How to Prepare for Studio Photography with 2Bridges Photo

studio photography setup

Unless you're a professional model, most people don't do studio photography every day. So we often get asked how to prepare for one, when they step into the 2Bridges studio. 

The most comment misconception of customers is how to properly prepare yourself and/or your family for their appointment. I've put together a list of things to remember and consider before and during your appointment.

Backgrounds for Studio Photography

Before going into the studio, you will want to know what background options are available to you so you can better choose your outfits. You can visit our website and contact us to view all your background options.

studio photography background

Print out the samples given on the website or jot down the names of the backgrounds you like so you can take that to the studio with you. You always want to call the studio directly before your appointment to check if the backgrounds you prefer are available.

Printing and checking the status of backgrounds will ensure that your appointment runs smoothly and your satisfaction at the studio.

Speaking of appointments, coming very late for an appointment negates the purpose of having an appointment. Make sure to show up on time. If you know you're going to be more than 15 minutes late, call us or email the day before to inform our photographers.

They will either allow you to come in late or schedule your appointment for a later time. Late-comers also contribute to wait time for other appointments who are on time.

Wardrobe Selection

Now that you've seen the background choices, choose your clothing accordingly. Try to wear solid colored shirts in the same color or a color scheme.

We suggest a triadic color scheme (refer to picture one: colors found equidistant from each other on the color wheel) for families as it makes for a visually pleasing portrait. Here is a good idea that explains this color theory:

More tips on clothing:

  • You style of clothes is a form of expression. Pick an ensemble that mirror your identity in the pictures.
  • Strong hues look amazing in for headshot photography.
  • Men can't go wrong with the conservative look - a light blue shirt and blue suit. A tie could complement the colors well (see triad coloring above).
  • Pick shades that match or go well with your skin tone. You'll know which works best based on how many compliments you've gotten on a particular piece of attire.
  • To be on the safe side, you can begin with a simple shirt or pullover and have layers underneath. This allows you to change your style on-the-fly during the shoot.
  • Dry clean or wash/press your clothes before the shoot! Victoria Secret models don't wear wrinkled clothes.
  • Have a brush or comb handy.
  • Stay away from strong patterns and floral prints that distract from the overall focus or the portrait and are usually unflattering on most people.
  • Children's clothing with a slight pattern is fine as long as it does not clash with other colors in the photography.
  • Try not to stress over shoes if you're going for headshots only. Obviously, have a few pairs with you if you're going to have your whole body in the shot.
girl in photo studio

Hair Preparation

Yes, there needs to be a section for hair preparation. Not because of the style of hair, but because of the availability, or unavailability, of hair products in studios.

We don't have any "spare" make-up lying around so you'll need to bring your own hairspray, hair gel, combs, brushes, and water spritzer.

Combs and brushes are considered unsanitary and are not kept in-studio for customer use:

  • You can start with your hair down and near the end place it in a pig tail for an easygoing, nonchalant look.
  • If your budget allows it, you can bring a beautician to the studio photography session.

Props

Take a look at your options and jot down what you'd like to use on your visit. Just like backgrounds - we don't have spare props in the back room.

Props for Photo shoot

When you call ahead to consult about your background options, inquire further about the availability of some props you'd like to use, and we will try to accomodate beforehand.

Consider bringing your own props with you for a more personal touch to your portraits. Favorite toys such as dolls and ride-on cars make great personal props.

Bringing a blanket from home for your infant is another great idea for personalizing portraits. If possible, try to coordinate prop colors with the colors of clothing you've chosen.

Cosmetics and Facial Care

Take care of your face and skin before the photo shoot! These shots are meant to be in your photo collection for a very long time.

  • Develop cosmetics as you go. Include eyebrow and darker colored lipstick at the end of the photography shoot.
  • Try to avoid utilizing the matte styles of cosmetics. It could dry out your skin.
  • As stated before, carry your preferred brands of cosmetics and cream with you in case your skin dries and/or you require a quick touchup.
  • Bring lip balm or gleam to help keep your lips delicate and not dry or chafe.
  • The night before your photography session - use a toothbrush to dispose of dead skin on your lips.
  • Dispose of any unwanted strands of hair several days before the shoot. Tidy up the temples and the upper lip hair.
  • For the men - shave before leaving for the photography shoot. We have Photoshop but there are limits to our photo magic! Utilize cooling gel or a cleanser for the face to help with keeping skin looking fresh.
  • Have oil engrossing sheets handy to take care of oil and/or sweat that may develop during the studio photography session. Studio lights can bear down on you and make you sweat. So grab some oil absorbing sheets at your local Rite-Aid or Walmart.
  • Don't use hued contacts as they look fake in the photos. Use only clear contacts and have eye drops available.
  • If your budget allows it, we will accomodate your makeup artist to help you with your cosmetic needs and requirements.

Poses

I understand that posing is the photographer's job. If you want ideas, you Google for your specific type of photography. For example, search for "family portrait".

By typing in "family portrait" into Google's image search, you will find plenty of samples to examine. If there's a pose you love, print it out!

Your photographer will have a better sense of your style and will proceed accordingly.

On the same note, if you see a photo you absolutely hate, print that out, too! Make sure to mark the print outs so no one gets confused, though.

On the Day of the Photo Shoot

Before heading out the door, glance at your face in the mirror and determine what side you like best for that particular day. Everyone has a good side and a bad side - figure out what works for you.

Be mindful that a mirror will flip your face and the camera will not so the photos may look different than what you were aiming for.

Try various facial expressions in the mirror. Do you want to look pensive or highly photogenic and enthusiastic? Our photographer will help you determine distinctive expressions from you during the photo session.

During the Shoot

We can play some music if it helps you get into the swing of things. We found having the right music reduces stress and gets people "in the mood" to nail down their photo op. Of course, let us know beforehand what music you'll like to hear if any:

  • Pay attention to your photographer's suggestions. It might sound senseless, but our photographer will determine the best approach to frame your face.
  • Be in a good mood! You don't want to be pouting on your facial shots. Try to engage the camera with your most photogenic smiles!
  • Make your smile look natural. Don't constrain your grin. It will look unnatural in the pictures and your cheeks will feel sore after the studio photography session. Leave some space in between your teeth when smiling - just a tad bit enough to place the tip of your pinky finger in the middle.
  • Don't forget to squint! This is sometimes overlooked. It will make your shots look more natural.
  • In between shots, listen to the music. Drink some water and stay hydrated. Relax. Have fun! Your energy will conveyed in the final product.

After the Shoot

Our photographers have their style of taking photos, as well as their own distinctive style to edit/alter them. Let us know how you want your photos processed.

We can use Photoshop to get rid of blemishes. Some people like to tidy up their headshots due to spots, moles, scars, etc.  Just be clear and communicate what you want in the final product and we'll accomodate.

A lot of people inquire if we can "Photoshop this" or "Photoshop that." Photoshop is a great editing tool, but remember there's limit to the "Photoshop magic." We'll do our best to get the final product, but not everything can be "Photoshoped." 

In the scenario, where you're satisfied with everything, we'll process accordingly. If there are any major edits required, please be mindful that we may charge additional for any major Photoshop alterations.

If significant alterations are required, additional time may be required to make the necessary changes.

Summary of Studio Photography Prep

We hope this list of tips will help our current and future clients. We aim to bring the best photography service in the NY-Tri State area.

I know this is a lot to do instead of just walking in and having your portrait taken, but paying attention to these steps will make you happier in the long run.

Your photographer will make great suggestions, but by being prepared you will have a fun and semi-relaxed experience.

Printing all these things out is important because you will most likely forget what you had seen when you're in the studios.

Trying to remember and describe backgrounds and props will be on the back-burner of your mind as you keep tabs on your children and scramble to attend to last minute details and diaper changes.

This studio photography list and your now growing pile of print outs will ensure a portrait that you're proud to display in your home and handout to family members and friends.