ok, so. you've booked your session.
 

the day is creeping closer and closer, and you're starting to think "wait a second -- how do i prepare for this thing?" 
 

don't worry. i'm on it.
 

this is a (rather exhaustive) cheat sheet for y'all to reference as your big day approaches. i fully realize that not everyone is so detail-oriented as to find all of these suggestions necessary, and that's totally fine. i also realize there are some (like myself), who crave lists and order and planning. always. for everything. so for y'all, my brothers and sisters in the Type-A universe, this is for you. (and the rest of y'all normal folks - i'd love it if you'd just take a quick skim through here at some point before your big day. you might find something you never thought of!).
 


wardrobe
 

wardrobe is huge, and i could go on and on. but rather than do that, i will simply sum it up like this: we are aiming for classic & stylish, with a pop of something unexpected (that still works with the rest of the outfit, of course). check out my pinterest boards for tons of ideas & inspiration! 
 

ladies

gentlemen

children
 


hair
 

ladies - if you're getting your hair cut for your photos, do so about two weeks prior to your session date. we all hope for that perfect cut every time, but let's face it -- sometimes things go wrong. this allows a little wiggle room for damage control, if necessary. 

men - having your ears lowered a few days before the session is generally fine
 


hair accessories
 

ladies- be prepared to pull your hair up & make it look nice, just in case of a windy day. bring bobby pins, hair clips, elastics, brushes/combs, and maybe even some hairspray. (i've also found that a volumizing dry shampoo can be a real 'do-saver if we're shooting in the wet heat of a Mississippi summer. hair falls flat quickly in those conditions, and a good volumizing dry shampoo can really breathe some life back into it. i like Pantene Pro V Root Reboot Dry Shampoo
 


bloating
 

ok my loves, we all know sometimes there is just nothing to do be done about The Bloat. but there are some things we can do to help keep it to a minimum for our photo session: avoid high salt & high fat foods for 2-3 days prior to your shoot. drink LOTS of water during those same 2-3 days (this will flush your system as well as eliminate any excess water retention {when we get slightly dehydrated, our bodies hold onto moisture which can sometimes cause bloating... i'll spare you the science lesson - just drink your water.}) being bloated will sap your confidence in a hurry, and that will show through in your pictures. 
 


red eyes
 

use visine. and don't get drunk the night before your shoot.

you're welcome.
 


glasses
 

glasses create lots of glare for the camera, and detract from your eyes in photographs. if folks won't recognize you without them, i'd suggest purchasing a cheap similarly-styled pair & popping the lenses out for the shoot. (Amazon.com has tons to choose from - just search "faux glasses. You can get them for just a couple bucks.)
 


breakouts
 

i swear my skin breaks out if i just look at it sideways. if you, like me, have temperamental skin, i'd recommend to begin using African Black Bar Soap a week before your photo shoot. (I also find that the plain old Neutrogena Facial Cleansing bar fixes me right up when things start getting a little bit out of control.)

also, my lovely ladies, i know our natural instinct as women is to run for the cover-up when a giant pimple pops up. that instinct will be ten times stronger when it's the day of your pictures. but please don't cake on the make-up to try to cover it up. it is much easier for me to Photoshop out a pimple than it is for me to correct an overly-enthusiastic make-up application. so fight that urge, girls. trust me. ok?
 


make-up
 

the key word here is SUBTLE. don't wear a ton of additional make-up for your session. after all, you want to look like yourself. and make sure your foundation matches your skin, or else your face will look orange compared to your neck & body. it's more apparent in pictures than in life.
 


facial hair
 

men- a fresh shave, with a new razor, shaving cream, and after-shave (avoid redness and bumps) will prove to be worth the effort in your pictures. be sure to trim up any beards/mustaches/sideburns/etc., pay extra attention for any stray wirey hairs. 

ladies - (especially if you're darker-complected, like me) i'd suggest treating yourself to a wax sometime in the days before your session. even the barely-there-can-hardly-see-it hair will be noticeable in photos. 

both sexes - pluck & clean up those eyebrows! 
 


nails
 

ladies, a fresh coat of polish will be totally worth the effort. chipped & peeling nails can be very distracting in pictures. also, try to choose a neutral shade that won't distract or clash with other outfits in the images. i recommend waiting till the morning of your session for the mani. gentlemen, just make sure they're neatly trimmed and clean.