A lot of people have recently been asking me for photoshoot tips and, having had lots of experience both taking part and helping out with shoots I thought I’d make a little guide to help you through so here is my complete guide to photoshoots – both in the run-up and on the day.
In advance …
1. Choose moves you can do REALLY well and make sure you practice them lots beforehand.
Sounds silly but you wouldn’t believe how much you need to prep the moves you want to get for them to look effortless. First of all make sure the moves you pick are within your skill range and are moves you can do safely without a mat. No doubt you’ll end up doing each move a fair few times to get THE perfect shot so if its only something you got for the first time the week before maybe give it a miss or save it until the end of the shoot to try if you have time. Remember that sometimes it’s the simplest of moves that look most effective at a shoot and also that you’re not bionic – you may WANT photos of every move you’ve ever achieved but is that really plausible for a 30 minute shoot? No, probably not. Pick your favourites and have a few back up moves in case you’re having a slippy/ weak/ tired/ un-flexible day!
2. Whilst practicing, take lots of pictures.
As well as giving the photographer an idea of what you’re going to be doing beforehand (so they can get the lighting correct and help you nail the pose) it will also help you criticise yourself in order to get the best pictures on the day. Do you like the way the move looks? Do your limbs or toes need to be more pointy or straight? What direction should you look in whilst in the pose? Do you like what your hair is doing? Does it look better with your hair up or down? Do you prefer it at a different angle? These are all things you don’t want to be panicking about on the day.
3. Practice your entry into moves.
There’s not always an instructor on hand to be there at the shoot with you to remind you how to get in and out of a move so make sure you’ve made a note or taken a video to have with you on the day, this will help take your stress levels down a notch compared to frantic last minute Instagram/ YouTube searches for entries! This also includes practicing which way up you need to go up in order to get the perfect angle for the camera. Tedious, i know, but this is SO important. It’s pointless absolutely nailing a move if you’re facing completely the opposite way only to have to come down and try again…. especially when you’re starting to get a bit tired. It’s the thing i see people getting most stressed about at shoots. I know sometimes you spin and sometimes you don’t but if you’ve practiced so you at least have an idea then it will help massively.
4. Practice your moves in your chosen outfits.
Yes floaty skirts are pretty at shoots but they seriously affect your grip so you might not be able to do all the moves you had planned. Go to a practice session or book a private to go through all your moves in your chosen outfits … and write your decisions down. You want to be able to take with you a list of moves to the shoot that are in the order you want to do them (strength stuff first, flexibility stuff later on etc) and grouped by outfit. A few outfit changes are fine but you don’t want to be changing in between every move as it wastes valuable time and energy on the day.
5. Give yourself a break before the big day.
Try to give your body time to recover from all the extra training by having the day before the shoot off from exercise… maybe longer if you’re trying to get rid of bruises! This will allow you plenty of time to dye hair/ prep make-up/ props/ fake tan etc. and double check where you need to be and at what time. Make sure you eat a good meal the night before, get a good amount of sleep, avoid alcohol and keep hydrated in the run up to the shoot as dehydration can lead to reduced flexibility, reduced muscle output, poor skin and fatigue.
On the day…
6. Get up early.
You want plenty of time to finish your hair and make-up and to make sure you’ve got everything ready before you leave. It’s pretty much impossible to get fake eyelashes on in a rush!
7. Have a good breakfast or lunch beforehand (depending on the time of your shoot) and take emergency snacks or drinks.
Photoshoots are hard work and you don’t want to be performing sub-optimally just because you skipped a meal in order to look better. If you’re going to diet then do it with plenty of time to spare as you don’t want to be in a calorie deficit on the day as it will simply reduce your performance, make your tired, grumpy and less likely to get all of those moves you’ve worked so hard to perfect. If your shoot is longer you may want snacks to get you through but nothing that will get stuck in your teeth or get spilt down your outfit and potentially ruin your photos! A banana is a great option as it will give you some fast-release carbs to help you keep pushing through. A protein shake or a good meal afterwards is also really important to help repair those hard-working muscles.
8. Take some essentials with you.
First and foremost – SOCKS! You really don’t want beautiful photos with completely black feet – trust me. Other essentials include; a hairbrush, extra hair grips, hair bands and hairspray to tame unexpected crazy hair, make-up for touch-ups including extra eyelash glue, spare outfits just in case something happens as well as safety pins and boob tape to hold your dignity firmly in place.
9. Take someone with you – what we call a ‘fluffer’.
I will try to be there for as many of my students as possible but I can’t always be so make sure you’re prepared, just in case. It’s nice to have your training partner there (be sure to ask them in advance!) as they can help with moral support and reminding you how to get into moves … or your actual partner but just be warned that if they don’t have experience with what you’re doing they might not be much help with the technical stuff. Give your helper tasks – are your toes pointed? Are your limbs straight if they’re meant to be? Is your hair all over the place and in need of being moved out of the way? Are your hands making crazy shapes? Do you have a stray hairband on your wrist? Tell them to not be afraid of shouting these things at you when you’re in your move.
10. Ask to see your photos as you go.
There is nothing worse than getting your proofs back from a shoot you worked so hard for, only to find that you’re not completely happy with what you’re doing in said photos. Ask to see each move as you go through to make sure you are completely happy before moving on to the next.
11. Know when enough is enough.
Sometimes there’s one move on your list that you REALLY wanted a photo of but it’s just not working out. Have a few goes, then, instead of getting panicked and upset – leave it, come back to it a little later on but if it doesn’t work don’t spend your whole shoot trying and failing when you have lots of other poses to get through. Similarly, you know your body, if you’ve got through a good amount of moves and you’re just feeling completely knackered then stop – even if you have time to spare, this tends to be the point when people start injuring themselves. Remember that you can always get some photos just rolling around on the floor or doing some really simple but effect poses at this point too (see point 1)!
12. Have fun!
Whatever happens, planning and preparation are key to a successful photoshoot but remember that the whole point of the shoot is to have fun and get some lovely pictures to look back on in years to come so try not to stress about it. Enjoy it and good luck!
Above image courtesy of @theboudourdiaries