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Being prepared is the key to success for your photo shoot.

While this information is primarily intended for general portrait photography a lot of the information is also applicable to events. Please ignore any information that is not applicable to your particular shoot or event. For example if you are looking for a dramatic look some of the comments about makeup may need to be ignored.

We have included information for various ages so please skip the information that is not applicable for your particular shoot / event.

Venues

The selected venue obviously depends on a number of factors; events are shot on location, portraits are normally shot in our studio, however we are happy to portraits at other locations including your home.

Using our studio

Our family run studio is the ideal place for portraits of individuals and small groups, and provides a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with a variety of options. At our studio the emphasis is to ensure you enjoy yourself, while we capture some great images that you will treasure forever.

Other locations

At locations away from our studio there are a number of things that may need to be considered including: obtaining permission to photograph at the venue if required and ensuring the location is prepared for the event. When shooting at external locations we will work with you to resolve any requirements.

Facial expressions - emotions - attitude (body & mental)

The most important factor in any portrait is the facial expression and attitude of the subject. While the range of expressions and emotions is huge, in general most portraits will be done for a specific purpose. With this in mind only a few expressions will be suitable to meet the intended porpose. The following list covers the key expressions and emotions.

Only a few are generally used for personal portraits including what I refer to as Hi (a simple greeting smile not over the top just a warm greeting, as you would give a friend when you see them, also good for business portraits) and Happy, Loving, Natural. If the images are for you partner (i.e. lingerie / boudoir / berlesque or nude) the following Loving, Seductive, Sexy, Shy, Sly and Tender would be on your short list.

  • Acting goofy
  • Adoring
  • Angry
  • Annoyed
  • Bedraggled
  • Bewildered
  • Blissful
  • Blowing out
  • Bored
  • Chewing
  • Commanding
  • Concentrating
  • Concerned
  • Conniving
  • Coy
  • Crazed
  • Crying
  • Distraught
  • Ecstatic
  • Embarrassed
  • Evil
  • Excited
  • Excruciating pain
  • Frightened / Scared
  • Furious
  • Giggling
  • Happy
  • Hi
  • Headachy
  • Hysterical laugh
  • Hungover
  • Inebriated
  • Jealous
  • Listening intently
  • Loving
  • Mean
  • Menacing
  • Mischievous
  • Natural
  • Panting
  • Pleading
  • Pleased
  • Pouting
  • Puzzled
  • Sad
  • Screaming
  • Seductive
  • Sexy
  • Shy
  • Sly
  • Squinting
  • Stone-faced
  • Supprised
  • Tearful
  • Terrified
  • Tender
  • Tired
  • Upset
  • Victorious
  • Whistling

Despite the fact that most people can create most of these expressions creating them on demand in front of the camera is often something that does not come naturally. In general most people find that by just thinking of a scenario (such as visualising meeting a friend for a "Hi" look or something naughty for a "Sensual" / "Sexy" look) the expression required will come naturally. A trick that many models use to get their expressions perfected is to practice in front of a mirror (some use it as a daily exersize) until they can not only create the expression on demand but also ensure that they are happy with the result.

The best tip for anyone comming to a photo shoot is to firstly think about the intended use(s) for the portrait(s) and practice in front of the mirror the types of expressions that you think will work best. For example if you are doing a family portrait a suitable expression may be natural, tender or happy but if if is for a partner a sexy, suductive or coy look may be what is required.

Apart from the actual expression, there are also issues that can often easily be resolved in front of the mirror; including finding out what works best for each individual with respect to smiling with mouth open of closed, your best side and angle.

In most photo shoots a number of expressions will be tried and the photographer will try to direct you.

Childrens parties - adult parties - family events - sports events etc.

Firstly the type of event will to some degree affect what we are required to do and can do. In general there will be a number of activities that need to be recorded such as cutting a cake, a prize giving, presentation, popping a cork, an announcement etc. In addition there may be specific photographic requests by the organisers that we need to fulfil.

In general we are very happy to take requests for photographs at events, including pictures of activities, individuals and groups, providing the organisers allow us the flexibility to do this type of photography. Please note that some events provide more opportunities for photographic requests than others and we will do our best to fulfil any requests.

What happens if you have a problem getting to the shoot?

You can email or if it is urgent phone 01494 721739 and discuss it, do not wait. Please write this number down somewhere and keep it with you just in case you need it, for directions or any other issues.

Enjoy the shoot, be happy and have fun.

Our first tip is to enjoy your photo shoot. If you are happy and have fun at the shoot the resulting pictures will show this. Great pictures are pictures of happy people.

Get a good night's sleep.

It is important when attending a photo shoot that you are alert, have a good nights sleep the night before the shoot. If you look tired, haggard or under the weather, not to mention under the influence of anything we may need to abort the photo shoot; either because you are not in a fit state to be in the studio or the images will be useless. Do not go out on the town the night before a photo shoot, or stay up all night, it shows. You will look dull and lifeless especially in the face and eyes. Your expression, look in your eyes and stance all contribute to a great image.

Eyes

Most people looking at someone's photograph are drawn to the eyes, which is why the eyes are one of the most important items in any portrait. Having bright eyes can make the difference between a fair and a great portrait. Alcohol and cigarettes both make eyes look dull and blood shot. Even drinking and smoking in moderate quantities can take a few days to clear. If you are a smoker consider reducing or using a substitute or better still quit forever.

Clean, neat and tidy.

You need to look good to feel good. When you feel good you will look more attractive. Unless otherwise discussed and agreed, do what you need to do to look your best, hair, neat and tidy, nails are neat (including toe nails), shaved, waxed etc.

Hair.

In general your hair should be neat. In studio portraits, it is is best to avoid using hair products that will make your hair very oily or glitter, as this can be a problem with back lit portraits.

Makeup.

DIY makup

If you wish to do your own make up the following tips should help to ensure that your images look great.

  • Avoid using heavy face makeup. Use makeup sparingly and avoid any caking.
  • Do not use dark makeup around your eyes, as this generally comes out darker on the photographs and does not look good. Going a shade or two lighter around the eyes is generally advised (lightening under the eyes is recommended if the skin color under the eyes is darker).
  • Lips, please avoid using very glossy lipstick as this often causes unwanted reflections.
  • If you have any wrinkles or lines you would like to hide you can try products like Sheercover.
  • Avoid using any face creams, mosturisers and other products that can create a sheen on the skin. Under the studio lights this can cause unwanted highlights. In general a light dusting of face powder can help to reduce shiny skin.

Using a Make up artist

If you would like a make over or your makup done for you we have some excellent make up artists in the area that can do your make up / make over at our studio. You need to make your own private arrangements regarding what you would like doing and pay them separately.

Sunburn.

While sunburn can be masked by make-up it is better to avoid excessive exposure to the sun that will cause red or uneven coloration of the skin.

Tans.

This is a very personal issue, but a healthy looking tan does look great on most people. If you are going to tan, we suggest that you use a safe method, and where possible we suggest an even body tan. Having a partial tan can look bad if one area of the body is tanned and another area is not, especially if there is a clear dividing line. A bad tan is worse than no tan. If you are going to use a fake tan start testing products a few weeks before the shoot. If you are interested in knowing more about fake tanning click here.

Digital tanning is also an option where a tan is added after the photograph has been taken. The disadvantage of digital tanning is that each image to be used needs to be retouched and will normally involve an additional cost.

Model and artists portfolios

If you are a model or artist, and will be using your images for your portfolio, I suggest that you show how versatile you are. If you have a wide range of images you will be able to tailor portfolio to meet potential client requirements.

With this is mind I suggest that you have a professional make over to ensure you look your best. Normaly you can arrange this privately with a local make over artist who will do your make over at our studio.

With flexibility and versatility in mind having a wide range of looks including a sophisticated look, as well as a casual look, sporty look, seductive looks etc.

For all model and actor portfolio images I suggest that no tight or elasticated clothing is worn for at least 4 hours before the shoot as this causes marks and undulations that may show on the final images. While these can often be airbrushed out it is better to avoid the problem where possible.

Clothing.

Firstly, wear something that you will feel good in, and look great in.

Wear something that will be suitable for the look(s) (formal, casual, sensual etc.) you want.

Some suggestions.

In general we suggest that you bring a wide range of options and try a selection during the shoot.

Your choice will be affected by the type(s) of images you would like, be it a sophisticated look, a casual look, fashionably images, a sporty look, a sensual look etc. Some examples include:

  • Evening dresses.
  • Suits / Dinner jackets.
  • Party dresses.
  • Smart casual clothes.
  • Swimwear.
  • Sports wear. Some sports wear is very fashionable and sensual and worth a try.
  • Gym wear.
  • Lingerie, more sensual wear or just a towel.
  • etc.

Colours and shades

We suggest that you bring a range of colours and shades in your selection of clothing. When shooting in the studio we will often use a white or black background and it is good to include in your selection of clothing, colours that will provide a good contrast with the background so that you do not blend into the background.

Colour, style and makup coordination

Whenever more than one person will be photographed (i.e. Mother and baby, Partners, a family, group etc.) we suggest that some form of colour and style coordination is considered. The key is to ensure that no one will look out of place or odd either in style or colour unless this the intention. With respect to style it would look odd if everyone is in formal dress and one in a tee shirt and shorts. In some cases coordination should also apply with makeup.

Fashion tips

If you are interested in learing more about clothing that will look great on you try getting a book on fashion tips such as the books by Gok Wan.

Shoes

Bring a range of shoes that match the type of outfit(s) you will be using.

Depending on the type of images you are looking for we may use an infinity white backdrop or mirror and will ask you to remove any sharp items of clothing and your shoes so it is best to be prepared for this.

Accessories

Please bring a selection of accessories with you, if they will help to reinforce your image and complement your outfit. Items such as necklace, ear rings, watch, scarfs, belts etc. Use your imagination.

Themed shoots / personal interest shoots

If you have a particular interest, be it a sport, hobby or something you enjoy doing we are happy to do a themed shoot. A themed shoot may include anything that is practical. While some can be done in the studio, others may need to be done at suitable locations.

Some examples include:

  • Musical instruments
  • Sporting equipment i.e. skate boards, archery, horse riding, Karate.
  • Hobbies i.e. painting, sculpture, pottery, marquetry.
  • Interests such as classic or sports cars, horses, pets etc.

Due to the range of themes possible please contact us so that we can work with you to capture the images you are interested in.

Appointment time

Please try to book a time when you feel your best. If the shoot includes babies or children please book a time that is most suitable for them. We can do weekend shoots for clients who work during the week.

Children

Please bring one or more sets of clothing for each child. Also bring a few toys (do not bring toys that have any sharp edges including lego) that they can play with at the shoot. Consider the best time in the day for the children when booking the photo shoot.

Babies

Please bring anything that you need including bottles, blanket(s), baby brush, a few changes of clothes and a range of suitable soft toys (include some toys that rattle or squeak). While it is not as easy with babies try to arrange the shoot at the best time in the day for the baby, ideally when they enjoy playing.

Tight clothing

This is only an issue where it will affect the images to be taken. Tight clothing can leave marks on the skin or cause bulges that may be visible. If any of the photographs to be taken will show any areas of the skin that could be affected by tight clothing you should use other clothing. As marks can take about 4 hours to disappear, you should only wear loose clothing during this period before the shoot over any area of skin that may be marked by tight clothing.

For nude photo shoots I recommend that no elasticated or tight garments are worn the day of the shoot and that you go commando (i.e. No Bra, No panties, No stockings or other tight items that could cause marks).

Skin issues

I recommend you exfoliate your skin. This will remove any old skin and give your skin a fresh look. While you can use a shop bought product for this, salt with a bit of olive oil is an inexpensive alternative that is often recommended. Note, do not add too much liquid to your mixture as this can reduce it's effectiveness. I suggest that you do this the day or two before the shoot.

Using a combination of Make-up and digital retouching, most skin problems can be significantly reduced or removed from the final image. As many skin problems are the body's reaction to a poor diet or lifestyle, including junk food, smoking, alcohol and allergies there are long term solutions to most problems. If you suspect a problem it is best to consult an expert.

What to bring with you.

Bring a range of makeup for touching up or to change your look as required.

Hair brush.

A range of outfits (see the section of clothing above).

Shoes

Accessories

Any props that you may like to include in your shots, musical instruments, etc.

A wrap / dressing gown if the shoot will include nude or partly clothed shots.

Childrens toys

We do have a number of toys and books that are available as props but do suggest you bring your childs favorites with you.

Please feel free to bring any suitable soft toys, books with you to the photo shoot. We suggest that you only bring items that you would be happy to have in the photographs.

Shaving

While fashions and trends change, in general we would suggest that if you normally shave you have a shave a few hours before the photo shoot. To avoid stubble showing, we suggest that men particuarly those with darker hair shave a few hours before a photo shoot unless you specifically want a so called "designer look".

If you will be shaving an area that is not normally shaved; I suggest that you do this a few days before the shoot and then keep the area shaved, doing a final shave either the night before the shoot or first thing on the day. This gives the skin a chance to recover (areas that are not normally shaved sometimes get a bit red when first shaved).

Nails

For any photography that will include fingers or feet please ensure that you manicure your nails. I suggest ladies (and men if they wish) also paint their nails.

Your ideas and suggestions are welcome.

This is your photo shoot and our objective is to create great images that you will love.

If you have any ideas about poses you would like of yourself or you see a pose in a magazine, please make a note or bring the picture with you so we can discuss doing something similar at the shoot.

We are interested in your creative ideas and will work with you to try and create something special and unique.

Studio location.

Our studio is located in Amersham, Bucks, UK. Amersham has both train and tube links to London. Free parking is available by the studio.

Meeting your requirements

While we hope that the information we have provided above has been of help to you, we appreciate that everyone's requirements are different and invite you to contact us about your specific needs, or call on 01494 721739 for more information.



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