How to Find Your Inner Courage (aka how to prepare for your photoshoot)

So, you’re thinking about booking a professional portrait session, but feel a bit nervous. Or you’ve already made a booking and now you’re wondering how to make the most of it. “How should I prepare?” “What will help me feel less nervous?” “How can I look my best in the photos?”

In this blog post I’m gonna let you in on a few secrets and practical tips on how to prepare and feel the most confident on your photoshoot!

Let’s start here:

You’ve found a photographer whose work you love and admire, right? You’ve read some great reviews and booked your session. Woop! You’ve already gotten over the biggest hurdle! So many don’t book a session because they think they have to a clear plan of what they want. Here’s the first secret: 

Secret #1. You don’t have to have it all figured out beforehand.

That’s why you hired a professional photographer! To help you by asking the right questions and then together you’ll uncover what sort of images, mood or setting you’d like for your photoshoot.

Once you’ve booked your session, check in with your expectations and communicate them to your photographer. 

Secret #2. Managing expectations determines our happiness.

The more you can identify your own expectations, the better you can communicate them to your photographer. Your photographer will be able to guide you on what is possible and together you can make a realistic plan that you both feel good about. 

Tip! Imagine seeing your ready photos for the first time. What is it that you’re seeing? What is it about them that makes you happy? Is it the feel, colour or mood or is there a particular pose you’d like to capture? 

Also, communicate potential fears and insecurities.

Be honest. I always like to ask the person I’m photographing if there’s something they really hope isn’t going to happen during their photoshoot. 

Just the act of speaking out your hesitations will lighten your worries considerably. Also, your photographer will be much better equipped to meet you where you’re at if they are aware of your fears or insecurities.

Tip! Information is power. For many of us, going into an unfamiliar situation, knowing what is going to happen and when, will help us relax. A professional photographer will prepare you in advance what to expect from the session. If you still feel uneasy, reach out! Your photographer wants to help you feel as comfortable and confident as possible during your photoshoot!

Secret #3. The ultimate key to a successful photoshoot is presence.

If you can arrive at your photoshoot without being overly stressed,  you’ve already won. Big time. 

Think of it like this: your photoshoot experience starts way before you arrive at the location. You want to make the whole experience as uplifting as possible. Because how you felt during your photoshoot will impact how you feel about your photos. If you came to the photoshoot stressed or were uncomfortable in your clothes during your shoot, that’s going to impact how you view your photos later. And vice versa. 

Ultimately the best tip I can give you is to find a way to be present in the moment. Take a deep breathe, get out of your own head, trust and enjoy the ride. Presence & trust will make such an impactful difference to your images! 

Tip! Have fun. Remember to not take it too seriously! A photoshoot is supposed to be fun, right?

Here’s a list of more practical tips to help you arrive stress-free and confident to your photo session:

  • Get your outfit together ahead of time. I’d strongly advise not to leave this to the last minute. You want to make sure you have time to wash and iron your items, choose fitting underwear and accessories that go with your outfit. If you’ve booked a longer photo session (2-3 hours) plan 3-4 different outfits.
  • Choose an outfit that makes you feel good. The better you feel, the more confidence you’ll exude! On a more practical level, think about your location, the more your outfit compliments your intended background the better. For example clothes in shades of blue are the perfect compliment to orange; golden hour hues, autumn leaves… For further inspo try studying the colour wheel or search for “colour palette outfit ideas” or check out my
  • Plan enough time for getting yourself ready. There’s nothing worse than feeling you have to get ready in a hurry. I find that if I’m running tight on time I’m bound to mess something up which makes me even more stressed. So give yourself a little extra time for self-care and all the little things.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Ok, so I know that this is to some degree out of your control (I have toddlers). But what I can control is late night scrolling or binge-watching Bridgerton on Netflix.
  • Some thoughts on hair & makeup. We all have our own preferences, but I think a good rule of thumb is to stick with the tried and true. In other words, this is not the time to experiment. That said, here are some things for you to consider in no particular order: 
    • If you have to choose to invest in one over the other, choose your hairstyle (you’re always gonna pick the image where your hair looks good)! 
    • Makeup tends to look lighter in photos than in real life, so you might want to add a little more than you usually do. 
    • Falsies make your eyes stand out in a beautiful way without looking unnatural (see previous point).
  • Give your nails some love. Whether that is applying nail polish you love or just ensuring your nails are clean and photo-ready.

Bonus! What to bring to your photo session? Here’s a list of things that you might want to add to your bag when heading out to your photoshoot:

  • a water bottle
  • a snack (if you have a longer session)
  • small mirror
  • your favourite Spotify playlist 
  • extra bobby pins or hair ties 
  • makeup bag for touch-ups 
  • accessories like a scarf or jacket that you can easily pop on or off

Hope you found some useful tips to help you show up courageously and with confidence to your photo session!


Still looking for a photographer? I’m based in Kokkola, Finland and travel around the country to do portrait and personal branding photography. Come say hello to me on Instagram or send me a message and tell me how I could help you!

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