As someone who is often behind the camera and sometimes in front of it, I have a lot of experience planning photoshoots. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to plan ahead for a photoshoot to make it a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned have come from sessions where I was the client, myself, and not the photographer!
In this post, I’m sharing my best tips on how to prepare for a photo shoot. Make sure to bookmark this one for your next Dogs of MKE session, and it will be helpful for any other photography you might book, too!
Are you thinking of scheduling a photoshoot on a whim, or is there a special occasion you’d like to use your images for? Whether you’re imagining using your pictures in a holiday card, as part of a gift, or just to print and display in your home, carefully considering your timing is an essential step so you can plan ahead for a photoshoot.
Think ahead to when you want your finished images and reach out to the photographer you want to work with right away. Contacting them ahead of time will help you ensure they’re available and get an idea of how long the window of time will be between your session and when you get your finished images.
If your photographer is in high demand, it’s especially important that you contact them early on.
Remember that as the holidays approach, many people will be booking photoshoots for their holiday and seasonal cards. So, if you are hoping to schedule a session in the winter, don’t wait until it gets chilly out to do so! Contact your photographer with plenty of wiggle room so you can make sure to get on their calendar.
Once you’ve narrowed in on your ideal timing, stop to think about you/your family’s availability. In my family, there’s really only one day a week that my husband and I are both available for something like a photoshoot, so I have to keep that in mind when I’m scheduling a session for photos of our own.
Booking your photographer early is one of my best tips for how to plan ahead for a photoshoot because it honestly will make things so much easier. Squaring away scheduling in advance helps you get the day and time that works best for you and makes the whole process less stressful!
Choosing your outfit tends to be something we all put off doing before a photoshoot. And then, it’s the night before, and you’re in a panic. You don’t know what to wear, or better yet, you don’t have something cute to put on your dog! So, of course, my next piece of advice regarding how to plan ahead for a photoshoot is to pick everyone’s outfits and accessories in advance!
Giving yourself plenty of time to plan what everyone will wear will give you the time you need to buy or order things you might need. You’ll be able to avoid that last-minute panic when it comes to things like realizing your dog could use a new collar, or that you might want something new or special, too!
If you are able to get your outfits squared away well before your photoshoot, make sure you try it on at least once. Will you be comfortable in it, and can you move around?
Depending on where you are planning to do your shoot, will your outfit be a good fit for the location? For example, if we’re doing a shoot in a spot that requires a bit of a hike, those adorable heels might not be realistic.
Then, the day before your shoot lay out everything you’re going to wear and bring. That way, you won’t be running around as you leave the house, trying to grab everything! For example, for photoshoot with your dog, you’ll want to gather their bandanas, the specific leash or collar you want to use, any props you might be bringing, and toys and accessories, in addition to the clothing you/your family will be wearing.
You might have the perfect scenic location in mind for your photoshoot, and that’s great! But, for sessions with your pup, will it be a good place to take photos with your dog? That beautiful spot you’re thinking of might create a nice backdrop for your session, but it’s important to consider whether or not it will be a good place to take your furry family member(s).
Spots that have lots of distractions, other dogs, and people might not be ideal for some dogs. So, if you have your heart set on a particular location, scout it out! Visit the location with your dog and see what it’s like. And if you can, go at the same time of day you’d have your photoshoot so you can get a realistic take on what to expect on the day of your photoshoot.
When you plan ahead for a photoshoot at a public space, check into whether there are other events happening there that day or weekend. Photographers do this, too, but it doesn’t hurt to have two sets of eyes on it!
If the location for your photoshoot is at home, make sure it’s camera-ready! Clear clutter from spaces where your session will be happening, and have any props or accessories you want to use (balloons, signs, props, etc.) ready.
You have your photoshoot date booked. You’ve picked out the perfect outfit and ordered a new collar for your dog. Another step to plan ahead for your photoshoot is grooming!
For people-shoots, you’ll want to plan to have things like hair highlights, manicures, and haircuts scheduled appropriately. My tip is to book those appointments shortly after you book your session so that you know you’re all set!
When it comes to sessions with your dog(s), you’ll want to schedule their grooming, too! Do you like the way your dog’s coat fluffs within a few days of grooming or within a few weeks? Schedule their appointment and time it to ensure they look their very best on picture day!
Lastly, try to relax when you’re planning for your photoshoot. I, myself, get nervous about being in front of the camera, so I understand the anxiety of it all! I’ve been tempted to reschedule or cancel shoots because of it, but it always ends up being enjoyable and so worth it.
If you’re worried about your dog’s behavior, I promise, I’ve seen it all. Your dog doesn’t have to be the perfect “Sit, stay.” dog model. Some of the best photos are of the funny and unpredictable moments! I work with all sorts of dogs of different demeanors, ages, and sizes. Leave the posing and treats to me, and have some fun with it!
Plus, I’ll make sure you have everything you need heading into your shoot with me. All of my clients receive a comprehensive PDF guide with all the details you need to make sure we have a great session!
Ready to get started? Contact me to learn more and book your session.