Above all else, a photo shoot should be about you. It should make you feel good, by making you look good, even if you are just updating your professional portfolio. I've heard all too often that photo shoots are stressful, from first timers, and professionals alike. I would much prefer to hear that you:
found a stunning location without issue;
were confident about how you looked in your outfits; and
were excited to start shooting after a relaxing morning pampering yourself, listening to tunes, taking hundreds of selfies and sipping on champagne.
Here are my tips and tricks which I hope will help you achieve the above, and stop you from putting off a shoot with Sekushi Studios any longer.
Things to do before your shoot
Choose a Location
Booking the location should be one of the first things you think about. Other than you, the background is the other dominant features in a photo, so choosing the perfect location is important. For this reason, I've spent plenty of time with my clients to help them choose the perfect locations.
Many of my clients book hotel rooms. In my experience, the booking process can be more tedious, but it may also be worth looking at Airbnb and Stayz, although many properties have unworkable minimum stay requirements. Here are a few of my tips:
Look on hotel websites for photos of the rooms to get an idea of what the rooms look like. Something spacious, with big windows, white walls, colourful features and plenty of natural light works best for my style of photography.
Booking a hotel well in advance usually avoids last minute price hikes and gives you a greater range of choice.
You don't necessarily want to book a hotel room for the same day as your shoot. So for example, if you've booked a shoot on a Saturday afternoon, you should book a hotel room for Saturday night, as you will be able to shoot after check-in which is usually from 2.00pm. But if you've booked a shoot for a Saturday morning, you should book a hotel room for the Friday night and shoot before check-out on the Saturday morning. If you need to shoot at 12pm on a Saturday, you should book a hotel room for both Friday and Saturday night.
Most hotels will not normally guarantee an early check-in, although it is possible to arrange a late check-out, usually at extra charge.
A shoot is the perfect excuse to spoil yourself with some new sexy lingerie, hosiery, shoes and jewellery.
If you've never shopped for lingerie before, here's a great guide on choosing the right lingerie for your body type. Recruit a friend to shop with you or ask retail staff for help with picking outfits. If you're confident in how you look in your outfit, that confidence will show in your photos.
Black and white are pretty popular colour choices, so don't be afraid to stand out with something a little bolder or brighter. Avoid colours similar to your skin, as your outfit may blend in.
Keep an eye out for lingerie sets with 'cheekier' tanga or thong bottoms, which are essential if you want the very best photos of your tush.
If you plan on wearing tights, avoid stay-ups (with the sticky lace tops), especially if your lingerie has a garter belt. Stay-ups are almost almost impossible to hook onto garter belts, leave imprints on your skin and they tend to create muffin tops on most thighs. Instead look for thigh-highs made to be worn with a garter belts, which tend to be harder to find and a little more expensive. Buy a couple pairs in different colours if you can, in case one tears on the day. When putting on your lovely new tights, avoid pulling them, scrunch them up and gently roll them up your leg, inch by inch.
Killer pumps are a must. The higher the heel, the longer your legs will look and the more plump your bottom will appear. Look for shoes with a stiletto heel, rather than wedges. Nude and black are safe colour options that will match any lingerie.
Simple jewellery will add a touch of elegance to your photos. You don't have to buy real gold or diamonds, as you won't be able to tell the difference in your photos.
Depending on the style of your shoot, think about buying props like toys, whips or handcuffs. The possibilities are limitless.
If you have a particular idea for your shoot, we can also discuss colours and styles before you shop.
What comes first?
Its a bit of a chicken before the egg conundrum, but your ideas on the style of your shoot, including what to wear, what props to incorporate, and your hair and make up style, might help with picking a location, while at other times a great location may help develop your ideas about the style of your shoot. Its not easy, so if you need help, talk to me.
Take good care of yourself
A few weeks or days before your shoot book yourself in for colour, facial, spa, wax, and mani-pedi appointments.
Book hair and make up artists (HMUA) a few hours before the shoot
I love the magic that HMUAs are responsible for and my preference would be for all my clients to have their hair and make up done by a professional, if their budgets allow, regardless of whether they choose to have their face blurred. This is because strong eye make up, fake lashes, cheek contouring and lipstick show through the face blur, and accentuate your feminine features. Definitely ask for fake lashes. My wife describes fake lashes are 'Instant Pretty' and I wholeheartedly agree.
Book your HMU appointment 2-3 hours before your shoot. This will ensure your artist has plenty of time to get to you and do their very best job without feeling like they're racing the clock. It will also give you plenty of time to relax and admire how amazing you look before the shoot begins, which should also help settle any nerves.
Its perfectly normal to be nervous, and fairly common too. I won't pretend to understand, having never posed half naked in front of a stranger with a camera before, but I can appreciate how any insecurities you might have, could be pretty exposed. What I can say is that I'm one of those idealists who thinks everyone is beautiful in their own way, has their own unique features that others are envious of, and I actively look for and emphasise those features. With that said I generally think that nerves can be minimised essentially by being prepared.
Many photoshoot virgins fear being unable to pose. That shouldn't be your concern, rather it is mine, and I'm pretty good at posing models. I'm also great at giving directions, giving assurance and I will always ask permission to physically move you into position if I feel it is necessary. But if you're still worried, the best thing to do is to practice. Look at some images of lingerie or swimsuit models and practice recreating the poses you see in front of a mirror. When you're finished, be sure to send the reference images to me, because I will be able to give you photos you love, by seeing what you liked in those photos.
If you minimise your stress by organising things early, and leaving plenty of time on the day of your shoot for travel, hair and make up and checking in, you will minimise your nerves.
Be prepared for a work out. As glamorous as a photo shoot might look, it's hard work. It will test your balance, abs, and legs, and while you may feel stretched out to the limit, the aim of certain poses is to accentuate your feminine curves by pushing out certain body parts as far as they'll go. Also don't worry about huffing or puffing or complaining or asking for a break on the day. I have yet to have a client complain more than my fiancee and well... I'm marrying her.
Bring wine, champagne, and music. I have a good playlist, but you may feel more comfortable with your own selections.
Bring a friend if you're really, really nervous. The only qualification is try not too get distracted by them.
Other random tips
Keep sunrise and sunset times in mind, which are easy to find on Google. In winter, and with daylight savings, it can be dark as early as 6pm and if you want photos with natural light, it can be a race to get enough photos before the fading light disappears.
Pack your bag the day before. This will give you plenty of time to remember if you've forgotten something.
Bring everything, but especially spare hosiery incase you rip a pair. I've also seen garter belt hooks come off, so if you really want a three piece lingerie set in your photos, I'd recommend having a backup set. Pack as many other outfits as you like, which will give us plenty to choose from on the day. Pack a couple of pairs of heels too. I've had clients pack pillows and blankets, and other home decor to spruce up their location. Pack any other props which might help communicate the style of your shoot.
Remove all labels from lingerie, especially sets with mesh.
Check and clean the bottoms of your shoes if necessary. If you have Louboutins, you can get the soles repainted.
On the day
With most of the preparation out of the way, there won't be much to worry about on the day other than to:
The majority of my clients are late to shoots. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes to one hour before your shoot. If you arrive early, you can grab a coffee and relax. If you're running late, you might feel stressed and anxious.
Continue to take good care of yourself. The day before your shoot drink plenty of water, moisturise and get plenty of rest to ensure your skin is glowing.
Wear loose clothing rather than tight bras, socks, jeans, and anything else which could leave an imprint on your skin.
A lot of my clients like to lay out all of their outfits on the bed. As we will likely be shooting on and around the bed, it would be better to hang them up in the wardrobe or lay them out on the bathroom counter.
Turn on some music, admire yourself and pop open that champagne.
Bear in mind that during the shoot, if I ask you to move, I mean inches and millimetres, rather than full turns or backflips.
After the shoot
Seeing as though you are already looking hot AF, you might as well make plans to catch up with friends or go out and celebrate a job well done!