Portrait Photo Shoot Overview
Close up portrait by bay area photographer Jason Guy

Portrait Photo Shoot Overview

When searching for someone to capture your portrait photo shoot, everyone knows you should choose an artist with a portfolio you love. What shockingly few realize however, is that choosing a photographer who’s portfolio you like won’t yield similar photos unless you also follow that artists process.

Contacting a photographer because you love their work, and then asking them to recreate someone else’s work you found on Pinterest is a classic example of this dichotomy. Every artist has a unique process to create images like they show.

Full sun portrait of a woman in a black slip on a white background

If you love my portfolio and want pictures like I show, this post will provide an overview of my process. I created this overview so you can have full clarity and know what to expect when you book your photo shoot with me.

Portrait Photo Shoot Initial Consultation

Every photo shoot with me begins with an initial consultation usually via Zoom. This consultation is critical to the success of your photo shoot as it helps me better understand how you’d like to be photographed. Knowing which images from my portfolio you like most for instance will help me clearly understand what you like stylistically. Discussing these details ahead of time allows us to thoughtfully plan your photo shoot so you get higher quality photos.

One of the key aspects of this planning process is figuring out and scheduling all of your personal care appointments  leading up to your photo shoot.

Blond woman in golden field wearing brown pattern dress

This is important because to get the best portraits possible, we need to get everything as good as we can in camera. To this point, there is no single thing you can do to prepare that will make everything turn out amazing. Looking good in your pictures happens by doing lots of little things that build up to an amazing result.

Another thing we’ll cover at your consultation is how you’ll want your final photos presented. By reverse engineering how you intend to display your images, it becomes much easier to capture the photos you want.

As an obvious example, a Torchon fine art print you hang on your wall should probably be captured differently than a headshot you plan to use online. Knowing this detail ahead of time can literally make or break your photo shoot. In less extreme examples, it can make the portrait process more efficient.

In short, the success of your photo shoot depends on coming up with a good plan at your portrait consultation. Contacting me on Wednesday to have your picture taken on Saturday never yields better photos then a thoughtful, well planned session with good communication. It’s very much worth the extra effort.

Booking your Portrait Photo Shoot

Most people book their photo shoots immediately following their initial consultation. By submitting your deposit, you will reserve your photo shoot date, your makeup artist, cover the cost of your photo shoot and one image reveal. Images from your session can be added to your booking fee if you know what you want. You can also submit your deposit and purchase your images later at your photo reveal if you’re unsure of exactly what you’ll want.

Your Portrait Photo Shoot

On the day of your photo shoot you you’ll bring your outfits you’ve chosen and we’ll l take care of the rest! Your features will be enhanced by my makeup artist and I will coach you every step of the way to ensure you look your best.

Since I believe in doing the absolute best thing I can for everyone I photograph, it’s important to remember that a photo shoot with me is a long event usually requiring anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.

It depends on the intended session obviously, but thorough hair and makeup usually takes an hour and a half to two hours by itself.

Attractive pregnant woman in red dress at sunset in an oak forest

Your photo shoot after your makeover will require an additional 2-6 hours depending again on specifics. It’s important to keep this time frame in mind so that you don’t over plan your day. This can compromise your photos by rushing you session.

Your Photo Reveal

Roughly three weeks after your photo shoot we will meet up again for your photo reveal. This is my personal favorite part of the entire process because I get to see your reaction to seeing your images for the very first time!

If you think you might want wall art, it’s usually best if I come to your home for this reveal because choice of image and sizing can be tricky if it’s not something you do regularly.

Although it’s always best to do your reveal in person, it’s also possible to do your reveal via zoom. This is common if you’re traveling in for your photo shoot for instance.

Full sun B&W portrait of a blond woman on a white background

In any case, just make sure all decision makers are present for this reveal as this is when you will purchase your images from your photo shoot.


I hope this overview gave you some clarity on what to expect when you book your portrait photo shoot with me. If you like my philosophy and would like to book a session, feel free to reach out and I’d be happy to make that happen for you. If you have any questions about anything, you can also comment below and I’d be glad to answer those there if you’d prefer.

Jason Guy

I am a portrait photographer based out of Sonoma, California. I create portraits for people of all ages with the goal of making images that are timeless. Portraits you will look back on decades from now, and still love them just as much then as you do today. While flattering lighting and pose are important, capturing how others see you is what I ultimately strive for.

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