Do Before a Photoshoot

What Should You Do Before a Photoshoot?

So you are not sure how to prepare for a photo shoot. 

You are excited to feel fierce, to have stunning photos taken of you and to strut your stuff in front of the camera – but you want to make sure you look glowy and beautiful. 

What if you wake up the day of your shoot with a pimple? What if your skin is dry and not luminous? 

What if your hair is not shiny and mermaid-like? Don’t stress. We are going to walk you through how you can prepare for a photoshoot. When taking your portrait, there are five areas where a little advanced preparation can make a huge difference. 

Neglect them, and an otherwise perfect photo could end up with distracting elements that focus away from where it should be. (*Ahem* Your beautiful eyes, of course.) 

The five areas are Face, Hair, Hands, Skin, and Clothes. The week before your shoot (or sooner, if you’ve booked ahead) is a time for planning. 

Decide on outfits, choose which beautification steps you will take, and schedule the appointments (even if they’re just with yourself). 

Remember, these tips help you prepare for your shoot but are not required or even necessary for everybody.  Just choose what fits in with your budget, lifestyle, and current beauty regimen, and go from there!

It’s not common knowledge to prepare for a photoshoot — especially when nerves are high the night before.  Photoshoots come with stress, encounters with meeting new people, and often an uncomfortable wardrobe.

Even with complete services provided (e.g., makeup, hair, costume), there are things you can acquire and bring to ensure you produce the best pictures possible. The more you prepare, the better your first impression.

Realistic Advice on How to Prepare for a Photoshoot

Do Before a Photoshoot

Although photoshoot day can be frantic, there are a few things you can do the night before to keep your head straight when you wake up and perform your modelling duties.

Plan Your Time Wisely 

It’s essential to have a game plan to ensure a time efficient shoot. Quality can be compromised when rushed, so always plan to include extra time in your schedule to accommodate any unplanned circumstances.

Make sure to self groom yourself beforehand by showering, washing your face, touching up your roots, deep conditioning, shaving/plucking, and cleaning nails.


Centre your body and gain better balance by stretching your muscles from top to bottom. Unfortunately, modelling often entails extraneous poses that will push your body to its limits.


Drink plenty of water the night before a shoot to hydrate your skin and feel your best the morning of the shoot. You also want to pre-hydrate your body, so you don’t have to extra-hydrate right before a shoot, causing inconvenience with needed bathroom breaks.

Get In Character

Spend a few moments in the mirror to familiarise yourself with your modelling character, tone, and attitude.

The more you practice, the more you’ll exude confidence on set.

Bring the Basics 

No matter the shoot’s concept, it’s always wise to bring neutral coloured, low profile undergarments, avoiding panty lines or distracting colour pops and undesired focus. 

A poor choice in undergarments could make or break the quality of a shoot.

Sometimes footwear can cause issues due to size discrepancies; bring an extra pair of shoes that could work for your shoot as a backup or used to walk to your shoot location.

Get Enough Sleep 

Sleep is crucial to rid your face of swelling, redness, and bags under your eyes. Make sure to avoid alcohol and get at least eight hours of sleep before a shoot to look your best.

Don’t Pick Your Face. 

You can groom and prime, but be sure not to pick your face to the point of redness or injury the night before a photoshoot. 

No photographer wants to spend extra time editing unnecessary blemishes. You can arrive at the node barefaced if agreed upon, but always come wearing moisturiser.

Bring Water and Snacks 

Photoshoots can often take longer than planned, which is why it’s imperative to stay hydrated and enjoy a light snack beforehand to avoid nausea or fatigue while modelling.

Anything you can do to be ready before your scheduled time leaves you with more for posing and creating content. 

Modelling is a gratifying, confidence-building activity that not many are privileged to experience. 

Be sure to spend some time preparing to ensure you, your photographer, and any support staff comes away having had a pleasurable time working together.

You’ll continue to improve in how to prepare for a photo shoot, and as always, serve your best!

Get a Facial

The best way to prep your skin for a photo shoot is to get help from a professional. These guys prepare skin for events all the time. 

They are the best people to help you get your skin in tip-top shape for your photoshoot. Get exfoliating facials in the weeks leading up to your shoot. 

The week before your shoot, you want to be focusing on hydrating your skin. So opt for highly moisturising and hydrating facials during this time.

Exfoliate Your Skin

Make sure you are exfoliating your skin 2-3 times a week before your photoshoot. When you exfoliate your skin, you remove the dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin. 

Exfoliation exposes the fresh, healthy skin underneath, making your skin prepared for your photoshoot.


In the week leading up to your shoot, moisturise your skin daily. Use a moisturiser with no fragrances to ensure your skin will not react and become inflamed close to your shoot. Moisturiser will boost hydration and ensure your skin glows on camera.

Get a Haircut

To prepare your hair for your photoshoot, get a haircut in the week leading up to the shoot. 

You can get a trim to keep your hair looking tidy, or you could also opt for hair colouring. Talk to your hairdresser about what hairstyle will best suit your face for your photoshoot.

Deep Hair Conditioning Treatment

Whilst you’re spending time keeping your skin moisturised to prepare for your photoshoot– don’t neglect your hair! 

The week before your photoshoot, use a nourishing, deep conditioning treatment on your hair. This will ensure it is healthy, strong and fabulous for your shoot.

Get a Tan (if You Want To)

If you want to get a spray tan to prepare for your photoshoot, you must do this 2 – 3 days beforehand. This allows time for the tan to settle and look natural on camera. 

A spray tan is by no means necessary, but some people choose to get a spray tan or use a gradual self-tanner to make their skin look golden and glowy in photos. 

You don’t need to do this – we advocate rocking the skin you are in! If you choose to tan, be super careful that it is even – otherwise, it can look underwhelming on camera.

Get a Manicure

While you’re at it, toss in the pedicure. If you’re hard on your manicures, book the mani/Pedi for the day before your shoot.

Minimalists can stick with neatly shaped, clear nails. Soft, neutral colours work well for fingertips.

Toes can get away with any colour. (Think about the outfits you’re bringing, and be sure to choose a colour that will compliment your choices.)

Clean Your Jewelry. 

Using a toothbrush and toothpaste is a great day-to-day way to clean your bling, but most professional jewellers have sonic cleaners that make it sparkle like the day it was born. 

Many will even clean your ring for free. Especially if you return it to the jeweller, jeweller ought it from.

If it’s been a long time since your last pro cleaning, take the ring in right away. If there are any loose stones in your setting, they may get shaken loose, so it’s a good idea to allow a few days need to reset anything.

If it’s convenient, have it cleaned the day before your shoot again. Or you could go with the old toothbrush method the night before. Or even stop wearing it between the cleaning and the shoot. Just don’t leave it at home!

Him, Too. If you’re bringing your man to your shoot, make sure his nails are neat, and his ring is clean. Bonus points if you can get him to wear the genie masque.

If you want to make sure every element of your photo looks perfect, don’t forget to give your nails some love.

 Whether it is getting a manicure a few days before your photoshoot, applying a nail polish colour you love, or just ensuring your nails are clean and photo-ready – don’t neglect your nails. 

When choosing a nail polish, consider what would match with the outfits for your shoot. If you’re unsure what colour to go for – opt for nude pink or bare nails.

Use a Sugar Scrub

To eliminate any dead cells on your skin, use a sugar scrub in the last five days leading up to your shoot. 

This will scrub off dead skin to reveal your glowy, luminous skin underneath. A sugar scrub is essential if you will do a shoot where you are showing lots of skin.

The Day of the Shoot

Do Before a Photoshoot

Cleanse Your Face

You want to arrive at your shoot with clean, dry skin. On the morning of your shoot, use a cleanser to remove any dirt, bacteria or toxins from your skin, so your face is all ready for makeup.

Whiten Teeth. 

Crest sells white strips that whiten in a week or less for a quick whiteness boost. I hear dentists can whiten teeth, too. Many even do it for free for new clients. If you’re due for a cleaning, you might consider going all out.

Don’t Pick. 

A pimple is very easy to cover with makeup, but scabs, wounds and flaky patches are tricky. As soon as possible, stop picking at your skin. 

If you’re like me and scratch and squeeze at every bump and flake on your face, it’s time to pull out the big guns. 

Do whatever it takes. Stop examining your face closer than 2 feet from a mirror. If you distractedly pick while you’re doing something else, try wearing bandaids on your fingertips. Go for some with a sassy print, like Barbie or Dora the Explorer.


An excellent, soothing session using a grainy scrub (or gently rubbing your skin with a washcloth) on your face and body is an indulgent way to spend an evening. 

Plan to exfoliate a couple of times before your appointment, but be sure to allow a few days between ‘treatments’, as well as a couple of days after the last one before your shoot.

Get a Facial. 

If you’re going to go all out into pamper mode, be sure to do your facial at least a week before your shoot. Since facials tend to cause redness, a week usually allows enough time to heal.

For those of us on a budget, an at-home facial with a gooey, fluorescent masque is always a fun alternative to a night on the town. Throw in a delicious book and recharge your psyche. Repeat as necessary.

Wax Eyebrows.

If you decide to have your eyebrows waxed or threaded, be sure to schedule the appointment for at least a few days before your photoshoot. 

Otherwise, an eyebrow trim/touch up at home could be done a day or two before the shoot.

Arrive With Clean, Dry Hair

There is no need to arrive at your shoot with your hair already styled! 

To prepare for your photoshoot, simply ensure your hair is clean and dry when you arrive. We will style it for you during your hair and makeup session.

Touch Up Your Roots. 

If you dye your hair, touching up your regrowth three days before your photoshoot is ideal. Take my advice: this is not the time for drastic changes. Trust me.

Get a Trim. 

Neat, healthy hair is youthful and vibrant. If it’s been a while since your last haircut, even a subtle trim can make a world of difference.

Deep Condition. 

Your salon can do a professional conditioning treatment, or you can use your favourite deep conditioner or protein pack at home. Toss it on with the gooey facial masque. Wrap your head, turban-style. Wear harem pants and pretend you’re a genie while you’re marinating. Or read a book—your call.

Have a Shower

Shower the morning of your photoshoot so your skin is clean and photo-ready. 

Ensure your shower is not too hot, as hot water can dry out your skin – and this is the last thing you want the day of your photoshoot!

Don’t Wear Any Makeup

You don’t need to worry about doing your makeup yourself before your photoshoot! You will get glammed up when you arrive. 

Come to the photoshoot with a bare face. All you need on your skin is a light moisturiser.

Use a Sheet Mask

To prepare for your photoshoot, use a sheet mask the morning of your shoot. This will give your skin the next level of hydration and leave your skin luminous. 

Leave the sheet mask on for 10-15 minutes for optimal skin glow. This will revive your skin and prepare it for photoshoot makeup.

What is the best thing to wear for a photoshoot?

Bring 5-6 outfits. Your portraits should be a reflection of you, just more polished. Choose companies you love. 

Think of those unique pieces you might not often wear because they’re impractical for day-to-day use or the go-to blouse you always wear when you’re going somewhere nice.

Something Dark.

Bring at least one dark outfit or top. Black, Navy or Charcoal work best here.

Something Light.

 For your skimpy outfit, think angelic. Soft, translucent, maybe even layered and sheer. It doesn’t have to be white; you could go with cream, nude, light pink – whatever.

Something Fun/Funky/Whimsical. 

This outfit is your chance to show your style. If you tend toward more conservative tastes, choose a different adjective. Instead of Funky, try Structured, Soft, Elegant, or Formal.

Something Sexy. 

This one is entirely your call. You could skip sexy, and that’s up to you. 

But if you’d like to, you can be an understated sexy in a backless formal dress or a more overt sexy in a cute pinup-style swimsuit. Beautiful lingerie is lovely and empowering.

Consider Necklines.

I love to be able to see your collarbone, so boat neck, scoop neck, square neck, deep V and off-the-shoulder are my favourite necklines. 

Whatever you choose, try to make it more interesting than the basic T-Shirt neckline. If you love turtlenecks, go for it! 

Feel free to bring whatever calls to you. Mixing up the necklines will add variety to your shots, so try not to get all of one style.

Think Texture. 

Sumptuous textures lend a rich, tactile element to your photos. Delicious.

Avoid Prints.

Patterns and prints are distracting. We want people to look at you when they see your portrait, and even the most beautiful image will steal that attention. 

Fit Your Form. 

Fitted clothing that shows your shape work best for photographs. Skip that billowy, blouson top, or anything with dolman or batwing sleeves. 

While they might be flattering in person, they will not be slimming in camera. This applies to any body type. Choose outfits that will hug your curves, especially your waist, hips, arms, and chest.

Forget Shoes.

Unless you have a particular pair, you’re dying to photograph, and there’s no need to worry about the shoes you’ll wear. Most images won’t show your feet at all, and if some do, bare feet will add an organic feel to your portraits.

The Day-Of Checklist

  • Bare face (wash and apply your usual moisturiser)
  • Clean, dry hair (concise hair should leave it wet)
  • Comfy outfit (to sit in while you’re being styled)
  • 5-6 fitted outfits to wear in photos
  • Pretty nails (Neutral fingers, fun toes)
  • Clean wedding ring
  • Touched up brows
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