Thank you for booking a portrait session with me. I am so excited to share in this incredible experience with you. I believe every woman should have an amazing portrait, and it’s my mission to create the most beautiful portraits you have ever seen of yourself.
This page has all the information you need to prepare for your portrait session; including style advice, beauty tips, and planning tools. Over the next few weeks, make an extra effort to really pamper yourself. Drink plenty of water, start stretching every day, and treat yourself to those spa services and beauty treatments you can’t always justify - even if it’s just the DIY versions at home.
To help you figure out and connect with the woman you want to see in your portraits, consider writing in a journal. Write about who you are in this moment; how you want to see yourself; which parts of yourself that you love, or maybe that you have lost and want to reconnect with. If you’re willing to share some of those insights with me, I’ll be better able to capture the amazing woman you are and want to be.
Please don’t hesitate to call, text, or email me if you have any questions.
The session retainer payment is non-refundable in the event that you must cancel your portrait session.
We do allow a one time rescheduling of your shoot, to take place within 30 days of your original session date. Please let us know as soon as possible (at least 14 days before your session) if you do need to reschedule, so we can make your date available to others.
If the minimum of two weeks notice to reschedule your session has not been provided, a portion of your session fee will be forfeited, and an additional retainer payment of $250 will be required to reschedule your shoot.
Please be On Time (9:00 am)
If you are running late, please call or text. Keep in mind that your shoot time will be reduced if you arrive late, and, depending on the makeup artist’s availability, we may need to reschedule your photo shoot if you are more than 15 minutes late. (Note that our rescheduling policy will still be in effect, and an additional retainer payment of $250 may be required to reschedule.)
Heather Toshiko Photography retains the copyrights to all media we create during your photo shoot. You will be given print rights for personal use of all your purchased images. This means you can print copies of your portraits up to the same size purchased, but you do not have the right to sell or publish them without permission.
First Things First
Make Appointments. Many treatments are time-sensitive, (example: waxing your brows shouldn’t be booked too close to your shoot to avoid redness).
Drink More Water. We all know water is important, yet we still forget to drink enough. Start now.
Avoid the Sun. Sunburns and tan lines are portrait ruiners. Use sunscreen and stay in the shade.
Don’t Pick (or Bite). Especially your skin, lips, and nails.
Develop a Pinterest Addiction. Use pin board to design your dream photo shoot and get wardrobe and styling inspiration. Don’t forget to share so I can see your ideas.
Three Weeks Before
Get Shopping. Begin planning your outfits, placing any online orders, and making special dress rental reservations right away. Make sure you have everything you need to complete each outfit, including underpinnings and accessories.
Start Stretching. Try to stretch for 20 minutes each day before your shoot. Especially your neck, back, and hips.
Begin a Skincare Regimen. Wash your face nightly, exfoliate your face and body every other day, use moisturizer on your full body every day, and wear lip balm constantly.
Visit the Dentist. Get a regular cleaning and whiten your teeth.
Get a Gel Manicure. Gel polish keeps your nails strong (and lasts up to three weeks).
One Week Before
Gather and Organize Outfits. Complete the Wardrobe Prep Checklist on the “How to Prepare” panel of the Style Guide.
Wax Eyebrows and Upper Lip. Get your brows waxed or threaded by a pro. Try to stay close to your natural shape, and don’t go too thin. Have your upper lip waxed as well.
Wax Body Hair. Wax the hair on your legs and underarms. Depending on how revealing your outfit choices are, you may also need to wax your bikini area.
Cut Back Caffeine and Salt. Both are dehydrating and cause your body to retain water.
Avoid Fake Tanning. If you usually spray tan or use fake tanning lotion, take a hiatus now until after your shoot.
3-5 Days Before
Touch Up Your Roots. If you dye your hair, touching up your regrowth three days before your photo shoot is ideal. Keep in mind that this is not the time for drastic changes.
Get a Trim. Neat, healthy hair is youthful and vibrant. If it’s been a while since your last haircut, go for a subtle trim.
Deep Condition. Your salon can do a conditioning treatment, or you can use your favorite deep conditioner at home.
Get an Eyelash Fill. If you usually have eyelash extensions, be sure to have them refreshed a few days before your session. (Do not get lash extensions if they aren’t in your regular routine.)
The Day Before
Get a Manicure. Soft, neutral colors work best. While you’re at it, toss in the pedicure (go for any color you like on toes).
Buy Groceries. Plan a healthy shoot-day breakfast and snacks.
Clean Your Wedding Ring. For a fast and easy DIY option, try using a toothbrush & toothpaste to clean your bling.
Wash Your Hair. Fully air dry or blowout your hair, but avoid using hot tools such as curling or straightening irons. Before bed, pull your hair up into a loose top-knot for volume.
Very Short or Curly Hair? Wait to shampoo until the morning of the shoot.
Shave. Touch up your body hair situation; remember under- arms, and legs; and possibly forearms, bikini, and upper lip.
Tweeze Eyebrows. Double check for any strays.
Photo Shoot Day
Your focus this morning should be caring for yourself. Breathe. Remember, you are beautiful, and I will capture that for you.
- Get Your Beauty Sleep. Be sure to get all eight hours.
- Eat Breakfast. Think protein and complex carbs.
- Bare Face. Wash and apply your usual moisturizer.
- Moisturized Body. Apply some serious lotion or oil.
- Clean, Dry Hair. (For very short or curly hair, leave it wet.)
- Arrive On Time. Plan to get to the studio at 9:00am.
What to Wear
How do you dream of being photographed? Remember, this is your chance to be a model for a day. A Princess. A Siren. A Goddess.
Bring 5 - 6 Outfits
With the chance to wear several different outfits, you can aim for a variety of styles. Try to bring outfits that are unique in color and/or mood. While this guide showcases dresses only, feel free to bring your favorite jeans, a lovely blouse, or even lingerie.
Something Light and ethereal
Bring something in a light shade of blush, nude, cream or white.
Something Dark and Smoldering
Black, Navy, or Charcoal will all work well.
You can be an understated sexy in a backless formal gown, or a more overt sexy in beautiful lingerie.
This photo shoot is the perfect opportunity to dress like a princess or movie star, and a great excuse to go shopping. You might even rent, borrow, or custom make your dream outfit. For me, this would be a fairytale-worthy ball gown. For you it might be a killer red dress or amazing black negligee. Whatever you choose to bring should be your own fantasy ensemble.
Right: See several examples of different color and style combinations to mix-and-match for maximum variety. Think about bringing one style from each column, as well as one color type from each row.
KEEP IN MIND
Fit Your Form
Fitted clothing that shows your shape works best for photographs. This applies to any body type. Outfits should hug your curves, especially along your top half. (Loose, flowing skirts are fabulous as long as your bodice or top is snug.) Skip that billowy, blouson top, or anything with dolman or batwing sleeves. While they might be flattering in person, they will not be slimming in camera.
Sumptuous textures like lace, chiffon, bead-work, or embroidery lend a rich, tactile element to your photos. Avoid high-contrast patterns or prints, which are distracting. Logos or graphics are definite “don’ts.”
Mixing up necklines will add variety to your shots, so try not to bring all of one style. I love to see your collar bone and shoulders, so off-the-shoulder and sweetheart are my favorite necklines. Whatever you choose, try to make it more interesting than the basic crew neck.
Food for thought: Certain necklines can evoke different moods. An off-the-shoulder top tends to appear vulnerable, while a square neck or high neck denotes power.
To me, clothing is a form of self-expression - there are hints about who you are in what you wear.
Things to Remember
Flatter Your Arms
Varying sleeve lengths is another great way to add extra diversity to your looks. If arms are a trouble-zone for you, pass on cap sleeves, which are hard to pull off since they emphasize the widest part of the arm. Choose instead a 3/4 sleeve or longer.
To show a little shoulder without baring arms, try an off-the-shoulder top. You could even add a scarf or cardigan to a strapless or sleeveless dress, which can be draped over the arms - showing just a hint of skin.
Skip Bulky Jackets
Unless your blazer is very fitted, (and doesn’t have shoulder pads), you’ll want to opt instead for a snug cardigan, which may be a better choice if you’re interested in having a business-friendly photograph.
Bring Necessary Underpinnings
Consider the underwear you’ll need for each outfit. Certain looks call for a strapless bra or nude thong. Black bras look best under dark clothing, and nude bras are always better than white. Shapewear is awesome for concealing any wobbly bits.
Bring jewelry, hair accessories, and scarves or wraps to complete each outfit. Choose timeless over trendy. Forget shoes, as your feet won’t be showing.
How to Prepare
Several days before your photo shoot, fully plan and organize your shooting wardrobe and accessories. Try on each outfit, including underwear and jewelry, to make sure everything fits. Check for visible panty lines and bra straps, and note any body-hair removal requirements.
- Do Laundry. Remove lint and press if needed. Tighten all bra straps for some extra lift.
- Polish Your Jewels. Wedding rings and other jewelry should sparkle.
- Get Organized. We will group the coordinating pieces of each ensemble together on the same hanger. Example: Top + Bottom + Bra + Spanx + Necklace
- Arrive Comfortable. Wear a comfy outfit to your photo shoot. This is what you’ll be wearing during styling, so choose something easy to remove without messing up your hair or smearing your makeup.
Ready... Set... Shop!
Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, White House | Black Market,
Express, Asos, Victoria’s Secret, Rent the Runway