Get a good night’s rest. It helps the skin. Don’t worry with too much makeup on the day of the shoot, the photographer can make most wrinkles disappear in their post-production edit.
Look in the mirror before the shoot and rotate your face from side to side. Does one side look better than the other? Almost all people have a “best side” of the face. Approximately 60 percent of people have the left side of their face as the best, and some small minority of people are ambifacial.
Relax, this is fun! Put your shoulders back and be confident the photographer will make you look good. Chin down. Catch stray hairs across the eyes or waving in the breeze above your head, unless you want that wind-blown look.
Think of fun poses to strike! Give ideas during the shoot. I love it when my models (for that’s what you ARE for the session) are filled with energy and fun!
Imagine being pulled from the top of your head by an invisible line, it makes you stand taller and allows your head to rest at a confident, natural angle. Your back relaxes as it’s pulled upward, and your shoulders and arms hang naturally. Let your hands be completely at rest—this is hard to do! Move from your abdomen as you walk or sit. Think of how dancers move—feel and control your core.
The photographer will be aware of the light—that’s their work and you don’t have to worry about choosing it for them. Some tips, though: a professional will be looking for good top lighting, side lighting for that Rembrandt-type of look that accentuates the best look of your face, or soft lighting, especially angled, which will make your skin really glow. Photographers have been known to get their best shots in bathrooms at times because the light from a side window or overhead lamp reflects very well in a small, white space.
Don’t worry about smiling all the time. A fixed grim is too hard to hold for more than about 5 seconds, and becomes phony if you try too hard. Let your facial muscles relax in between smiling and even give your head a little side-to-side shake to help reset your muscles. It gets harder and harder to smile after about ten minutes of portraiture!
White clothing can be tricky to photograph, because it can throw a camera’s white balance detection off in certain lights. It can also cause the in-camera image to get something called “blown highlights,” where the digital negative loses some detail. Your photographer should know what to do to minimize this, but it might add a little complexity to the shoot if lighting is tricky (like full sun).
The closer to dawn or dusk, (or deep shade at midday) the better for beautiful photos!! Sometimes the best time is actually “the blue hour” just after the sun has set. Choose your portrait times as close to sunset as possible if you can, or just after. While the sun is setting you might hear your photographer refer to this time as “the golden hour.”
Do tell the photographer if something isn’t working for you. They forget you might be in an uncomfortable position and it helps to speak up and say you have to move! A good photographer will love you for being honest, and you will look even better being at ease.