A Great Photo Shoot: A Guide to Makeup, Hair, Wardrobe

A new makeup look, hairstyle or wardrobe may all be part of a resolution to be kinder to You.   That promise to own your beauty might also include booking a photo shoot that will create an album featuring the rock star, princess, diva, femme-bot or whomever is hiding in your day to day personality and just clambering to get out. Now what!?
There are a few key points you are going to want to consider that will help get your beauty game on. Some of these preparations are going to take you very wide of your comfort zone; some will require encouragement from friends or professionals and others will be just plain fun.


This step is crucial and may take time and research. If you have a theme in mind for this photo shoot you’ll want to find a photographer who can understand and envision this theme the way you do.   It could be a little like internet dating. Check out their profile and reviews. Find out what genre of photography they excel at (boudoir photography, lifestyle photography, fashion photography, editorial photography, ect) and then look closely at their portfolio. Meet with them in person; this should be somebody that you can spend a few hours with in a professional (yet intimate) setting. You may want to get referrals from friends but keep your vision in mind and remember: photos that a friend had taken (no matter how perfect they are) may have required a different artistic flare than what you’re aiming for.

Education and price do not necessarily play into your initial investigation. Some of the best photographers that I know are not formally trained.  Others who have owned an expensive cameras since the day they graduated from art school charge like extortionists yet fall short technically, artistically, or on customer service. Try to get a read on how passionate they are about your project. You’re going to want someone who will encourage you or your alter ego to shine. After all, you may be investing a great deal of time, energy, money and emotion into this so it’s only fair that the whole team respect that fact and show the same enthusiasm.

Fearless NOLA2015 at Race & Religious, New Orleans


This brings us to preparation number two. Even if your photographer has a hair stylist and makeup artist or team, you can research and should be able to hire your own if you choose.  Again, compatibility is key. Aside from special effects makeup most artists can do all styles of makeup but, some will specialize in certain looks (glamour makeup, fashion makeup, bridal makeup, creative makeup, ect).

Start your search online with make up artists that do a great job with the style of makeup that you want for your shoot. Next compile a list of questions that you have about getting your makeup done; perhaps what product they use, their experience, photographers that they have worked with or any other curiosities you may have and give them a call. For some reason many people are very intimidated with the idea of having their makeup applied but, let this be comforting……it’s only makeup and it can be washed off. A makeup artist that’s interested in making you feel good about how you look and get you excited about having photos taken would be one that’ll work with you on your makeup style and deliver exactly what you want.


At this point you may want to start an inspiration board on Pinterest. Don’t get too hung up on this and be prepared to delete it before your shoot. It’s a great way to share ideas with the creative team and keep track of things you may want to try during your shoot. You can add photos of hair styles, makeup looks and poses with subjects who have a similar body type as you.

You can also use it for outfit ideas. Outfits = shopping! If you are like me you can use any event as a way to justify shopping.  Hopefully you already have a good relationship with a couple of fashion boutiques and lingerie stores (or at least one good friend) that will talk you into buying something flattering, pretty and maybe a little off the beaten path from your regular wardrobe. Perhaps there’s a little number that has been calling your name but you just couldn’t think of where you would ever take it on a date – that would be the perfect investment. Go ahead and wear that new ensemble to work the day after your shoot (granted that it is work appropriate) and watch your co-workers lapse into a fascinated awe when you say, “This? (coy pause) Oh, I picked it up for a photo shoot”.   If they didn’t already wonder what you did outside of the office……they will now.

If you find yourself a bit inhibited about shopping for your photo shoot talk to your photographer, they won’t leave you hanging. They should have tips on styles that are flattering and photograph nicely as well as, colors or textures that are easy for them to work with.

CONFIDENCE IS BEAUTY (and visa vera)

Let’s get physical and a bit emotional. Depending on the relationship that you have with your body you may be gung-ho to get in front of the lens with no apprehensions or this idea may make you weak in the knees.  But believe me, now is not the time to fall into a desperate plank position in hopes of miraculously loosing unwanted pounds or inches. You’ve already made up your mind that you are going to do this so no matter what fitness or nutrition plan you’re on just keep a steady pace – don’t make yourself crazy. Besides, there are no limitations on the number of photo shoots that you can have in a lifetime. If you chose to do this again after you’ve reached a new goal in your life then go for it.

The same philosophy goes with skin. A week before the shoot is not the time to buy into a whole new skin care line or jump on that impulse for lip injections.  If you are having any new issues with your skin reach out to your makeup artist or a skin care consultant.  Otherwise don’t add or take away anything from your skin care regimen any sooner than two to three weeks before your shoot.   Exfoliate a couple times per week with something gentle like a konjac sponge to create a fresh canvas and moisturize regularly to help maintain a healthy glow. Take care of the skin on your body the same way. Many photographers don’t recommend spray tans.  Star Newman (Acts of Beauty Photography) actually has a bit about it in the email she sends to clients to help them prepare for a boudoir session at her studio.  I however, am a huge fan of self-tanners.  I suggest that you experiment with a highly recommended brand at least seven days before your photo shoot and then re-apply once you have decided that the recipe is right for you. Hair removal should be done at least 24 hours in advance to avoid redness.  A classic simple manicure for your fingernails is best.  You may be saying to your self, “all of these details can be handled with re-touching,” and you would be correct.  Although, that thought may not come to mind when you’re scantily clad surrounded by lights and a lens only a few feet from you.

The more prepared you are for this adventure, the more comfortable and self assured you’ll be.  In turn, the more relaxed and happy you will look in your photos.

Let me say how proud I am of you for believing that you are beautiful and giving yourself permission to acknowledge it.
I hope you have the time of your life during your photo shoot.

Photo credits:   Acts of Beauty Photography    Breathless Boudoir    Meghan Garner Photographic Artist

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mG Artistry did an amazing job with the styling and I had a great experience working with (Michelle) and the team. You are professional in your work and have a comfortable presence, which added to the day’s experience being really comfortable and supportive. I will definitely keep you in mind for future collaborations.Lindsay Ashmore

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