If you're thinking about booking a photoshoot for your engagement or family session, make sure to avoid these common mistakes!
Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that:
- you get the most out of your session
- your photos will turn out beautiful
- your photos will turn out genuine
- your photos will turn out how you envision
- you will be able to relax and actually have fun!
I want you to have the BEST session possible, but unfortunately I cant follow you around the days or weeks before your photoshoot to make sure you're not making any of the following common mistakes (cuz if I did that'd be creepy and stalkerish and that's not a good look for anyone, so I don't do that).
So this will help you get the kind of session and photo memories you want and deserve!
MISTAKE #1 - NOT GIVING YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME TO GET READY
None of us ever PLAN to prepare last minute, but one of the BIGGEST mistakes you can make before a photoshoot is not giving yourself enough time to get ready.
Rushing around and trying to get everything done at the last minute will only result in a stressed out, anxious, and frazzled look that will ABSOLUTELY come across in the photos.
Also, if you end up late to the shoot this effects how much time you have with your photographer and you may not get all the images you want.
And if you show up late and rushed then it's also going to make your photographer feel rushed and that's no bueno for getting the best images too.
Most photographers also choose sessions times to coincide with the best outdoor lighting, and we cant pause the sun!
Have your outfits set out and ready the night before your shoot.
Think about what time you'll need to leave the house to be at your session on time, and plan to leave 10-15 minutes before that time.
Then think about how much time you'll need to get ready by that time and add at least 45 minutes to that for getting ready time!
Especially if you're planning on getting hair and makeup done professionally, because stuff happens.
And speaking of hair and makeup...
MISTAKE #2 - NOT DOING A TRIAL RUN OF HAIR OR MAKEUP
This one makes me cry a little inside, because I'm guilty of this exact thing. :(
You're paying a lot of money for photos and it's not like you get them done all the time, so you think "hey, I'm gonna splurge on professional hair and makeup for this thing!".
So now you're paying a lot of money for hair and makeup.
You excitedly go to the salon to get it done the afternoon of your photoshoot, show the lady photos of the hair you want, and tell her how you want a light, more natural makeup look with neutral earthy shades.
She chats away with you and asks questions, and you sit there being all cordial and polite but thinking on the inside how much you dislike small talk (or is that just me?).
Then she turns you around to look at yourself in the mirror and your heart drops. Its nothing like what you had envisioned.
This happened to me!! I was like, "oh wow, I don't even look like myself!...thaaank you" because I have no back bone and didn't have time for her to re do anything anyway.
Then I had literally 15 minutes to rub off all the cakey corral colored makeup and try to quickly curl my hair before my own photoshoot.
The best thing about that experience was that she put fake eyelashes on me, so my eyes looked great in the photos.
So apparently I paid $150 for some fake eyelashes.
Unless you're absolutely 100% sure about your hair and makeup artist or you've had it done with them before, consider doing a trial run, or at the very least make sure it's scheduled, like, HOURS before your photoshoot in case anything needs to be changed.
And no, seeing and trusting in their work based on their Instagram doesn't help...trust me.
PS - Most hair and makeup artists offer trial runs for Brides! So if you're planning on getting married or know anyone who is, make sure they take advantage of that perk.
MISTAKE #3 - NOT HAVING A PLAN FOR WHAT TO WEAR
What you wear to your photoshoot is actually REALLY important, and not just because these photos are going to be immortalized for life (though that's good enough reason in itself).
What you wear sets the entire tone for your photos - your memories, your legacies. It tells the viewer a little about who you are. It can make a session easy or it can make it frustrating with having to constantly adjust something, not being able to move well, or getting your heel stuck in the grass.
It can make you feel confident and beautiful which will radiate through the images, or it can make you feel like an overstuffed cupcake (and we all know how that would feel).
What you wear effects a major part of the look and feel with how the images will turn out.
So you know it's important. And now you're probably asking "ok, wtf should I wear then!!?"
First of all, your photographer should be able to help you 100% navigate this whole thing!
Each of my booked clients gets a detailed style guide with the best clothes for each person, colors, patterns, how to coordinate, links for shopping/inspiration, and more so you wont ever have to feel lost.
But some basics...
- The key is coordinating colors, NOT matching.
- Earth tones and neutral tones always photograph beautifully, especially with our moody PNW colors.
- Flowy dresses always photograph beautifully and make for gorgeous movement in photos.
- Absolutely NO logos or characters.
- Layering with scarfs or jackets can give an extra element to your images and help give you a variety of looks.
- Whatever you choose, make sure you're comfortable in what you wear and that you can move around well (we move a lot at my sessions!), and that nothing comes undone easily or constantly sticks out.
I'm also ALWAYS available to my clients to be their personal style guide! Feel free to ask me anything or send me photos of what you're thinking of wearing and I'll help you along the way.
MISTAKE #4 - NOT REALLY LOOKING INTO THEIR PHOTOGRAPHER AND THEIR STYLE
Each photographer has a different personality (surprise), a different style of editing, AND a different style of shooting - and not every photographer is going to be a right fit for what you're looking for.
Some people get confused about the different styles, so a quick explanation:
- There are different types of editing styles - most commonly known as light and airy (which a lot of wedding blogs and magazines feature), true to color, bold and vibrant, dark and moody, and warm and filmy (they either add grain to digital images to achieve the film look or mainly use film for the photos).
- But the actual photography style of your photographer can either be photojournalist/documentary/candid or super traditional/posed/everybody looking at the camera. A good photographer does both — capturing beautifully framed candid's and getting great posed family formals.
- Some photographers are quiet and reserved, some are bubbly extroverts, some don't really direct people at the shoot, some will just have you do some posing, and some will give you prompts/direction during your session.
Take a close look at your photographer's website and Instagram. See what their photos look like and the kind of editing style they do and if you're ok with that.
(Never ask a photographer if they will change their editing style for your session. Each photographer has their own style, so it's better to just find one that has the style you prefer.)
Look at their about page to see if you jive with the kind of person they are. Read through their testimonials to see what others have said it's like working with them.
Look at their Instagram profile to see more of their style AND their personality! With Reels now, we have a chance to see a bit more of who a person is and what they're like.
MY OWN PERSONALITY, EDITING STYLE, AND STYLE OF SHOOTING:
- Editing Style - My style of editing is a bit of a mix between dark & moody and bold & vibrant and I love editing with some slight warmth. You can see what I mean when you take a look at my portfolio or on my Instagram (@shutterbabe_snapshots).
- Personality - I'm considered an introverted extrovert. I like being home and am secretly a little thrilled when plans to go out get canceled, but at your photoshoot you'll probably be shocked to hear that I'm an introvert at heart because photography literally lights me up and gets me really excited. I love working with my clients, engaging with them, and I cant help but feel super excited as I get gorgeous shots. Feel free to read a bit more on my about page!
- Shooting style - Gah! This is my favorite part of it all. I use a combination of play, prompts, and direction to get you relaxed and help you engage with each other. This results in the genuine emotion of love and laughter you see in my photography (we laugh a lot at my sessions). The way I shoot is a mix of candid and posed. You'll get those beautiful, genuine, candid in between type moments, as well as traditional happy posed ones with everyone looking at the camera.
MISTAKE #5 - TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH IN ONE SHOOT
This is particularly an issue when it comes to mini sessions, which are supposed to be quick 15-20 minute sessions. I do a mini session day once or twice a year and schedule clients back to back with a 5-10 minute buffer in between.
Every year someone will try to cram a full one hour session in 15 minutes by either bringing changes of clothes, bringing pets, or wanting me to get a variety of shots of each family member individually, just the kids, just the parents, the kids and each parents, and the whole family as well.
- Most photographers love it when you bring your family pets (like meeee!), but you should let the photographer know so they know what to prepare for and bring. Involving pets also takes up more of the session time because they can be excited and/or need time to calm down or cooperate. Because of this, bringing pets is not recommended for mini sessions unless you're ok with a MUCH smaller gallery.
- Most photographers have no problem with you bringing a change of clothes, but you should let the photographer know so they know what to prepare for or bring. The time it takes a person to change can also take a bit and effects your session time, so it's definitely not recommended for mini sessions.
- Most photographers have no problem taking individual photos, just siblings, just parents, the whole fam, dad and the kids, and mom and the kids. But not for a 15 minute mini session. For me in particular with the way I shoot to get people comfortable and engaged, it takes a little time. So it's unreasonable to try to cram what should take an hour into 15 minutes. I will, however, get as much of a variety as I can for my clients in our time together.
Plan ahead and know what you want to achieve in the shoot and the type of images you want. This will help you focus and make the most of your time.
It's also important to communicate with your photographer about what you want so they can give you feedback on how much time it might take, if anything else is needed, or if it will affect your gallery/images so there are no surprises for anyone.
If you want to change clothes, consider layering with jackets so you can take some images with it on and off to get the most out of your session as well as a variety of looks.
MISTAKE #6 - NOT COMMUNICATING YOUR VISION FOR THE SHOOT
Communication! So important in every relationship, even the one with your photographer.
It's important to let your photographer know what photos are most important to you.
If there's a specific vibe you're wanting, or if there are specific shots that you absolutely must have, be sure to communicate this to your photographer ahead of time so that they can make sure to capture them for you.
My goal is your happiness, and I always want to provide you with the best service and the most beautiful photo memories that you'll LOVE!
But if you don't tell me you absolutely need a photo of little Timmy's missing front tooth or a photo of the two of you giving each other piggy backs, it might not happen and you might forget to tell me at the session, then you'll be upset that you paid for this shoot and didn't get the important photo you wanted and I'll be upset that you're upset and I'll lose sleep over it knowing I disappointed my client and feel terrible about it but at the same time trying not to feel so terrible because I know when it comes down to it I wasn't told it was important so I didn't know.
Just terrible for everybody!
Communication is key, but as you know - communication goes both ways, amiright?
So I give every single one of my clients a questionnaire before their photoshoot that makes sure to detail out their desires and vision, with one of the questions even being "what images are most important to you that you want make sure we capture at this shoot?"
Then the balls in your court!
These questionnaires are important because it helps me to not only get a feel for who you are and tailor the session specifically to you and your comfort level, but it also lets me know the important stuff you want and expect.
So as long as you make sure to fill in those answers, we're gonna be just fine. :)
MISTAKE #7 - NOT BEING YOURSELF OR TAKING TIME TO RELAX AND HAVE FUN
Dude, I get it - having a camera in front of your face while you frolic in a field can feel really uncomfortable/awkward/intimidating.
I've been on the other side of the camera and know exactly how you feel!
Part of a good photographer's job is making you feel as comfortable as possible in this most uncomfortable scenario, and I pride myself in the fact that my clients always come out of a session experience saying how fun it was or how easy I made it for them.
But it's also important to mentally prepare yourself and your partner or family to do your best to just relax and TRUST me.
I'll direct you, I'll tell you what to do, I'll help you engage, I'll help your images show the beautiful person that you are.
Show up with a positive outlook (and not rushed), and I promise we will make gold.
Mentally prepare yourself and anybody else getting photographed to do their best to just chiiiill.
Being as relaxed as possible also highlights the importance of the #1 mistake about giving yourself enough time to get ready so you're not rushed.
Take your time and have a glass of wine while you get ready.
Also important - unless your kids do this naturally all the time, don't tell the kiddos they need to look at the camera and smile/say cheese.
If it's not them, don't ask them to do it. Leave it to me to capture their genuine laughter and faces!
They're behavior no matter what is just fine, I PROMISE. :)
Relax in the knowledge that you don't need to come to the session worried about what you're going to do, how you should act, or what you're going to do with your hands.
Your only job at the photoshoot is to be yourself, be positive, go with the flow, have fun and TRUST me and trust the process.
I gotchu boo.
I hope this helps you
- get the most out of your next photoshoot
- be a bit more comfortable knowing you have a photographer that will help you look amazing, help you relax, and has your back
- know what to look for when hiring a photographer that fits your own vision and needs
If it sounds like we would be a good fit, send me a message on my contact page or DM me on Instagram! I would absolutely love to help answer any questions you may have or look into how I can help you. :)