Thank you so much for choosing Monique Dao Photography to document your special moments! To help you prepare for the shoot, below are a few ideas to consider before coming to the shoot.

Almost every outdoors / natural light photographer will tell you that the best times to have a photoshoot are early mornings and late afternoons (“the golden hour”) when sunlight is soft. We are all at the mercy of Mother Nature and her unpredictable light. But almost never schedule a shoot at mid-day when sunlight is most likely bright and harsh. Harsh light causes shadows, overly bright photos, sweating, squinting, light reflections on faces, and not to mention, the overall discomfort experienced by everyone. We want everyone comfortable, relaxed, and happy in the photos! Perhaps the exception is for cloudy days, which would give us a little more “wiggle room”. But for the most part, I highly recommend that you schedule a shoot with me in the late afternoon – about an hour or so before sunset – when light is soft and comfortable.

This is the fun part, but can be stressful for some. I like to encourage my clients to express their individuality but at the same time maintain a sense of unity. You don’t need to exact-match your outfits. You can either follow a common theme or a color palette. For example, if your shoot is in the Fall, try clothes with darker shades of orange, yellow, brown, and sage green. 

Some things to avoid:
– busy patterned clothes
– bright neon colored clothes
– exact-match clothes
– hats
– sunglasses

If you plan to change wardrobe, consider bringing a large blanket for cover in case there are no restrooms around.

Check out this Style Guide for more ideas on what clothes and colors to wear.

Hair & Makeup
I highly recommend that female clients work with a hair and makeup artist to achieve that flawless look in photos. At the very least, try to use face foundation and/or powder to smooth and even out your skin.

Keep the Kids Happy
I find that children tend to be happier in shoots after they’ve had their naps and food. So, on the day of the shoot, give them plenty time to rest and nap, and perhaps bribe them with a few yummy snacks while you’re dressing them. Bringing their favorite toys might also help. For babies, some noise makers would help getting their attention.

Be Comfortable
Occasionally, there will be some amount of walking to get to the shooting location. It is always good idea to bring comfortable shoes to walk in and then swap them out with your stylish ones for the shoot. If the weather is cold, bring a jacket/sweater. If the weather is hot and dry, bring lots of water to prevent dehydration.

Sleep is a Wonderful Thing
If possible, go to bed early the night before the shoot. I’ve had clients with heavy bags under their eyes because they had slept late the night before. Even makeup could not cover it all up. I do not have a Photoshop magic wand to wave on every single photo. 😉