Preparing for Your Portrait Shoot, Part 3: Skin and Nails

Every client who books a session with us gets a magazine-look Style Guide to preparing for their photoshoot. To make the information accessible to everyone (who doesn't like knowing how to look their best?),  we will be featuring this guide on our blog in a four-part series. If you would like to receive the whole Style Guide for free, sign up for our newsletter (in the right sidebar) and you will be emailed a copy as a gift! 

Below are some of our favorite tips to looking amazing in your photos. Feel free to follow - or skip - any and all that apply to you! 


Wax or shave your legs and underarms, particularly if you are bringing dresses to wear. Get your wax no less than two or three days before your shoot so your skin has enough time to heal and your legs are not a bumpy mess. You can shave up to the night before or morning of but do not forget to properly moisturize afterwards! If you are planning on wearing lingerie, do not forget to take care of your bikini area.  


This tip comes with a disclaimer: only get a spray tan (this includes at home tanning) if you normally do and if you have gotten a tan from your current salon or provider before. There is nothing worse to retouch than orange, streaky skin! Your natural skin color, no matter how fair it can get in the wintertime in Maine, will look great in photos - trust me! If you are particularly concerned, let me know, and I can do a few lighting and editing tricks to give you a more glowy complexion. 



If you just came back from a tropical vacation, you might have tanlines or even a sunburn and there is not much you can do about it. However, if you have a choice on the matter, avoid getting a sunburn before your shoot! Also, keep an eye out on those pesky tanlines, especially if you are planning on wearing lingerie or dresses with open shoulders.  


Make an appointment at the nail salon to get a manicure - and perhaps throw in a pedicure while you’re at it! While a pedicure is not essential, it will make you feel more polished and put together. Do not get your nails done more than a few days ahead of your photoshoot as they will either grow out (if they are acrylics), or chip. You can get any color nailpolish you wish but keeping it simple is usually best. Pink, nude, or clear nailpolish makes your hands look clean and polished, as do french tips. A simple, at-home version of a salon manicure includes removing old polish and shaping your nails. 


Your skin will thank you for some extra attention in the days leading up to your shoot. We recommend moisturizing your arms and legs after every shower or bath - you can also throw a good scrub in while you’re in the shower! (Tip: Sugar mixed with a bit of olive oil makes a great homemade scrub. Just be careful using it, as it can make the shower slippery.)


Try to leave your skin alone (no spot picking) if you can - sometimes a “gentle” squeeze can turn a small inflamed pore into a big, angry zit. I know that if you get a spot staring you in the face it is difficult to ignore it, but trust me, it is much easier to remove it in editing (it literally takes about two seconds) than try to smooth out and remove redness from one that you spent ten minutes picking. And trust me, we have all been there and nobody in our studio will judge you for the condition of your skin. It is easy to fix skin in a photograph but it is impossible to capture a genuine expression when a spot is all the client can think about. Relax, we have got you covered! 


Unlike acne or spots, scars and birthmarks canbe very personal. We try never to assume whether you want your scar or birthmark retouched completely, softened, or left alone so if we didn’t ask you about it and you have strong opinions, please speak up! Similarly, if you miss it after it’s been retouched or if you would like to soften it or remove it, let us know at your viewing. Open communication is key, and we want you to love your photos.