I can't count how many times a client has told me "I hate having my photo taken" or "I'm not photogenic at all!" In fact, my client Altagracia (above) told me that! But doesn't she look amazing? 

1. How you look in photos depends on how you feel.

If you're having a shoot here are some suggestions for the day or week before:

  1. Drink a TON of water
  2. Eat healthy whole foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  3. Try to drink little to no alcohol
  4. Sleep

Because if you're feeling spread-thin and exhausted it will show. No amount of Photoshop can fix that! If smiling feels fake then don't smile. If your arms feel in an awkward position then move them to where they feel comfortable. It’s that simple.

2. The best photos are of you doing what you do

An environmental portrait is more than just a head shot on a gray background. It's about the setting. It's you in your space with things you love and that's what makes the photo interesting.

It's important to have your things ready and your environment the way you like it.

If you're being shot at your desk then clean your computer and monitor, your phone, anything that might be in the shot. If you're a chef have food prepped and ready with your cooking tools at hand.

Once you have the area setup take a step back and look to see if anything odd is sticking out or if it looks too cluttered. Think about what you don't want to be shown in your photos. Look at the floor, walls and ceiling.

3. What makes an interesting photo?

Sometimes it's the person’s hands, not their face that tells the story. Or it could be a coffee cup on a messy desk, shop owners laughing together while working ...

It is these sweet and simple moments that connect us to one another and connect you with your clients and customers.

4. What to wear?

One of my favorite stories is about my client Kate (below). She was not excited about having her photo taken and she was nervous. Part of her anxiety was that she had no idea what to wear?

So I asked her what do you feel most comfortable in? She said, my dirty beat-up overalls. Once she put them on she immediately felt 100% more comfortable. Which made her look happy and at ease in the photos.

The other bonus was the juxtaposition of her in beat-up work overalls against the eclectic aesthetic of her house. It gave the photos another layer of texture that I simply loved.

I say, wear something comfortable, something that is YOU. Because if you're wearing clothes that don't make you feel good it will show. 

5. Makeup + Hair?

Again, this comes down to how you feel. If having someone do your hair and makeup makes you feel good then go for it!  Just don't go overboard with the makeup. Soft and natural will translate better than heavy and stiff.

I know how daunting a shoot can feel when "all eyes are on you" so I hope these tips help you feel more at ease and prepared. The bottom line is this: if you try to have fun instead of dreading it, it will show.

And if you're still totally freaked out then have a glass of champagne during your shoot!