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5 Essentials That Should Be In Every Photoshoot Prep Guide


The key to any successful photoshoot is solid preparation beforehand. If you are new to the photography industry, you may have wondered how to best prepare your client for their session, while also being fully ready, yourself!

When I first started out, I made a check-list that I would go through before every single session.  This worked great and was the perfect way to keep myself organized and on time…  however, there were still so many times where the client would come totally unprepared.  

As a photographer, starting a session on time is SO important. I book all my sessions based solely on light and therefore, the time of day naturally has a lot to do with that.  Having a client show up and still needing to do a bunch of things to get themselves ready before you can start taking photos can totally throw all of those plans out the window. 

I’ve found that having a prep guide that covers all of the most important bases has worked so well to avoid this kind of mishap from occurring.  Today, I want to share with you 5 Things that should go in every prep guide that you never thought about – ‘till now!


Drink water 

This is a tip that should absolutely be mentioned and recommended to all clients prior to a session.  It also, for some reason, seems to be a topic of debate in the photography world. 

I see this written in so many client prep guides: “Avoid water! It causes bloating”

… well, I personally think that is terrible advice. 

Drinking water leading up to the shoot is the best way to keep well hydrated plus it helps to achieve beautifully glowing, smooth skin for those up close and personal shots. 

My suggestion? Skip the alcohol the night before a session instead. Alcohol and sugary drinks can absolutely ravage the skin, even in tiny amounts.  By depleting the skin of important nutrients, these kinds of beverages also dehydrate skin and make our complexions appear duller than usual.  Drinking water instead is a much better, healthier option overall. 

Sipping on water throughout the photo shoot is another good recommendation.  There’s a good chance it might be a long day. 


Come Au Natural

If your client has hair and makeup booked, save a ton of time by having them show up to the session make-up free as a clean, blank canvas to work with. 

No need to arrive to the shoot with already styled hair either, simply ask your client to arrive with clean and dry hair, instead. 

If anything, ask them to use a light moisturizer and some lip balm: That’s it! The rest of the glamming up can be left to the hair and makeup pros. 


Avoid Underlines 

Have your client wear loose-fitting clothes to the session, and if possible, no underwear or bra. 

The reason behind this tip is that tight clothing can often leave awkward looking lines on the skin.  

These unnatural lines take a while to disappear and can draw attention away from the client in the photos! Not to mention they are nearly impossible to edit out.


Make a playlist

You may think it sounds crazy to put this in your client prep guide but trust me… music can REALLY help get anyone into that supermodel mindset!

I always ensure that I have a wicked playlist going when my clients arrive, but don’t hesitate to encourage your client to start getting those good vibes going before they arrive!

It can make such a huge difference to get in that fun, carefree zone!

I have a Bluetooth speaker in my studio which allows me to switch the music between my tunes or my clients very easily depending on the session and who’s got the tunes!



The most underrated tip in the guide.

The week prior to the session, it’s a great idea to remind your clients to moisturize. 

A key technique for beautifully, soft skin – I actually recommend twice daily in the week leading up to the shoot because it makes that much of a difference.

Then on the day of, ask your client to switch to an illuminating lotion (non bronzer) to really enhance the natural glow of their skin. If they are unable to find something like this that doesn’t contain bronzer, an oil based lotion such as Coconut Oil or Argan Oil works wonderfully, too. 

Remind your client not to use any lotions that contain color unless they have a brand they are familiar with and use on a regular basis.  It goes without saying that streaky skin with a fake tint is not a good look for a photo shoot. 

Just in case this point in the guide is not taken seriously, I always have some unscented moisturizer at the studio for clients to use if they don’t have something with them.

That’s it!

5 things that should go in every client prep guide that you maybe didn’t think about until now!

Do you hand out client prep guides? What tips and tricks are in yours?

Reach out to me here , I would love to hear from you!




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I'm a photographer, Business Coach and Activist.