Editorial Photo Shoot

Preparing for your editorial photo shoot

In Marketing Photography by Allen Butler

Arizona Editorial Photo ShootThe Editorial Photo Shoot

As the lead photographer for LiveWell Magazine, I frequently go on an editorial photo shoot where the subject is a bit nervous about having their photo taken, and are unsure how to handle all the excitement. Getting your picture taken shouldn’t be stressful. The good news is that you’re dealing with a professional photographer whose job it is to make you comfortable, and look relaxed. We’ll guide you through the entire session, with a careful eye towards capturing the essence of YOU, and what makes your story interesting. To make preparing for your portrait session a little less stressful, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations that can help you get comfortable with the idea, and get the most out of your editorial photo shoot. Keep in mind that these recommendations are simply that, recommendations. Feel free to fully incorporate your own unique style and flavor. If you are unsure about anything, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.


One of the first things you can do is find a way to relax yourself on the day of the editorial photo shoot. Don’t spend too much time thinking about how it’s going to happen. Distraction is your friend here. Watch some TV, read a book, do meditation, gardening, or chores around the house.

Take consideration for the times of day that you know you feel your best. If it takes a few cups of coffee, a little exercise or stretching, a healthy breakfast, and an hour or more to select outfits, do hair, makeup, and put on the final touches, then schedule with your photographer accordingly. Select the time of day that works best for you.

You’ll likely have a handful of people from the magazine or newspaper in your personal space, but remember, they’re not regular house guests, and they won’t be there long. You don’t need to entertain them or anything like that. They’re there to do a job, do it quickly, and without interrupting your life too much. Often the writer, an art director, or editor will accompany the photographer to the location, and they’ll look for a nice location in your home or office to take the editorial photo, in a way that highlights the story they’re writing about.

The Night Before

Try to get a great night’s sleep. Pamper yourself a little bit. You might take a relaxing bath, have a glass of wine, or a soothing cup of chamomile tea. A well-rested body translates into a radiant face, so don’t stay up too late, especially if you’ve scheduled an early morning session. When you feel good, you look good (and vise versa).

Take a little time to identify locations in your home or office that are nicely staged, or have a nice background. You’ll most likely be Arizona Editorial Photo Shootstanding or sitting for the photo, so take a look around and see what looks nice. It could be outside in your garden, or maybe in the den, or standing in the kitchen.  When the magazine staff arrive, just let them know that you’ve identified a few places around the house or office that you think might work well.

Chances are, you’ll also be interviewed by a staff writer for the piece, and you’ll need a comfortable place to sit for about 15 minutes while the interview is conducted. The kitchen table, or living room sofa will probably work fine.  Try not to give too much attention before hand to what you would like to say.  A good interviewer will make you comfortable and relaxed, like an old friend whom you haven’t seen in awhile, whose “catching up”.

Clothing, Hair, Makeup

While most photographers would advise against wearing prints and patterns, they can work. The trick is to not overdo it. Anything that will distract the viewer’s attention away from the face should be avoided. Solid colors that compliment your skin tone are always the best option.  Clothing that is layered can look great. During the summer months this may be difficult, but layering can also be done with accessories such as a vest, belt, or scarf. Be sure to choose clothing that is comfortable and fits properly.

A stylist or makeup artist is generally not going to be provided for an editorial photo shoot, so do a final check of hair and make up before your session, looking for flyaway hairs and lipstick that’s where it should be, or that spot you missed while shaving.  Remember that for most editorial photos, there will not be a lot of re-touching or alterations done to the image in post production.  You can indeed ask your photographer to give you the “20 year package” but they’ll not usually get carried away. The photographer will generally do teeth whitening, skin smoothing, and eye brightening as part of the finishing touches, and can accommodate special requests on occasion, so if you’re concerned about something, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Arizona Editorial Photo Shoot

Have Fun

A little preparation can make you more relaxed, and pave the way to a great editorial photo shoot in which you’ll look your best, and feel your best.  This should be a fun day. You’re being recognized for being or doing something special. We all know that this doesn’t happen as much as it should, so take advantage of it. Bask in the glory, and have some fun. You deserve it.

Remember that if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.