Following is a list of suggested "Things to Do, Not to Do and Things to Remember" aimed at making your photo shoot go smoothly...
It's best to organize well in advance of your shoot, rather than waiting to the last minute. Being prepared means being more relaxed when you're in front of the camera-- and that's key to getting the best possible images.
Wardrobe: If you're looking to create a portfolio with depth and range, you'll want a variety of looks and styles. This is your chance to let your individuality and sense of style shine through...
Keep in mind that certain colors tend to be more flattering in photographs and can really make a picture "pop". In addition to the classics black and white-- cool "ocean colors" like dark blue, aquamarine, teal and turquoise tend to make for memorable, eye-catching images. Hunter green and purples in every shade from deep to pale also work very well.
Please note, digital photography shows every little detail. While some imperfections on clothing can be removed courtesy of Photoshop, certain materials and patterns make doing so nearly impossible. Details are important-- small stains, snags or scuffed shoes can ruin an otherwise perfect picture. Also avoid clothes that are overly loose, bulky, too tight, wrinkled or have heavy creases. Try on every outfit prior to the shoot and have a friend look them over from every angle.
Review the following options, then choose favorite items from your personal wardrobe that flatter and compliment. If you have an outfit that everyone's always telling you how good you look whenever you wear it... That's a good one to bring.
Casual - Blue jeans, (dark and/or faded) skinny jeans, etc. Suede, leather or jeans jackets. Sport, knit, button tops and cotton tees.
Business/Professional Attire - Jackets, suit sets, etc.
Elegant - Little black dress, long/flowing dress, gowns, etc.
Sports-Themed - Shorts, team-style uniforms, etc.
Swim Wear - Bikini and/or one-piece swimsuit. Bring several selections that show off your figure. Sexy is fine, but avoid styles that are too revealing. An artistic, implied nude shot is infinitely more tasteful than a disappearing dental floss thong. For your swimsuit shots, do not be afraid to accessorize... A well-chosen sand dollar, sea shell or bold nautical-themed necklace can make a good picture, simply unforgetable.
Lingerie - Don't be afraid to think outside of the box. No one expects to see boudoir attire in the great outdoors... Wearing a cute, matching camisole set in a hill-top gazebo at sunset can make for a truly memorable image.
Robe or Long Sweatshirt - Crucial for cool weather. A great go-to wardrobe item for keeping warm between photo sets, for modesty when doing quick-changes, plus robes make a great barrier to prevent make-up from getting on expensive clothing items when changing.
Footwear - Your shoes should be chosen to compliment the wardrobe you're bringing-- but remember, a photo shoot is not "real life". In real life, no one wears six-inch silver heels with a metalic-look bikini while lying around the beach on a giant piece of jagged coral or driftwood-- and yet scenes like those have made the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue a household name. In other words-- get creative! Consider bringing heels in two or more colors and styles. Also sneakers, boots, pumps, etc. It's also strongly suggested to bring a cheap pair of flip-flops.
Bring a hair dryer, curling iron, steam wand, lint brush, umbrella, etc., if you feel you might have a need for them. Bring an extra tote bag, beach blanket or large towel and a wash cloth or wet wipes to help keep your feet clean after multiple, quick wardrobe changes.
Bring a small selection of fashion accessories. A well chosen hat, belt, colorful necklace or cute pair of earrings can add a lot to a picture. Too much will most definitely detract from it. Less is more.
DO NOT: Wear a watch or put any hair bands around your wrists the day of your shoot. Stop, read that again and commit it to memory.
In fact, for the 24 hours leading up to your photo shoot, do not wear any tight fitting or restrictive clothing of any kind. Do not wear anything that's tight at the ankles or wrists. If your scheduled shoot involves any bikini, implied or artistic nude shots, you'll definitely want to avoid snug-fitting, elastic waist underwear, jogging pants or underwire bras. If you've ever removed tight clothes then noticed red indentations in your skin, you already know why.
If you wear contacts or have trouble with redness or dry-eye, bring your eye drops.
DO NOT: Use alcohol or tobacco products the day before or the day of your shoot. Their effects invariably show in the eyes and teeth. Also avoid popsicles or colorful candy. Their effects tend to show on the lips and gums. Oddly enough, blue is not a good mouth color.
DO NOT: Skip meals on the day of your shoot.
DO: Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily in the days leading up to your shoot. Your skin will thank you for it.
DO: Get eight hours sleep the night before your shoot.
DO: Wash your hair the morning of your shoot, but DO NOT weigh your hair down with conditioners, stiff hair sprays or hot oil treatments.
For beach-look, windswept styles, I highly recommend "Surf Spray" by Bumble and Bumble-- great stuff! Looks good and it works.
DO NOT: Experiment with things like tan-in-a-bottle the night before your shoot. Murphy's Law applies here and you will probably only manage to turn yourself a deep, rich shade of Oompa Loompa orange. Same goes for drug store hair dyes.
A note on shaving: If you want the "smooth look" in your photos, be sure to shave as close to your shoot start time as possible. This is especially important if you have dark-colored hair. As mentioned previously, digital photography shows every little detail. Skin that was smooth shaven just six hours before, will show up on a high-resolution image looking like a freshly plucked chicken or holiday turkey-- complete with little, black dots all over it.
If you'd prefer to avoid the poultry look, shave right before your shoot using a fresh, brand new razor. Be sure to immediately treat all areas with a soothing, after-shave skin care product that's designed to prevent iritation, redness, razor bumps, etc. There's an excellent product called "Bikini Zone Medicated" which is touted as highly effective for this purpose.
Make-up: Use the products of your choice, but for best results, keep the application simple and natural. "Bare Minerals" produces an excellent product line that gives light, even coverage with natural-looking results. Find what works for you and bring that. Be sure to remember eye-liner, mascara (waterproof if it's a beach or waterfall shoot) and any other products you use that help make your eyes "pop".
Nails: A perfect shot can be ruined by fingernails that look banged up, cracked and chipped. If painted, your nails should look fresh, clean and neat. Ultra-bold nail polish colors draw the eye to your hands-- which is less than ideal when the focus of a headshot should be your face. Choose your color accordingly. If you're going to be barefoot in any of your pictures, be sure to pay the same careful attention to your toes... and stick with matching colors.