, underwear that may dig in and cause rolls in the skin, or Spanx that peak out of your clothing. Spanx in general is a great idea, however. There are also exceptions to this rule, in that sometimes a cute crop top or bra with fun straps on the front or back can look fun or sexy if visible. The general rule is to make sure any undergarments that are made visible in a photo are done so intentionally.

  • Accessories. Definitely accessorize, but don’t go overboard. Think of items like scarves, hats, jewelry, jackets, sweaters, flowers in your hair, headbands -- and coordinate them with the outfits you’ve picked out. For men, a simple, colorful tie or bowtie may be all he needs. For girls, just a few natural flowers placed in her hair or a fun ballerina tutu over her outfit is adorable. Adults, make sure your wedding rings are clean! There’s nothing worse than seeing your most precious possessions tarnished in a photograph.

  • Nails. A mani/pedi just before a photo shoot never hurt anyone. If you’re able to pull that off, make the appointment the day before your shoot to eliminate the possibility of chipping. And stick with a French style or more nude colors, unless you’re going for the bright, color-popping look!

  • Shirts. Try to avoid prints and patterns that can be distracting. Solid, neutral colors always help your own natural features stand out. Black, navy, and charcoal are some great darker tones. White, cream, nude, and light pink are great if you prefer lighter neutrals. This is also a great area to emphasize textures. Maybe you have a fluffy sweater you love or a satin blouse. Sheer, gauzy material also comes out great in photos, as long as you’re wearing something solid underneath. Always consider the neckline, knowing that the collarbone is a lovely part of your body. Necklines like boat neck, scoop neck, deep V, and off-the-shoulder really help emphasize the collarbone.

  • Pants or Shorts. These should be well-fitting and not too snug or causing any “overflow” at the top. Make sure all pants and shorts can be zipped or buttoned. A fly halfway down can be really distracting to a photo. Unless you’re working them into a trendy fashion shoot, denim shorts generally don’t work for photos. Looking at you, Dad wearing jorts!

  • Dresses or Skirts. Consider the audience when deciding on length of dresses or skirts. Is this something that is going to go on your wall for everyone who comes into your home to see? Maybe you don’t want to wear a Nana-upsetting mini-skirt. Or maybe you do! If you’re going for the sexier side of things, something skin-tight and revealing could be just your style. Also, be sure dresses aren’t so long that they drag on the ground, gathering dirt and stains. And make sure they’re not see-through! Sometimes, when the light hits just right, those flowy sundresses become translucent. You might be fine with this, but if not, make sure you’re equipped with the right undergarments. Dresses and skirts are also great opportunities to show movement. Find something that flows or billows when you move, and mark my words -- those will be some of your favorite shots!

  • Kids’ Clothes. I’m sure this goes without saying, but please make sure your children’s clothes are free of stains and wrinkles. They may have princesses and superheroes adorning all their favorite outfits, but try to choose something more neutral and timeless for photos. But on the flip side, if they have a favorite clothing item that is just their signature item, something your family will always remember, that’s a great thing to feature in a photo. Think: a superhero cape or tutu they wear everywhere or a cowboy hat or tiara they just won’t take off.

  • Shoes. If you’re planning on doing more than headshots, the shoes matter. Be sure all shoes are free of scuffs, and that the bottoms are not worn or discolored. This goes extra for kids! Shoes may sometimes be an afterthought, but they can also be the focal point if done right… or wrong. Imagine some cute turquoise Converse sneakers or some classy Louboutins with a bright red bottom. Those colors stand out and really make a photo pop. Likewise, a gorgeous outfit is taken down a notch with dirty, worn shoes. Also consider the style of the shoot. For instance, adults should almost never wear sneakers in a photo, unless they’re styled in active wear. Dress it up, even if you wouldn’t in your day to day life!

Should My Family Wear Coordinating Outfits?

Smart coordination and matchy-matchy are two very different things. Don’t dress exactly the same as your family members or partner. Start with a basic color palette, and then decide what works best for each person in the photo.

It can be helpful to have one person wear a pattern or bolder color that others can match up to. For example, a family may all wear lavender shirts or accent pieces (like a tie or pocket square) to match the flowers in their daughter’s multi-colored, patterned skirt.

Everyone wearing jeans and a white shirt will make things blend together. Similarly, everyone wearing a black shirt could look like just a bunch of floating heads. Change it up, and ask your photographer for suggestions if you’re unsure. Or check out this Pinterest search for popular color schemes.

Will I Have a Chance To Change Outfits?

Outfit changes are time, so consider how many outfits you’d like to wear when booking your session. The number of included outfit changes vary by session type. Consider layering as another option to full changes. If you’re wearing a scarf, that can become a headwrap or a belt or sash. Plaid shirts can be buttoned, tucked or worn around the waist with a solid-colored tank top underneath. This same concept goes for kids’ photo shoots, as well. Kids are adorable in hoodies and boots, but if the weather is a bit warmer, there’s no way they’ll keep all that on for very long. That’s always a good time to lose the layers and get some pics of their cute T-shirt and bare feet!

Can I Bring Props?

If you have small props that can fit inside your bags, great! Think: Colorful flowers that match the palette you’re going for, Easter eggs or candy canes for holiday photos, a small sign with a meaningful message, or your child’s most-loved stuffed animal. Again, consider time when deciding which props to bring. You’ll need to be able to quickly set these up -- with the help of the photographer, of course -- and take them down or put them away so we can get as much out of your time as possible.

What To Expect After My Shoot

Once the fun is done, you’re probably going to want to just kick your feet up and pat yourself on the back. Expressing so much creativity is exhausting! Let me take it from here and work my magic. I know you’ll probably have a ton of questions, so treat this section as kind of the post-shoot FAQ. If you can’t find your answers here, let me know and I'll make sure every last question is answered and every request fulfilled to the best of my ability.

  1. When Will I Get to See My Images?

    Once your session is complete, the real fun begins. We’ll schedule a Gallery Reveal, which can sometimes be as soon as minutes after your session. Gallery Reveals, which can be done in person or online (like a video conference), give me the chance to walk you through each one of your photos and see your excitement as you pick your absolute favorites.

  2. How Do I Place My Order?

    Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite photos at the Gallery Reveal, I’ll help you build your album and choose the fine art prints that will adorn your home for years to come. If your package includes an online gallery and/or digital downloads, you’ll receive an email with a private gallery link and password within 10 business days.

  3. How Long Will I Have To Wait For My Album & Prints?

    I use a fine art lab based in Missouri that boasts a 1-3 day turnaround on most albums and prints.

  4. Why Won’t I Receive the Unedited Images?

    Because the retouching process is integral to the digital photography style I’ve developed, it’s my policy not to release any RAW (non-retouched) images to any clients. You’ve chosen me to ensure the final product is perfection, and that’s what I always intend to deliver.

  5. Why Can’t I See All the Photos That Were Taken?

    Sure, you may hear the shutter click and see the flash go off many more times than your finalized photos would show. But that doesn’t mean they all met the quality standards I’ve set for myself. For example, some photos are taken in quick succession to avoid blinking shots, others are taken to test lighting conditions in a particular spot. I reserve the right to discard any images with technical issues and/or imperfections that can’t be corrected in Photoshop or any other images that don’t reflect my high standards. This ensures the photos you receive are of the caliber and grade you expect from me.

  6. Will I Receive a Photo of Every Pose We Did?

    Maybe, maybe not! It’s always my goal to deliver a variety of looks from your session. However, if a pose or two just didn’t work out as well as originally envisioned, they may not be included in your Gallery Reveal. Trust that you will not get anything less than the best!

  7. Will These Images Be Used Anywhere Else?

    I may post them across my social media accounts and/or on my blog. Additionally, you may see a photo pop up in an online ad, if it’s just such a gorgeous photo that I have to feature it! If for any reason you do not want your photos to be shared in any manner, please let me know before the conclusion of your shoot.