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How I Plan A Photo Session

My ultimate goal is to create a fun, easy experience for my clients with fabulous images as a happy result. From my experience, the better we plan, the better the session goes, resulting in even better images.

Male photographer directing client's pose mid shot during in studio photo session.
In Studio Branding Session

Planning A Photo Session Starts at The Inquiry Consultation

When you first inquire with me, I’ll set up a meeting to better understand your needs. This consultation is my first opportunity to take notes about several key factors:

What’s The Goal of The Session?

Are these portraits for a special occasion like graduation from a university? Sometimes the answer is typically as simple as, “I want to take some creative portraits.” This initial question helps me craft the rest of my queries for what information I need to help plan your portrait session.

Why A Portrait Session Now?

It’s pretty straightforward – why do you want pictures? Knowing the intent of the images helps get the creative juices flowing in terms of the vision of the photos. Many clients have come in wanting portraits to celebrate a milestone birthday or a big event. Others simply wanted to feel like a badass. Understanding the “why” helps me craft the visual story for your session.

How Do You Want To Look?

Sometimes we have a hard time saying, ‘I want to be elegant,” but it’s easier to admit, “I want to look elegant.” I ask this question because it helps me think of potential wardrobe and location options. It also helps me think about the posing, lighting, and framing of your images. These factors affect not just how any viewer, but precisely how you see yourself in your images. For example, if you want to look like a rockstar, then I want to find a gritty location, get some smoke bombs, and maybe a leather jacket or guitar for your session.

What Kind Of Images Do You Want To Capture

One of the most powerful lessons I ever learned is that two people can be saying the same thing but have entirely different ideas. For example, if I ask you to think of the color blue, which shade comes to mind? Royal Blue? Baby Blue? CAROLINA Blue? All of these are true but slightly different. Because of this, I always ask my clients to send me some inspirational images for the consultation, so I know exactly what they want to capture.

These sample images allow me to immediately say, “Bet, I can do that,” or let you know, “I can take pictures like this, but it’s not my normal style, and so I cannot guarantee that we’ll get images just like these.” Either way, I use these sample images to figure out what will be involved to make these images happen in terms of locations, lighting, wardrobe, and more so I can relay them to you when planning your portrait session.

Male photographer focusing camera on female client wearing a sexy black jumper fully slitted on the sides.
In Studio Portrait Session

Next Steps To Plan A Portrait Session

After these questions are answered, we’ll have a pretty good idea of whether or not we’re a good fit to work together. At this point, I’ll walk through the rest of my process: contract & deposit, a planning meeting, the session itself, image selection and ordering, editing, and product delivery. If all of that checks out, we’re good to move forward and start working together!

Selecting A Location For Your Portrait Session

Depending on the images and the inputs provided, I’ll recommend shooting in a studio or on location. I typically suggest a studio or shooting on-site based on the desired lighting for your images vs. how important a contextual background is for the photos. Once we agree on a studio or a location, I’ll make further suggestions for options within each.

Planning Clothing For A Portrait Session

We manage to dress ourselves every day, but when it’s for a photoshoot, we lose all sense of sanity and coordination. So, based on the goal of the session and the types of images desired, I’ll ask if you have clothing options that match your vision. If you don’t already own pieces that work, I’ll recommend reaching out to friends, buying items for the session and then returning them afterward.

Choose A Date

Picking a date is the easy part! Once we know the details, we can determine when to take your images. I always double-check local events to ensure parking won’t be a nightmare or traffic at a standstill. The number of times I’ve gone to Romare Bearden Park, and there groups of people everywhere… Additionally, I always talk about backup plans. Whether that be alternate places to park, what to do if it rains, or if there’s construction that prohibits shooting in that area – it’s good to know the alternate options so we can adjust or reschedule easily.

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