How to Prepare for a Portrait Photoshoot

How do you prepare for a portrait photoshoot? Here are the best tips for what you need to do before and the day of your photoshoot to look your best.

A woman walking on the road with a grey coat.

Before a photoshoot

When you’re preparing to get your portraits taken, you need to focus on your face, skin, hair, and clothes. These are important aspects because they make a huge difference in the image.

They’re also the things that people first notice when viewing your portraits, so it’s important to do what you can to make yourself look amazing.

Facial preparation

Your face is the first thing people will see and notice about you. By taking care of your face and doing these steps, you’ll your face will look healthy with or without makeup.

1-week before (Can also be done 3 to 4 days before):

  • Get a facial or do face masks.
  • Clean up eyebrows.
  • Don’t touch any pimples.
  • Whiten your teeth.

Day before:

  • Use a gentle facial cleanser.
  • Moisturize your face.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Drink a lot of water.

Day of:

  • Wash your face.
  • Moisturize your face.
  • Apply makeup, if needed.
  • Drink plenty of water.

Skin preparation

1-week before (Can also be done 3 to 4 days before):

  • Cut your nails or get a manicure.
  • Exfoliate your skin.
  • Moisturize well throughout the week.
  • Exercise

Day before:

  • Moisturize your face.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

Day of:

  • Moisturize your face.
  • Touch up your nails and hands.

Hair preparation

1-week before (Can also be done 3 to 4 days before):

  • Wash and condition your hair.
  • Trim your hair (optional).

Day of:

  • Brush your hair.
  • Don’t wash your hair the day of or the day before.

Preparing your clothes

1-week before (Can also be done 3 to 4 days before):

  • Pick out an outfit.
  • Clean your clothes.

Day before:

  • Separate or hang the clothes you’re going to bring.
  • Double-check for any stains.
  • Iron or steam your clothes.

Day of:

  • Final touch-ups.
  • If you’re bringing multiple outfits, bring hangers.

Note: If you’re doing a couples portrait or engagement photoshoot, clean your ring.

If it’s your first time

If it’s your first portrait photoshoot, just relax and breathe. It can be nervewracking to get your portraits taken and that’s totally normal.

The following are 5 ways to build confidence:

  • Practice posing.
  • Find images to use as inspiration.
  • Be well-rested.
  • Work with your photographer to choose outfits.
  • Own it.

What not to do

Trying new things is great, however, it’s not worth the risk when you’re preparing for a photoshoot. The following are things you should never do before a photoshoot:

  • Try a new haircut.
  • Try new skin products.
  • Eat junk food.
  • Pulling an all-nighter and not getting enough rest.
  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Tanning too much or spending too much time in the sun.


By applying these tips and techniques, you’ll set yourself up for success. Use products that you’d normally use and take care of yourself. This will ensure you look your best.

Featured photo by David Em/David Em Photography.