Hair – Women, if you’re getting a haircut, do so about two weeks prior to your session, giving you plenty of time to fix any fiascos (they happen to the best of us) and to learn to style it if it is a new “do”. For men and boys, a fresh cut a couple of days before the shoot is fine, just be aware of the newly revealed tan lines and spend some time outdoors as necessary.
Hair accessories – If your session is outside, be prepared to put your hair up and make it look nice in preparation of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, head scarves or any other favorite accessories. Don’t worry, you won’t have to carry it all, I have a wagon or cart for props that also doubles as your take-along carrier.
Glasses - If people wouldn’t recognize you without glasses, you’ll want to wear them in your portraits – however, if you are self conscious about the glare on glasses or hate the reflections in them, you can have your lenses removed from your frames for your shoot (don’t worry, it’s what Hollywood does to avoid glare in movies). You can also visit an inexpensive company online like Zenni Optical (ZenniOptical.com) and buy a suitable pair of duplicate frames on the cheap.
Red eyes – Visine is your friend. Not getting drunk the night before your shoot helps, too. I can fix a lot of things with Photoshop, but this isn’t one of them.
Lips – You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick to touch them up. Begin using Chapstick, Carmex, or your favorite lip moisturizer beginning 7-10 days in advance of your shoot to make those smackers look smooth and kissable.
Teeth – If you want to brighten those pearly whites, begin your whitening treatments at least two weeks before your session.
Blemishes – Start your treatment acne treatments at least a week in advance of your session to help reduce and limit outbreaks. Try not to schedule your photoshoot during the time of month you generally break out (if there is any rhyme or reason to your breakouts). Try to limit eating greasy foods as well as sweets about a week before your session. Don’t try caking on makeup in an effort to hide blemishes – it takes 1 click of the mouse in Photoshop to erase pimples but is nearly impossible to clean up overdone make-up. For fever blisters use Abreva if one pops up.
Make-up – The day of your photo session is not the day to try a new makeup style. Think subtle application and accent, not spotlight or neon glow. This is also not the time to try applying makeup for the first time; make sure you know what you’re doing, and make sure it matches your skin tone so that your face doesn’t look orange while the rest of your body is tan. If you will be using a makeup artist for the first time, try using them at least once before committing to a photo session. If you hate the results, you do not want the reminder hanging on the wall.
Facial hair – Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor, shaving cream and a moisturizing after-shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your beard, sideburns, mustache or goatee, especially looking for wiry stray hairs. If you are a beard-man, I cannot stress beard oil enough. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Members of both genders, yes both, pluck and shape those eyebrows. Do NOT get waxed the day of your photoshoot.
Moisturizer – Dry skin can reflect negatively from an otherwise perfect portrait. Begin a moisturizing routine about a week before your photo session. After your shower is the best time to apply a moisturizer. Dry off and generously start applying to a still slightly damp body. Anywhere that will be exposed during your photo session needs attention. Don’t apply body lotion to your face but use a facial moisturizer to prevent a possible break out. Body moisturizers are too thick for your face and tend to clog pores. BeautyTip: For dry skin on your face, especially around your nose, use a sugar scrub. Mix a cup of sugar with about a quarter cup of olive oil, or just until it looks like wet sand. Scrub your face with it anywhere you have flaky skin, wash it off, then wash with soap to remove the oil. The sugar paste should not be oily, just wet enough to moisten the sugar. Men, concentrate especially around the face and hands. It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone!
Nails – Try to schedule a manicure 1-2 days prior to your photo shoot, if not the day of. If you will be barefoot or wearing open-toed shoes, you will also need a pedicure. At a minimum, a fresh coat of clear or colored nail polish will do the trick. Pick a flattering or neutral color that compliments your outfit/s. Add a fresh coat the morning of your shoot, (hint, hint) so that any chips or snags are covered up. I know you are busy but polish that has chipped away and is now only visible as a jagged chunk in the middle of the nail looks HORRIBLE in pictures. Don’t forget your cuticles; trimming them is a needed touch.
Bloating – Ladies, avoid high salt, greasy fries, sodas, and high fat foods for two to three days prior to your session. Being bloated is never a good feeling and we all want to look our very best when going in front of the camera.
Undergarments – Visible bra straps are an eyesore. Be sure you bring a set of bras and strap-adjusting accessories to work with any outfit you want to shoot in to keep those straps well-hidden. Remember that these pesky straps often leave indentions on your skin so plan your outfits accordingly (if you will be changing outfits). You might want to start with the strapless one and go from there. Panty lines are also unappealing. We all love an excuse to visit our favorite lingerie store! I’m not sure what it is about wearing sexy lingerie, but it sure boosts your confidence and self-image! (hint, hint)
Sun burns and tan lines – If your shoot is booked for Saturday, don’t go to the lake on Friday. If you plan to tan before your shoot, do so at least a week beforehand and don’t get burned. Be mindful of clothing tan lines, sunglass tan lines, hat tan lines, etc. Men, if you wear ball caps, take them off and go outside so that your forehead doesn’t blind me when your wife or mother demands that you remove it for at least 1 or 2 poses.
Ironing - Please don’t pull something out of the hamper the morning of the shoot, throw it on, and arrive in wrinkled clothes. At a bare minimum, place them in the dryer with a wet cloth and hang them up the night before. If you can iron, doing so the night before and allowing your garments to hang overnight nets the best results. If you plan to wear something that wrinkles easily, plan on changing into it once you arrive at your session. The car ride will destroy all of that iron and prepping you did the night before and the resulting wrinkles will have me wrinkling my nose. LOL.
Shoes – Ladies, depending on your location, you may want to wear a pair of walking shoes and then slip into those heels or wedges once we walk to our destination. Men, whether you are wearing dress shoes, sneakers, or boots, clean them. A magic eraser or some shoe polish is a must, as with most things, let your momma or your wife decide on your shoes.