The ultimate guide to preparing for your next professional photo session

The ultimate guide to preparing for your next professional photo session

The Beginning | The Search For Your Professional Photographer|

Getting  photos taken by a professional portrait photographer is a fantastic opportunity to step into your power to create beautiful heirloom images.. Many people get a mix of excitement and nervousness about getting their picture taken, but we promise there’s nothing to be nervous about. Preparing for your professional photo session is easy when you follow these simple tips:

Let’s start from the very beginning. You are searching for a professional photographer and asking “where do I even begin?” or “what do I need to know?” As you begin to narrow your search to a handful of your favourite photographers, it’s important to be mindful of your photographer’s style and ensure it matches your vision in addition to some key questions:

Do they offer digital images or prints only? Some photographers operate with a session fee structure – where you pay a sitting fee for their time as artists and purchase additional digital files and prints a la carte after your session, while other photographers will build the cost of prints and digitals into their session fee.

Chelsea and Atlas, Terwillegar Dog Park, Edmonton AB

You’ll want to have a budget in mind. Your typical 60 minute portrait session can range from $25-$10000 for some portrait artists, so it’s important to understand your budget as you begin your research.

Does your photographer have experience with the type of photography you’re looking for? Your photographer might specialize in weddings, but shoot boudoir photography on the side, or they might love nature photography but have no experience with portraits. Artists are the pickiest when it comes to their portfolio, so even if you don’t see much in their public portfolio, it doesn’t hurt to inquire and see if they might be a good match for you anyway!

Pre-Photo Session Preparation

Picking the perfect location.

Location, location, location! It’s important to choose a photo location with charm and personality that matches your own! We believe this world is meant to be explored and captured, so even the “ugliest” of locations can provide the perfect backdrop given the right angles and artistic eye! 

Don’t forget to consider the time of day when picking your location as well. Our favourite light for portraits is the soft, beautiful light that comes just before sunset. But if you’re a morning person – just after sunrise can be lovely as well!

As portrait photographers we always have a backup plan, and you should too. For the most part, we’ll be able to relocate the shoot if there are any issues with weathering or planning. Check the weather the night before if it’s an outdoor shoot, but don’t get too caught up in the details. Sometimes embracing the weather can make for the most magical of photos!

Mathieu and Lea, Rue du Petit Champlain, Quebec

Choose an outfit that speaks to you!

This is probably the most important part of preparing for your session. You want to look and feel your best, so take some time to try on different outfits and find the one that makes you feel amazing. When in doubt, lean into your professional photographer for help with styling and coordinating colour with your location to elevate your photos to the next level!

For us, hair and makeup is always optional.. So if you feel more comfortable with makeup, we recommend getting it professionally done – this will help you feel even more confident in front of the camera, professional hair and makeup artists are artist’s in their own right! A general rule of thumb when doing makeup for the camera is a light foundation application , a little mascara, and some lip balm. Try to avoid going overboard with shimmery eyeshadow and highlight as it doesn’t always translate well on camera.

Sometimes people like to bring props with them to shoots or have something special in their photographs.Communicate with your photographer. Before the shoot, make sure to get on the same page as your photographer. Your photographer is just as eager to execute your vision, so if you have any inspiration photos it’s always good to share (even better if they are from their portfolio!)

A great professional photographer should always be ready to take the reigns if you need some inspiration. Just remember that communication is always key for success!

Maiya, Obsidian Ridge

The Night Before Your Photo Session

Make sure you eat, stay hydrated, and get some rest. 

Professional photography sessions are fun but they can also be exhausting. Make sure to eat beforehand, so you aren’t hangry! Stay hydrated and get a full night’s sleep. We want to make sure you have a good time during the shoot and enjoy your experience. 

Pack the essentials with you. 

It’s better to bring your essentials with you and not need them, rather than the other way around. Pack a small bag with anything you may need to freshen up, grab a snack, etc. Bring whatever you need to have a happy mind and body during your photo shoot! 

Pre-Session Packing List:

  • snacks
  • water bottle
  • extra hair ties
  • makeup bag 
  • comfortable walking shoes
  • hairbrush
  • Sunscreen/bug spray (if applicable)
  • lipchap & lotion
  • lint roller (we recommend a reusable one to reduce waste)
  • outfit you plan to wear
  • belt/accessories
  • back up outfit (just in case)
  • any props you might have in mind 


The Day Of Your Session

Live in the moment, and trust the process. 

Photographers understand that not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera. It’s our job to work with you to document your confident, authentic moments. On the day of your photo session, don’t stress too much about being in front of the camera! The best way to get the most out of your photo session is to live in the moment and trust that we’ve got your back. Making sure to discuss any concerns you have with us ahead of time and we can keep everything running smoothly!

Remember that this is about telling YOUR story, and as professionals we’re here to support you as much as we can. 

Jodhi and Geoff – Cancun, Mexico

Are You Boundless?

At Boundless, we believe in building relationships with our clients that last a lifetime. We understand that this process starts long before the camera shutter clicks. That’s why we always take the time to get to know our clients and their unique stories before starting any project

The best way to get to know our clients is through a consultation. This can be done in person, or virtually if you’re not in the same city as us! We like to use this time to learn about your vision for your project or photo session so we can bring it to life.

From British Columbia and Alberta to anywhere on this beautiful planet we are ready for any challenge and any new adventure. Are you?

We hope this guide was helpful in preparing for your next photo session! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to connect!

Laura and Antony, Quebec

If you’re looking for professional portrait or family photography in Edmonton, Vancouver, or anywhere in the world contact us today at Boundless Photo and Film. We’re here to document your unique stories! You can check out our portfolio here.