How to Prep for Your Studio Session

So, you’ve booked in a studio session with Bernadette OZ Photography, and you’re ready to have the time of your life at my photography studio in East London (bit of a stretch of my part, yes! But trust me, your experience will be worthwhile). Now, you must be wondering what you need to do to prepare for the photoshoot but also want to make sure that you get the most out of this session. Worry not, I’ve got this sorted for you. Just keep reading…

In this post, I’ll give you some handy tips and tricks to guarantee that you have the ultimate shoot day at my studio.

Before the Shoot

* Don’t get out of your way to try everything new!

It’s easy to get pumped before your shoot and go on a skincare haul to buy the best products for yourself. Sure, you want to look pretty and fresh, but trying on new products can also result in major acne breakout or skin inflammation – which is most definitely the last thing you would want before a portrait session. So, don’t try any new cleanser, masks, or change your beauty regime.

Also, if you are cutting or colouring your hair, don’t do them right before the session, leave at least a week after.

* Stay hydrated and get that beauty sleep!

Stick to a routine that is good for your mental and physical wellbeing. Obviously, we don’t want a weary and tired you sulking through the session. Try to get that beauty sleep right and watch your water intake. Just be energetic, be you!

* Spend a few moments in your wardrobe!

For many people, ‘what to wear’ is the most significant question that may arise prior to a studio session. Don’t worry; I’ve got your back! Just go through my ‘What to Wear Guide’ for tips and suggestions on the wardrobe.

* Lastly, have a chat with your photographer aka me

While I’m indeed an experienced portrait photographer, who can plan a shoot for you. I will definitely ensure that the end results are exactly the way you envisioned them. However, if you have a crystal-clear idea of how you want your studio session to go, I will make sure that idea comes to life. All you have to do is, communicate your vision to me, and we’ll figure out the best for you.

During the shoot

 

* Trust me

I generally start with a conversation to help you get relaxed and feel comfortable. I’ll make sure you won’t feel you have to do anything by yourself. Being a portrait photographer, I will give you instructions on how to pose, perfecting your angles, and I’ll never say: “Just do something.”

And most importantly: we will have a look at the images during the session, so you’ll see where we’re going.

* Have fun

We are not just the most affordable photography studio in London; we also know how to have fun on the shoots! If you have a playlist, put it on and get groovin’ – might as well get some fun candid clicks of you dancing to the beat!

Staying Organised While in Quarantine; Photo Organising

Quarantine may be a little hard on us, but if you look on the brighter side, it’s also one of the best times to bond with your family (even on a video call) over mundane yet fun tasks like photo organising. Family members are your best resource when it comes to sorting and figuring out what’s worth keeping and what isn’t, and quarantine is a natural time for everyone to finally do things they have been avoiding to do since ages. And also an opportunity to reminisce over old memories with a glass of wine.

Getting started with the three pile method

If you’re that responsible photo keeper sibling, who even has all the best corporate headshots of the entire family, you then need to get ready for the hard work – because there is a lot to choose from.

 

I’d recommend dividing your photos into the “yes” and “no,” and “maybe” piles. The best way to do this is to make an initial first pass through your entire collection because the ones that are NOT likely to be discarded and the ones you won’t need at all are naturally going to stand out right away. Here’s a fairly helpful criterion to sort your piles:

 

YES

 

  • Wedding albums
  • High School pictures
  • Professional portraits
  • Events
  • Heartfelt photos that trigger an important memory

 

NO

 

  • Blur photos
  • Bad angled landscape photos
  • Cut off limbs
  • Unclear photos
  • Over or underexposed ones

 

MAYBE

 

  • Any photo you don’t like, but can’t even throw away would like to keep
  • Multiple photos from a single event that needs to be narrowed down
  • Photos of unknown people and distant acquaintances
  • Photos that are quite similar, but still different

 

There are multiple reasons you might put a photo into the “yes” pile over the “maybe” or “no” piles, and the hardest pile to sort through after getting done with your first pass. That’s where FaceTime comes into the picture.

A low-budget, maximum-fun family trip to nostalgia lands via FaceTime or Zoom

The last thing you want to happen after putting so much time into organising and consolidating your old family photos is for your big brother to find a stash of memorable (read embarrassing) pictures of your childhood that he kept hidden. This type of exciting throwback could wash off the quarantine blues to some extent. So, FaceTime your fam, ask them to bring some snack and cherish older times together.

Don’t forget to capture this Quarantine reunion

This activity can go on for about half a day, but don’t you dare to forget capturing this moment. It could be the perfect throwback photo to remind yourself of this monstrous COVID-19 and how your 2020 family/siblings reunion was in the days of quarantine. You sure cannot take artist headshots of every dramatic family member, but a screenshot of them on the screen with you would do the job. Or you could set up your camera and pose with the family on screen.

Best Photo Editing Apps for Quarantined Photography Enthusiasts

Photography is indeed one of the best things to do while you are in quarantine. What else you can do to make your new hobby more interesting is to get into editing. Give your photos the treatment they deserve with these handy editing apps.

Snapseed

Google’s Snapseed is a powerpack software for those who love to edit on desktops. With its vast range of features and extremely intuitive interface, this free photo editing app also comes with interesting preset filters. However, unlike most editing apps, you can adjust these filters according to your own liking and even come up with your own from scratch.

It has all of the classic editing tools, such as cropping, frames, straightening, text, vignettes, etc. And the sharpening feature does its job so good without making your photos look grainy.

What’s more interesting is that Snapseed saves your edit history, so that you can make changes to your previous edits at any point.

VSCO

VSCO is no different than Instagram, Camera, editing tools, and a plus of an online community. But, this app is all about filters.

It can not only give you clean-cut photos like any headshot photographer in London would, but also lets you be creative and experiment with different aesthetics.

VSCO offers you a set of stunning filters that gives your photos all the analogue camera vibes.

These subtle and mesmerising filters add a touch of class to your photos. Be it high street fashion looks, vintage rustic touches, clean but faded poses, VSCO can take your editing game to new, out-of-the-box levels.

Of course, the app is comprised of all the standard editing tools, like cropping, adjustments, borders, grains, and vignettes. You can also adjust the exposure, temperature, contrast, or skin tones.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC

If you want to take your editing game to the next level, Lightroom is the answer.

The app version of the popular desktop photo editing software provides access to professional-level editing tools on the go. Not just that, it also works for RAW files – a high-quality image format preferred by professional photographers.

One of the great things about Lightroom CC is that it’s not trying to do the job for everyone.

Instead, it focuses on handing out a set of high-quality adjustment tools that users can explore themselves to come up with something of their own. Tools are presented as sliders and allow you to adjust the detail, light, colour, distortion, saturation, angle, and grain of your photos.

Capture One

This one is the software loved by all the top headshot photographers. Capture One is a power-packed and intuitive software that enhances your photo editing experience making it smoother and more precise.

With image quality as its driving factor, Capture One maximises the output of every RAW file, bringing out the highest level of details ever possible. Each lens supports a custom-made lens profile, providing adequate tools for minimising distortion, noise, and light fall-off.

Hope these apps will keep you hooked through this quarantine and help you come out as a pro-photo editor yourself.

7 Creative Self Portrait Ideas

While we are all self-quarantining (not very thankful to the monstrous COVID-19), the hunt for new activities to kill boredom is just never-ending. From cooking to organising to video chatting our friends, there’s nothing more left to try for some of us – except photography.

Yeah, taking photos of household objects is fun to an extent, but experimenting with self-portraits is a whole new world of its own. To keep you all hooked, I am here with some uber-aesthetic self-portrait ideas to try at home.

Work out that silhouette

Silhouette photography is your way to produce dramatic self-portraits. Whether you’re shooting in your room or the garden, this is a pretty easy portrait technique to pull off. All you need is a sheer bright light source in the background.

Ditch the auto settings on your camera. Use a fast shutter speed, keep your ISO low, and set the aperture according to the lighting condition and voila!

Extreme close-ups

The extreme close-ups that famous portrait photographers take are everybody’s favourite – and very easy to recreate. Focus on any particular facial feature and capture it. For example, focus your crooked teeth smile or your eyes/lashes. Leave half of your face out of the frame, sp that the viewer’s eyes are drawn to your focal point even faster.

Shoot your hands

A self-portrait doesn’t mean photographing your face only. One great self-portrait tip is to try shooting your hands. Hands are unique; they can tell a person’s whole life story through their wrinkles, callouses, and scars. How you choose to pose with your hands is up to you; hold an object, touch someone else’s hands, or simply play with your own.

Make a diptych or triptych

Diptychs and triptychs are a combination of two and three photos, respectively. Combining the poses side by side, weaves a story. You could shoot yourself – following one theme – from different angles, zooming in and out, changing lights, or simply capture yourself in different poses. Put all of these together and tell your own creative story.

Shoot in black & white

Black and white adds timelessness to your portraits. Top portrait photographers remove the colour from images and put more emphasis on texture and contrast. Pay attention to the shadows and highlights in your shot. Work on the contrast post-production; by increasing it, you can really make your black and white portraits pop.

Get creative with framing

With a tripod and some planning, it gets easier than ever to incorporate an interesting frame in your photos. The possibilities for creative self-portraits are endless, whether it’s a window frame, a doorway, an object with an opening, some foliage, or even your own hands.

Use interesting shadows

The most essential element to a great photo is proper lighting. However, it’s not like that the absence of light will completely screw your photos, yet it is another tool you can make most of to create cool self-portraits. Try shooting next to your window blinds, across your plants, around the fence – possibilities are just endless. All of it will produce a sense of mystique in your photos.

So, grab your camera/phone and get creative! You can share your shots in the comments, too, for all of us to take inspiration.

12