This blog post will cover how I usually prepare for a pinup/vintage/retro style photo shoot.
If a particular photo shoot has been organised with some lead in time, this is a nice little overview of the things I like to do beforehand to make sure I feel on top of my game on photo shoot day. Regardless of what style shoot you are doing, there are definitely small ways you can feel more confident during your time in front of the camera.
A week before your shoot (& the days leading up)
What style/overall look will you be going for at this shoot? – Cheesecake pinup? Sassy burlesque? Sultry boudoir? Badass rockabilly? Ensure you know exactly what look you are wanting to portray and own it.
It may sound silly, but practice posing in front of a full length mirror and pay special attention to how you place your feet/toes, hands/fingers and keeping that chin up. Smile, pout, change angles, and play around with where you place your hands. By practicing and watching yourself in the mirror you will get a good idea of what works for you and poses that make you feel gorgeous and comfortable.
I find browsing through Pinterest is an awesome (and slightly addictive?) way to get some inspiration for posing, styling and facial expressions. There are tons of cool images that you can add to your own arsenal for later. Watching old films and google images are other awesome sources of inspiration. Just type ‘Pinup’ into the search bar and you are suddenly bombarded with tons of images, posts and other interesting bits and pieces you may find useful.
I like to drink lots of water, exercise, eat tons of fruit/vegetables and take my vitamins each day – its important to make sure you feel healthy and full of energy in the lead up to your shoot. If you feel amazing on the inside, your confidence will shine on the outside. I like to have a nice face mask a week before also, if you break out at least your skin has a few days to recover. Find a good moisturiser for your body (I recommend Lush’s ‘Dream Cream’) and go nuts all over in the lead up so your skin is soft and smooth for your shoot day.
I will usually wash my hair about 5 days before I know I have a shoot so that by the time my shoot day arrives, it’s a tad more grubby and holds whichever hairstyle I’ll be doing much easier.
It’s about this time that I also like to make sure I have things organised like any props I might be holding or using during my shoot including things like fake eyelashes, stockings, petticoats, handbag, shoes, jewellery, gloves and what kind of shape wear I’ll be wearing with my outfit. When you have these bits and pieces ready beforehand, it means less running about and stressing later on. It’s usually a couple of days beforehand that I will go and get my nails done (if they aren’t already done).
Sometimes I have actually found photos with poses that I want to try, so I print them out or save them to my phone to take with me. Sometimes its nice to show the photographer exactly what you’re trying to create so they can get a better idea.
The night before
I like to have a nice relaxing bath or shower to help unwind, paint your nails if you prefer to do them yourself. Set your hair (if curls are what you are going for) and make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep.
The day of
Allow plenty of time to wake up, have a glass of water or a cup of tea/coffee and start your morning. Allow plenty of time to do your hair and makeup if you’re doing this yourself. I like to set my hair (if I didn’t do it the night before), then do my makeup, then style my hair. If I’m wearing an outfit that requires pulling over my head then I usually pop that on first, then finish by styling my hair. Also, make sure you have all the bits and pieces you need in a spare bag to take along with you. I’ve made a list below of a few things that I make sure I take with me:
Checklist for your bag
- water bottle (with a straw – easier on the lipstick)
- hand-held mirror
- lipstick for touch ups
- smoothing brush
- anything else that helps keep you cool, calm and collected (I like to take snacks for after, depending on how long I’ll be).
During your shoot
Relax your shoulders, breathe, and try to relax your mouth/jaw between shots. If you are really nervous then take someone with you if you need some extra support, especially if its your first photo shoot. Most photographers are totally fine with this as they want their client to feel calm and relaxed.
Keep your toes pointed, and your hands dainty and soft with relaxed fingers. It can be incredibly hard when you are in front of a camera, and trying to remember these different things you are ‘supposed’ to be doing with your body. At the end of the day, just have lots of fun and remember to ask for some direction if you are feeling nervous. If you aren’t sure about something just ask, the only silly question is the one you keep to yourself.
After your shoot
Once you receive your images have a good look through them and work out what you love and what you think you could possibly work on. I’ve got tons of images that I look at and know exactly what I would change next time. Learn from each photo shoot and turn something you may not be happy about into a positive for next time. Soon enough, it will become second nature and you’ll be pro. Practice makes perfect.
I really want to know what rituals you do before a photo shoot – let me know in the comments below.