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HOW TO: Achieve Swoon Worthy Photos From a PRO-Shoot!!

When you invest time and money in a professional photo shoot, be it for your business or your family, you want to make the most of it. You want to capture the essence of your brand, your style, your event. You want something memorable and eye-catching. Once you’ve selected your photographer, there’s another crucial step before the day of the shoot: Preparation. Follow our checklist below to ensure a fun and successful photo shoot.

  • This is always an important element to consider. Are you looking for nature / architecture / landscape / waterways etc? Ottawa is rich in locations where you can start off in one spot, then go for a walkabout and capture a plethora of images, all completely different due to the changing backdrops.
  • Once you’ve chosen your main location, prepare for the weather. Pack umbrellas, layers, or allow for some kind of shade, depending on the time of year.
Portrait Photography
  1. TIME of DAY
  • If this is a family shoot, think about what time of day works best, when everyone is going to be their happiest. This is a big consideration for little kids.
  • Evening and sunset make for beautiful light, and are great for portraits.
  • Work with your photographer to find the best day of the week. There is only one Saturday per week, but six others that work equally well!
Photography Portraits
  • Whether you’re getting head shots or family portraits, it’s probably good to opt for your best going out to dinner clothes, or some refer to them as your Sunday best.  You want to be put together but not too over the top, unless of course you’re looking for something a little more formal. You want to feel good about yourself during the shoot, so wear clothes that reflect that. Pull out some fun clothes that you know you love to wear together OR simply go shopping. Avoid clothes which are oversized, too tight, have wild and crazy patterns. ALL have the potential to make you look larger than you are.  Find something that fits ‘JUST RIGHT, not too snug, a little tailored to show off your shape. When in doubt bring an option or two and I’m sure the photographer would be happy to help you choose.
  • Coordinate everyone in the shoot but allow for some individuality. Matchy-matchy is a little 80’s, for example, all white or black t’s with jeans. This look doesn’t work on everyone. Instead, think in terms of a colour palette. An example would be: Khaki / White and Navy. Other than that, each child and person has their own style so let it shine through.
  • Accessories – jackets, sweaters, scarves – are just as important as the main outfit.  Make sure to complete your look.
  • Shoes: don’t forget the finishing touch with just the right shoes.  Ladies, don’t be afraid of heels. When you’re wearing a dress they make your legs look amazing and they actually make you stand a little straighter and taller. Pack a flat pair for walking around. Men, polish your shoes the night before.
Photography Portraits
  • Ladies, professional is always a more polished look.  I can provide referrals for those interested.  To give you an idea, you’re looking at approx. $125 for makeup and light hair. Gents, if you’re wanting a haircut schedule it for at least a week or two in advance so it looks clean but not super fresh.
  • Hair accessories: if the shoot is outdoors make sure you have some hair accessories available in the case of windy weather.
  • Wear make-up but ensure it reflects what you’d normally wear. Apply powder to reduce any sheen on your skin. Depending how formal you want the photos to look, you could opt for a professional make over. Bring your lipstick and powder for touch-ups during the shoot.
  • Nails: they may seem like an insignificant consideration, but polished and clean nails do complete the look.
  1. PROPS

Don’t forget a few props: sunglasses, hats, umbrellas, jackets, blazers, bubbles for the kids or the kid at heart in all of us, a picnic blanket and/or basket.  The possibilities are endless.  Bring a few things that reflect your brand, you as a couple, your family – whatever the scenario – to help bring out a few real-life giggles and heartfelt moments during your session.

Photography Props
  1. KIDS
  • Make sure they are well napped and fed. Bring snacks and treats to keep them going.  Bribery does work well at a shoot, but I suggest avoiding those treats while shooting and saving them for the finale. Bring their favourite toys to entertain them between shots. These toys could even be a prop.
  • Avoid colourful drinks and snacks prior to the shoot – you don’t want berry stains on that brand-new white dress!
  • Bring wet wipes or a cloth for wiping up spills if you have an infant in the shoot.
  • Pack a change of clothes, especially for younger children, but adults might want an alternative for some of the photos, or a wrap/sweater/vest to change things up.
Photography Portraits


  • Stay hydrated.
  • Try not to consume alcohol the night before as it can cause puffiness in your face and eyes. Bloodshot eyes aren’t a good look on anyone.

I hope you find this list helpful. Feel free to print it out and check each item off in preparation for your photo shoot. Enjoy! Looking for a professional photographer for head shots, branding or a family photo shoot? Don’t hesitate to reach out!! 

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