I’ve always hated having my picture taken. Its not that I couldn’t make the right face or my hair was stupid. I just hated the entire room looking at me.
You know the feeling?
It’s ironic because running a biz means you ARE the center of attention. There’s no way around it.
But I still had reservations.
When it came time to get professional photos done, I was a mess.
I didn’t know what to wear (I live in yoga pants).
I didn’t know how to stand.
What if I looked totally awkward?
Basically, I didn’t want to lose money for bad photos and end up with nothing I could use.
If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, you don’t like your photos now, the photographer just didn’t GET what you were going for, you think you look weird and awkward, they added waaay too much makeup, etc…
I’m here to help you navigate this minefield of anxiety.
Through a lot of research, over-preparation, and asking my photographer a bajillion questions, I ended up with some awesome photos that I’m really proud of.
Here’s the breakdown of everything I did to ensure this shoot would go off without a hitch:
1. Do the branding work first.
There is no point in even starting the photo shoot process until you know what this is all going to look like in the end. Otherwise you risk having to reshoot, or a set of images that don’t really compliment your hard branding work.
(If you haven’t figured out what your brand is going to be yet, check out this guide I created to help you nail it down).
Before you go hiring ANYONE… hang out on Pinterest.
Not sure what you want your photos to look like? Pinterest is your lifesaver.
This is where I got ideas for props (I used balloons), color schemes, what other people were wearing, how they stood, etc.
Make a board of everything you like. Especially poses – because you can share these with your photographer.
You’re not bossing them around. It helps them, just like you might save photos of a hairstyle you like to take to the salon. The clearer you are on what you want, the easier it will be for them to give you exactly that.
Send them outfit ideas, posing ideas, even location ideas (more on this below).
3. Finding / Hiring your photographer.
I cannot stress this enough, find someone you LIKE! Ask for referrals, google people that understand online business. Look at what your entrepreneur peers are doing – who did they hire? How did they find them?
Some photographers will travel to you, others will not. You’re also free to choose some exotic location and go there! Look locally to save on airfare and hotels.
Stalk them online. You need to like their style of photos. It will look similar for you, so if you’re not diggin what you see, keep searching.
Have a conversation with them. TELL THEM you feel uncomfortable and anxious (its way normal). TELL THEM You make awkward faces sometimes and you’re worried you might do it again! Part of their job (if they’re worth their salt) is to make you look good and help you relax! They’ll have their own ideas for you.
Ask them for advice. They do this all day long. They know what colors / styles / locations show up well and which ones don’t. It may not be super specific to your brand, but they can give you guidelines on what to do to make it look amazing.
Heads up: your photographer already has places they like to shoot (unless they’re traveling). They’ve scoped them out, they know the lighting, it works for them.
That being said – if you’re wanting urban, city-life images, find someone who has those examples ready. If they’re someone who only shoots in wide open fields, then maybe they’re not for you.
Do the branding work before you decide, because the backgrounds of your photos matter too.
See what Pinterest has to offer you in terms of looks / vibes. And then have the conversation with your photographer about what you want. They should be clear about where they will / will not shoot.
5. Props and outfits.
This should go without saying , but your props and outfits should be cohesive with your brand (If you haven’t figured out what your brand is going to be yet, check out this guide I created to help you nail it down).
Colors should coordinate. You don’t have to be matchy-matchy, but a pop of your brand color that you wear in some way will make the photos tie into everything else you’re doing.
For instance, you wouldn’t wear red heels if your branding color palette is muted pastels. But you might pull in a deeper shade of purple as a necklace or jacket.
Style should be cohesive. If your branding is BOLD colors and fonts, then your style should be too. If you did the branding exercises right, this should be easy because you’ve created something you’re naturally drawn to anyway. If your style is relaxed and soothing (think a beachy feel with nice blues and greens), then you’re not going to wear a suit. Instead, you pull out the flowy dresses and linen.
See what I mean?
Same with props. And you don’t need a lot. Pick one big one (like my balloons) that can be the focal point, OR some smaller ones that work indoors (notebooks, coffee mugs, your laptop, etc). Maybe it’s your pet or your family. Whatever it is, be sure it makes sense with your brand messaging.
Your photographer can also tell you how many outfit changes are possible in the time slot you’ve scheduled. 2-3 outfits/changes is usually the max.
If you’re feeling really stuck, look into hiring a stylist to help you out. They know body types, coloring, and will help you look amazing.
6. Hair and makeup.
Just like your photographer, find a hair / makeup person that understands photoshoots. Someone that does this for weddings is a good bet because they get the desired balance of looking like yourself and also looking amazing in pictures.
I’m all for authenticity. Truly, but in the same way that stage actors must wear makeup to simply to be SEEN from the audience? The rule applies here too.
You can have it all done in a natural look that still looks like you.
You don’t have to have crazy big hair unless you want it.
No need for glitter lips (unless it makes sense for your brand).
I promise your photos will come out way better if you are willing enhance your features.
Minimum? Fake eyelashes (not kidding) and lipstick.
Do your research, ask for references or at least a portfolio. There’s a good chance your photographer will already be connected with great people and work with them often. Which means you get to see how their work shows up on camera. Win-win.
7. The day of the shoot.
You’re probably nervous.
You’re wondering if everyone else can tell your hair is as big as Texas.
You’re hoping for the best.
You’re just now realizing how far out of your control this really is!
Remember you did your research.
You found amazing people.
You put your trust in them.
Your hair looks awesome.
Your outfits are perfect.
Your props (if you’ve got them) will look so great.
My secret trick (and it’s not for everyone) is to have a drink right before your shoot.
Yep. Take the edge off. Grab a couple airplane bottles of your choice. It’ll help you relax and have fun. (Just don’t get wasted, it’ll show. LOL.)
And then simply be in communication with your photographer the whole time (you probably have been already via email and you’re like friends now).
It’s their job to direct you.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the middle of pictures. “This feels weird. Am I standing right? Can you see my double chin?”
You cannot do this wrong. The prep work alone will make you feel like you’ve got it under control.
2. Play on Pinterest and gather ideas
3. Research your photographer
4. Ask lots of questions to be in the know
5. Go shopping!
6. Schedule your appointments for the day of the shoot
7. Have FUN and enjoy yourself.
Feels overwhelming still? You don’t have to orchestrate all this alone. I can help – just reach out!