Advice From The Photographer And Model On How To Pull Off The Perfect Photoshoot

photoshoot tips

This article was co-written by The Zillennial Zine’s summer intern
Olivia Charlson and professional photographer Jen Litt. Find them on Instagram at @olivialee2000 and @jenlittphoto. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at thezillennialzine@gmail.com.

There are moments in life we want to capture. Having pictures of our graduation, our family or even just of ourselves is a luxury. Some of my closest friends are photographers and I’ve gotten used as a model for portraits. It wasn’t easy though when I first started posing for photography projects and outings around town. At first, I had no idea what to do with my hands or how to smile without feeling incredibly awkward. Wearing the right outfit, being comfortable in front of the camera and simply knowing how to act when you’re meeting a stranger who’s going to be telling you how to hold yourself can be daunting. It doesn’t mean you should have to miss out on some of the most memorable moments in your life being photographed. 

Jen Litt has been a photographer for years now and her career has begun to pick up in her final year as a student. Litt has done her fair share of family shoots, couple shoots and grad shoots — so she can attest that it’s supposed to be fun! She and I came up with what you should know before your session. Here are some photoshoot tips from a photographer and the model.

What to wear

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Jen Litt (@jenlittphoto)

What you wear will be dependent on where you’re going and what type of photos you want. You should feel confident in what you dress up in — but it’s also super important to be physically comfortable too. If your photos are being taken outside — and this can’t be stressed enough — wear shoes you can actually walk in. Your photographer won’t mind if you carry a pair of dress shoes with you. If you’re on a trail, you won’t want to be in clothes that make the process less fun. I wore a crop top last fall on one of our excursions and it made me want to leave pretty soon after we got there.

What to bring

 
 
 
 
 
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Although you don’t want to lug around a bag or leave too much makeup in the car, it can be a good idea to bring some touch up items like a comb, some lipstick/gloss or some hairpins. If the weather takes a turn and there’s chance of rain, snow or high winds you can bring some fun props like umbrellas or hats and gloves. People who have small children or dogs being photographed should consider bringing some treats and toys too.

What to do when you get there

 
 
 
 
 
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It’s helpful to get to the location at least ten minutes early to allow for touch ups, using the restroom or parking. I always find it easier when the environment is more relaxed, so try being friendly with your photographer and asking whatever questions you have before you jump into it.

How to act

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Jen Litt (@jenlittphoto)

According to the photographer, your photographer should help you! Most photographers are camera shy too (ironically). If you booked the session, you can have fun with it. Always go for a few silly shots like play fighting or making some jokes to one another. If you’re just taking some photos with friends then have something to do with your hands because typically the photos where your arms are just hanging by your sides won’t be “the shot.” You can put your hands in your pockets, on your hips or around someone else. Check with your photographer first, but you can probably bring a friend for moral support even if the pictures are of just you.

How you should reach out if you want to hire a portrait photographer

 
 
 
 
 
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Start with a Google search. Use keywords like what kind of session you want and your location. Once you have found a photographer you would like to hire, go through their website and/or their Instagram. Usually there will be a preference for how they want to be contacted. Otherwise, it’s easiest to send a message through their websites contact form, their email or Instagram direct message. If you want something specific (like a surprise engagement shoot) communicate with your photographer and together you can make it happen. Most professional photographers book 1-3 months in advance.

Every photographer will work a little differently, but having your pictures taken is special. Unless you’re helping a stressed out roommate with an assignment where they have to repeatedly pour orange juice into a glass for a splash shot — but that’s beside the point. The most important thing for being “the model” is to roll with the punches and have fun with it. Give your photographer a tag on Instagram or a review on their website if you liked them. And if you didn’t — well you might have to find a different article for that advice.

Have any photoshoot tips as a photographer or a client? Let us know in the comments down below!

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