Planning a portrait photoshoot
So you've decided it's time to get some photos shot professionally. To really get the best out of a portrait photography package, there are a few questions to ask yourself and the photographer before you start. Obviously, we'd love you to choose GCPhoto for your portrait photoshoot, but these tips and ideas are relevant for a portrait photography with any photographer.
• What type of photoshoot is suitable?
There are several different types of portrait photography packages including candid portraiture, location photoshoots and studio photoshoots. Do you want your portrait photoshoot to be at home or somewhere special to you? Or maybe in the studio? A home or location shoot with a visible background is a different style to a studio shoot with a bright white background. For a candid shoot in which the photographer catches 'natural' moments rather than posed photographs, particularly if there are children involved, at home or on location is usually the best option. For the sharpest, highest quality shots, then a studio photoshoot is recommended.
• Choosing your photographer
First of all, is your photographer a professional? Check that they have a website, they are a registered business and that you like their photographs.
As well as liking their style, your photographer should be courteous and reliable - you don't want them letting you down at the last minute or making your photoshoot a miserable experience. And do they have experience in the type of portraiture that you're after? For example, newborn baby photography can be a bit of a challenge for the unitiated, so if you're doing a once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot, make sure that the photographer has the right experience!
Price is also an issue. The cost for a particular photographer varies hugely from completely free to thousands of dollars for a photoshoot. However, you get what you pay for! A professional photographer with a good reputation is not going to offer their services for free, or even cheaply, so keep this in mind when searching for a photographer. It is usually better to pay the same price for a shorter photoshoot or fewer photographs with an experienced portrait photographer than a longer shoot with dozens of mediocre images from an inexperienced photographer.
• What style of photoshoot is best?
Mostly, this is simply preference, but a good photographer should be able to shoot in any style that you prefer. Maybe you'd prefer black and white portrait photography, which suits many people and really emphasises character. A brighter, more colourful style may suit children better while a dark, moody photograph with dramatic lighting flatters middle-aged men very well. For the older folk, do you want to hide your wrinkles or show them off proudly? It's important that the photographer knows your preferred style before the shoot as the lighting and even the time of day will depend on the type of image you'd like.
• Do you need professional hair and make-up?
A professional hair and make-up artist (or HMUA) is an optional extra for most GCPhoto portrait photography packages. For children and for many candid photoshoots, professionally done hair and make-up might not be necessary but for a studio portrait photoshoot of adults, it's well worth considering. A professional HMUA can make you look amazing and will guide you on what will work best with your style and for the photoshoot. Ideally, the HMUA should give you your makeover immediately before the photoshoot and preferably remain on site for any touch-ups or adjustments. Here at GCPhoto, we use a number of different professional HMUAs that we work with closely before and during the photoshoot to get the very best results.
• Do I need to be beautiful for a portrait photoshoot?
No! Not everyone has model looks but everyone has personality and a story, which is much more attractive than flawless teeth! A good portrait photographer will bring out anyone's best side. If you are particularly self-conscious about a particular feature, let the photographer know (don't be embarassed - they've seen it all before) because it's often possible to hide or minimise your least favourite bit. However, your features make up part of who you are and show your character so don't feel like you need to hide anything!
• Do I need to know how to pose?
No, the photographer will be able to guide you through how to position yourself. Most of the work is done by the photographer and where they position themselves while they shoot.
• What do I wear to a photoshoot?
This question gets asked so often that it has its own page... What to wear to your photoshoot.
• Things to ask the photographer
Before you book a portrait photoshoot package, make sure you ask the photographer these questions...
• Are you a professional photographer?
• Do you have a website and portolio?
• Do you have experience in portrait photography?
• Are you insured?
• Things to tell the photographer
It's important that the photographer knows what you're after before you discuss the best option for you, so make sure you tell the photographer...
• The type of portrait photoshoot - e.g. newborn, a family portrait, couple's engagement, or you on your own.
• The style of photoshoot - e.g. studio photoshoot, a family photoshoot at the beach, black and white or colour.
• The location of the photoshoot - at home, on location (for example, the beach) or at the photographer's studio.
• The number of images you'd like. Some photographers will offer you hundreds of photos while others (usually the professional ones) will offer far fewer images but of much higher quality.
• Your budget. If you let the photographer know your preferred budget, they can often advise about the most cost-effective photography package for your budget. Also, if your budget doesn't match the photographer's prices, then it's best to know straight away.
• Whether or not you'd like professional hair and make-up.
• Whether you want JPEG images or printed copies.
• Any other requirements - for example, you might want to buy a photography package as a gift and we'll supply a gift certificate.
Although getting a portrait photoshoot done professionally might seem daunting, it's very easy and here at GCPhoto we're very experienced at organising portrait photography sessions so we can guide you every step of the way! Drop us a line and we can get your photoshoot organised!