5 Tips to Reduce Photo Shoot Stress

5 Tips to Reduce Photo Shoot Stress

Blog photography

Does the thought of a photo shoot make you cringe and want to hide? I know it can be a daunting task. But trust me, if you follow these tips it will be much easier and you might actually enjoy the process. It’s time to take a leap, and have your photos professionally done. You’ll be so glad you did. Let’s get going and talk about how you can manage the process and take the stress out of your photo shoot.


The key to a successful photo shoot is all in the planning. There are a lot of details to consider and organize. The sooner you have all of the details laid out, the easier it will be. Nobody wants to be worried about what they are going to wear the day before a shoot. I love to use Pinterest to help with my planning. I make private boards with outfits I love, location inspiration and celebrities that always look camera ready. I look at how they pose, their clothing and the general feel of the photograph. Pinterest boards are great to share with anyone involved with your photo shoot. Share with your photographer, makeup artist, stylist…

Make a List (or two)

I am a big list maker. I use Evernote because it helps me stay organized and I can access my lists on all devices. I am never without a list. But, use what makes you comfortable. If you make a list with good old fashioned pencil and paper, good for you. If you like to use Notes on your phone, that works too. I highly suggest that if you are a paper note taker, when you are finished with the list, take a photo of it. Lists can get lost, and you don’t want to stress about that. You have enough to worry about. Here are some lists I make for photo shoots;

  • Locations
  • Outfits
  • Schedule for the day
  • Playlist
  • Props
  • Types of photos
  • Mood of photos

If you are having photos taken for your website or to use on social media, consider shooting in multiple locations. You don’t want all of your photos to look the same. Also choose multiple outfits. This includes jewerly. Mix it up, especially if you are wearing statement necklaces. I shot quite a few in my house, moving furniture around to get the right light and vignettes. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. When the lighting was right, we went outside to shoot. For my most recent shoot, besides my house, we went to the beach, Downtown district and a park. Have fun with locations. Look around your town. Go down streets that you never travel. You might be surprised when you find some hidden gems. It could be as simple as a great brick wall with ivy, an old barn with weathered wood, an historic courthouse or library…

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

It’s important that you are in the right mood for your photo shoot. That’s where music can help. Make a playlist that you can use when on location. For me, I use Pandora. When I was home prepping for my shoot, I listened to an 80’s Rock station that plays lots of Guns ‘n Roses and Bon Jovi. I also really love Adele, especially Rolling in the Deep and Hello. Not sure why, but as soon as I hear her raspy, deep voice, I am instantly singing along and in a great mood.


The most important decision you will make is your choice of photographer. You should connect with her and have confidence that she will help you through the process. Your photographer should understand what your goals are for the photo shoot. Are you looking for horizontal website images? Full body shots? Lifestyle/action images? What is the feel of your brand? Do you want to come across as strong yet approachable? Or are you playful and casual?

For the day of my shoot, I printed out a few pages and put them on a clipboard. This was to help us stay on point and not forget anything. My clipboard list included a few possible logos, my brand colors, details about my brand, location ideas, ideas for props, photos I needed and the moods I needed to express.

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

An added benefit of communicating with your photographer is that you will feel less stress on the day of the shoot. I don’t have a great track record with photo shoots and I’m not exactly excited about being in front of the camera. I’d much rather direct clients that are in front of the camera. My last professional photo shoot was four years ago. There was little to no planning involved other than what I was going to wear. The photographer showed up, I was dressed and ready to go. One of our last stops was a nature center. The photographer was directing me where to stand. I kept moving and eventually stepped into a bees nest! I was stung dozens of times and ended up at an urgent care. I had sprained my ankle and the doctor was concerned that I could now be allergic to bees since I was stung so many times. For two years I carried an epi-pen, just in case. The visual was straight out of an ’80’s cartoon where a character is being chased by bees and ends up running into a lake.

My recent photo shoot was, thankfully, not as eventful. Although I did end up with a frog in my house. After a super long day of shooting, I was taking off all the makeup. I looked to the right of my sink and saw a frog plastered against the backsplash! I guess it’s better than bees.

Back to communication. With all of the pre-planning that my amazing photographer provided, I was not even a little stressed. I felt completely at ease. In fact, the morning of the shoot, I even had time to go to the gym. I’d highly recommend you consider using Heidi Hapanowicz for your next photo shoot. When you buy one of her packages she gives you Personal Branding Photography Course, a $499. bonus for free. It is pure gold! In this webinar series she teaches you how to;

  • Define your brand
  • Choose locations
  • Find flattering outfits
  • Pose
  • Understand your body language
  • And so much more!

Can’t travel to your shoot? Don’t worry! Heidi does the traveling for you. On her schedule this year, she will shoot in Miami, NYC, Greece, Paris, Italy, Cannes/Nice, London and Chicago!

[I am not an affiliate. I do not benefit in any way if you purchase a photo shoot with Heidi]


Pick a location in your house where you can lay out all of your clothing, shoes, accessories and props. I ordered a garment rack so I could have all of my outfits clearly organized and ready to go. You can get them for around $24.00 here.

Before my photo shoot, I was easily able to line up all of my items, make sure they were pressed and make sure that I had all needed accessories. Looking at everything nicely organized makes it easy to see if something is missing.

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

If your brand colors are grey, navy and green, you probably don’t want to have your photo taken wearing purple or orange.

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

Take a Deep Breath

If you are stressed it will show in your images. Remember throughout the process to take a deep breath. Sometimes it helps to just look up at the amazing sky and to think about all the things you are thankful for. It also helps to think about something funny. Lighten the mood a bit and have a great time.

Remember that social media and your online presence should reflect the real you. Not a made-up, fantasy you. If you want to connect with people on a personal level, build their trust and eventually work together, you need to be real and show your personality. People like genuine, down-to-earth, likeable people. Be you, not somebody else.

Bonus: Read this for more helpful tips on having a great profile image and why it matters.

When was the last time you had your photos taken for business? Tell me what it was like. Where you happy with the final images and the process? What could have been better and why? Lastly, if you loved your photographer, let me know. I’m always happy to meet people that are great at what they do.

Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Your Profile Image: Tips for Success

Your Profile Image: Tips for Success

Blog photography social media

Last week I wrote about how to get started with LinkedIn. One of the action items was to have a professional photo for your profile image. You are not a cartoon, a three year old child or a pet. I can’t tell you how many times I have clicked on a profile, received a request or noticed in comments, a profile image that is not professional. Do you really want prospective employers or clients to view you as a cartoon? How about with a drink in hand? I recently received a LinkedIn request from an education professional. I was shocked to see that he was in a t-shirt and holding a beer surrounded by many other party friends. I’m positive I would not hire this person to be an educational advocate for my child. Would you?

I suggest establishing your “brand” using an image that is;

  1. A current photo of you and only you
  2. Professional
  3. Headshot from your shoulders up
  4. You wearing clothing that sets the right tone for your business and credibility
  5. High resolution

I know you are probably saying, “but I don’t like to have my picture taken” or “is it really that important?” The answers are simple.

They will look at your image and judge your credibility, your likability and decide if they might want to work with you. Now that I’ve said that, do you think it’s important?

When I first began working in social media I did not have a professional image. Everyone I was in groups with, took classes with and met in person all had professional images on their social media pages, website and sometimes business cards. I can easily say that it sets a tone. It establishes them as serious about their profession and serious about their image (or branding). I can’t believe I am going to share this with you, but for the sake of making a point, here are my before and after profile images. As you can tell, the first image was taken at an event. In the original image, I was sitting with my son. He is cropped out. The resolution is awful. It is simply not professional.

Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social | Brand Concierge | Professional Photos

Just a few months ago I invested, yes I said invested, in professional images. I strongly believe you get what you pay for. Hire a seasoned pro. Do not hire your neighbors high schooler that happens to be taking a photography class. A professional photographer will consider your background, posture, clothing colors, makeup, hair and so much more. When I had my photos taken, Debbie of Art+Life Photography worked to position me so that my shoulders didn’t appear too broad. She also reminded me to put my chin down a bit and lead with my forehead. What the heck is that? I had never heard of that before. But, when she showed me the difference I was amazed.

Pro Image | Sonja Pound | Gramercy SocialWardrobe Tips

Choose colors that you look good in, but take into consideration your brand colors. Here’s what I mean by that.  If you look great in purple, but your logo and website/social media branding is turquoise, purple is probably not the best idea.

 I also suggest that you do not wear white. It tends to wash out skin tones and make people look “flat”. If you wear glasses, ask your photographer if they suggest you have the lenses removed for the session. Sometimes glasses create a glare and also make it more difficult to edit/touch up your eye area.


A great photographer will be able to work with your image. You do not want to look plastic or too photoshopped, so be careful. However, if you have a blemish on photo shoot day, don’t panic. Your photographer will be able to easily erase. When applying makeup for your photo shoot, use just slightly more than you would on a normal day. Think Jennifer Aniston in the Aveeno commercials, not Peg Bundy in Married with Children. Another easy fix using Photoshop Actions is to add color to lips, cheeks, erase dark circles, add more mascara and soften any shiny areas.

Bonus Tips

You are probably spending a decent amount of money on your images. While you are on location, ask your photographer to;

  • Take some background images. These could come in handy when updating your website or creating cover images for social media.
  • Take some lifestyle images of you walking, sitting, on iPad or other device, meeting with a “client”…
  • Take some images of you in horizontal (landscape) orientation. Think Facebook, Twitter and Youtube cover images. You can only stretch a vertical (portrait) image so far.

Be sure to keep reading my blog. In a few weeks I’ll tell you all about my comedy of errors when having recent photos taken. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experience having professional profile images taken. Do you have any tips and tricks of your own to pass along? Post them in the comments below.

For more information on your professional profile image and LinkedIn, go here.

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.