Photo shoot 101

Whether you are looking to freshen up your website like I was, gearing up for back-to-school photos or professional headshots, the rule is generally the same: keep it classic.

You want these photos to stand the test of time. Resist the urge to wear or do something too trendy. Keeping it simple and classic will pay off in the long run.

For example, take a look at these photos I had done when I first got into the business after college. I may look a little more mature now and they are several years old, but they still hold up.

Keep the hairstyle, makeup and clothes simple — and most importantly: representative of who you are. Wear solid colors and colors that compliment your eye color, hair color and skin tone. Bring a few options to test as well. A look you love may not translate on camera.

And make sure the type of photos you are getting will reflect the vibe you are going for. For example, the photos above were for a more commercial look and my professional headshot. But the photos below are more business-like and taken to represent me as a sports reporter and professional in the sports media business.

But maybe you are going for something more fun like I was in this last shoot. I wanted these photos to freshen up my website, show me in a more fun environment and show off my affiliation to the golf world. In the entertainment business, we call these lifestyle photos and are much like your adult version of “high school senior pictures.”

Lifestyle photos can come in handy, especially if you are trying to show off your personality. And lets face it, they are more fun to shoot!

Each shoot you do also serves as a learning experience. I’ve been doing photo shoots now for more than six years and I learn something about my look each time. Not to mention, our bodies fluctuate day-to-day and we may feel or look slightly different each time we shoot. For example, this shoot happened after I was coming off a road trip, where I was trying all types of foods, not really watching my diet and hadn’t yet had a chance to sort of detox from my trip. No I didn’t feel my “skinniest” but it doesn’t matter. Keep in mind, the camera picks up your attitude and your smile — no one will notice the rest if you just be yourself and have fun.

Remember: this isn’t a fitness shoot, no one will see your abs. But if you’d like to detox before your shoot or keep a close eye on your diet and fitness leading up to it, it’s never a bad idea. Just remember to have fun!

Two things that stuck out to me after this shoot that were also great learning experiences:

  1. Don’t dye your hair just a day or two leading up to the shoot. I suggest doing it the week before. Yes, you want to have fresh color and want to cover up those roots — but too fresh is definitely a thing. I had just gotten my hair done two days before the shoot and it was much too light. We were fighting how bright my hair was when we pulled it back for the ponytail shots on the golf course.
  2. Sweaters are tricky. Yes, the white turtle neck/sleeveless sweater I wore is a timeless clothing option for the lifestyle shoot. I loved how the sweater came across in the tighter/closeup shots. But sweaters can also be bulky. In the full-body shots, we had a hard time preventing the sweater from looking bulky — especially in the mid-section. Just remember that if they are thick, sweaters can make you look a size or two bigger.

The photographer I worked with in all these shoots above — Elizabeth Wiseman — also has some great tips on her website for model testing shoots. Elizabeth is great and if you are ever in the St. Louis area and in need of a photographer — I highly recommend giving her a call.

Her main motto while shooting: have fun. That is what it’s all about and it will translate in your photos. Whether you need to play music, tell funny jokes or bring a friend along that will make you laugh — whatever will get you in the mood and having a great time. Say cheese!


About Teryn Gregson

Teryn Gregson (formerly Schaefer) is an award-winning journalist, golf presenter, on-camera host, wife and blogger. Connecting with golf fans world-wide, Teryn is best known for her role as a broadcaster for the PGA TOUR.