How to Prepare for a Photo Session

You have found the right photographer and booked a photo session.

Some photographers may offer you a consultation prior to the photo session. This could be very helpful – you’d learn more about how your photo session will look like, what to expect and to pay attention to. Think about organizational moments, styling and accessories, hair and makeup, and more.

Here are some tips and points of attention.

voorbereiding voor een fotosessie is belangrijk!


styling-details-fotoshootYour choice of clothes is extremely important when it comes to portraits. Do you want them to be classic, natural, elegant, romantic, casual, or anything else? Choose your preferred style first and then select the appropriate clothes.

Think about the colors of the clothes and accessories. Do they fit the mood you are looking for? Are the colors not too dominant? Are there any distracting logos or large patterns? Avoid high-contrast stripes, busy checks and tight patterns as they can cause the so-called moiré pattern, an optical illusion that does not look good.

Is there more than one person to be photographed? Then you need to think about coordinating the outfits, style and colors. Look for compatible colors, make sure they don’t struggle or contrast too much. You probably don’t want one person to wear a much brighter outfit drawing all attention to it at the cost of the others.

Make sure the clothes you chose feel comfortable. This also applies to your children. If you have a new piece of clothes for your child’s photo shoot, let your child wear it at home first and make sure there’s no negative reaction to it.

If one has to wear glasses a non-glaring frame would be preferable.

Want to change outfits during the session? Prepare them in advance not to be overwhelmed last minute and not to lose time during the photo shoot.

Make-up and hair

My main advice here is: don’t experiment right before the photo session (unless it is part of your photo shoot). Visiting a hairdresser on the day of the photo session can be great idea but make sure you know in advance how that hair-style or make-up will look on you. Otherwise, there could be disappointments with a wrong haircut or heavy make-up that makes you look a decade older than your actual age.


A tip for the ladies. My absolute favorite is an eyelash curler! If you don’t have one yet, buy it (they only cost a couple of euros) and try it out. Some ladies think eyelash curlers look tricky but in fact they are very simple and safe in use. Eyes are the main focus-point in portraits, and the eyelash curlers will open up your look, make your eyes look bigger and brighter. Curl your eyelashes first, and then apply some mascara.

If you use a skin tone cream, make sure the tint is not too dark and don’t forget to apply a good moisturizer first.

When packing your handbag on the day of the photo shoot, take a hairbrush and a pocket mirror with you. You may need them during the session to adjust your hair or make-up.

With small children some nose and mouth wiping is usually required, so take enough tissues with you.


Right accessories can add a vital touch to your image and help tell your story. Think of jewelry and hairpieces, musical instruments and sports items, toys and old family objects.

The right mood


Photo session is meant to be fun experience! It’s normal to be excited and a bit anxious but don’t worry too much. It is the task of the photographer to make you look good!

If you plan a children photo shoot, please keep in mind: the kids feel their mother’s mood. If you are stressed, they would sense your tension and start to feel worried and stressed too. Don’t prepare your children for something “compulsory” they have to survive, like a visit to a dentist. So don’t tell them that if they will “be good” they’d get sweets or a present – this would make them think they have to experience something boring. Prepare your kids for fun!

If you or your child turned sick on the day of the photo session, try to reschedule it. Sick persons won’t look their best, won’t have much fun and won’t yield happy or energetic portraits with shining eyes.

During the photo session, don’t ask your child to smile or to behave – let your photographer get in contact and chat with the children, guide and entertain them. It’s good if you are around when your child is photographed but it is usually not necessary that you stand next to them all the time. Allow your child some freedom of expression.


If you plan a photo session on location, prepare a bag with extra outfits and accessories, a mirror, hairbrush, some makeup, tissues, etc. If it may last an hour or longer, make sure you have something to drink for yourself and especially for the children. To have a sandwich with you is also a good idea.

Now you know what to keep in mind while preparing for your photo shoot. Your photographer can advise you on questions that are specific for your type of shoot, location, etc.

And then it’s time for some fun!

View my portfolio and learn more about my services as a professional portrait and children photographer.