Mentally preparing for your shoot

Photoshoot tips

I’ve heard so many people tell me “I’m not photogenic. The camera hates me. I take great photos of friends, but mine never turn out good… etc”. And I can guarantee that you probably have also said it multiple times before. And don’t deny it!

But let’s not focus on that! I’m here to help you mentally prepare for your photoshoot. Because there’s definitely more to it than just slapping on your best dress and fave lipstick. Especially if you want photos that truly represent who you are. Oh but don’t worry, it’s not anything majorly difficult like fasting for 3 days or going to the Himalayas to meditate on your best angles. No, it’s quite simple and it begins before you’ve even booked your photographer:


You’re doing it! You’re really doing it! Hurray! After thinking about it for months (or maybe for 2 seconds) you’re hovering on the “Book me” button. Oh big decision guys.



You’re excited. For the first half hour. Then hesitation sets in: what if you look shit in the photos? Do you need to lose weight before the shoot? Will this person truly capture who you are?

The last one particularly, takes some initiative from YOU as well. It’s extremely difficult for someone to capture the essence of a stranger within the first hour of meeting them. Yes that even applies to Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York. And being a professional doesn’t automatically make us read minds. Even though I really wish it did. That’s why your photographer needs to get to know you. What are your likes? What are your dislikes? Do you hate pickles? Do you have a favorite facial feature? All important stuff, especially the pickles.

Being open and vulnerable with your photographer creates a dialogue. It helps your photographer understand who you are and approach the photoshoot with the right level of respect and creativity.



Pay attention, this is the important part. The shoot is a week, a day, or few hours away and you’re getting the nervous burps just thinking about it.

My advice: A day before, take 5 – 10 minutes to  lie on the couch, close your eyes and simply start by picturing yourself on the photoshoot.

  • Where are you?
  • Are you laughing?
  • Are you having fun?
  • What are you wearing?
  • What are you doing with your hands and feet?
  • Do you look natural?

Once you have that pictured, you’re already halfway there.

Now I want you to scroll through your phone. Look at your most recent selfies. Study them. What do you like about those selfies? Do some features stand out? What are they?

While you’re doing that, think about what you WANT to look like. Think about the parts you like about yourself and go into the shoot with a positive idea of your best features. Think about them during the shoot. Tell your photographer you like your eyes, your mouth, or that damn regal mole on your left cheek. But most of all, once you’ve mantra’d your best features into your mind, take it for what it is and just enjoy the experience.

Try not to think too much about where you’re standing, or what your doing (you’ve practiced already, remember?). Know that you are looking damn fine. Trust your photographer to use the information you’ve given them. And for the love of cake, just have FUN.

A PHOTOSHOOT SHOULD BE A BODY POSITIVE EXPERIENCE. Celebrating not just who you are, but YOU actually being proud of who you are.



It’s been four weeks. You’re anxiously waiting for your photos. Anxiously.

When you finally receive the email with your photos and before you open it, go through these steps first:

  • REMIND yourself that you are beautiful / handsome / a whole new level of awesome. Say it out loud, or in your mind. Tell your partner, let them tell you.
  • Be prepared to see yourself in a totally different way. This is important if you’ve never done a photoshoot before.

Once you’ve opened the gallery with your photos, keep this in mind:

  • It WILL be confronting.
  • This is someone’s interpretation of who you are.
  • You might like some photos more than others, but don’t be hard on yourself. It takes courage to be vulnerable and you have been courageous by having your photo taken.

The best way to go through this kind of self-confrontation is to go through the photos once. Pick your favorites, in your mind, or through a gallery feature, and close the gallery to look at it again later. The next time you look, you’ll see more photos you like. And more. And more! It’s great…it really is 🙂

And don’t forget to phone your photographer to say how much you love them. Photographers are sensitive and need validation. Like puppies.

Many thanks to the lovely photographers from
Dream/Heart/Create and Monique Steenkamp Photography for these awesome photos of me. Talents! Talents everywhere!

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