Nicole Ashley: How to Prepare Your Clients for a Photo Shoot

It’s amazing how the photography industry is switching more and more towards the journalistic, very intimate, genuine and candid type of imagery. Couples are 100% themselves, hence the photographer gets to capture life and moments as they happen. No posing, no pretending to be someone else.

Nicole Ashley’s work has been on our radar for a long time, not only because of the mesmerizing beauty & livelihood of each of her images, but also because of the way her subjects feel happy, relaxed and beautiful in front of the camera. We got wondering, what is Nicole’s secret? How does she get her clients so comfortable and confident during a photo session. So we asked!

Here is Nicole Ashley explaining her process on How to Prepare Clients for a Photo Shoot.

How to prepare your clients for a photo shoot

Making sure your clients are confident going into a session is key. Aside from trying to have a strong social media presence so clients can feel like they know me better, I also do the following:

1. Make sure I am prompt with email responses and questions so they know they matter to me.


2. Ask them to send me examples of my work that they were drawn to. This way I’ll have a better idea of the vibe of the session and what they are hoping to achieve!


3. Offer advice and tips for clothing items. Especially for boudoir clients, I send out an extensive list of things to avoid, what works well and how everyday clothing is great to bring (so clients don’t break the bank and go out and buy all new items). Usually it’s a recommendation of Do’s & Don’ts for colors, that would look good in post production, including a mention that spray tans are a taboo. *smiles*
Also a list of FAQs, some info about image feature on my website and social media, etc. I have a separate pdf for each type of session (engagement, portrait, boudoir, etc).

4. Offer professional hair and makeup. Not only will this help clients to feel and look their best, but getting to sit in hair and makeup for an hour will allow them time to get comfortable instead of being thrown immediately into a photo shoot.

This is a big one for me because I have been working with the same hair and makeup team for almost 7 years! So for 7 years, clients have been able to follow our journey, see how we work with each other and follow a lot of fun behind the scenes! By the time they go into a session with us, they feel like they are hanging out with friends.

The hair & make up are an a la carte option but because so much of what I showcase to clients includes Behind the Blush’s services it’s rare someone does not book them. For boudoir, I offer two different collections, one with and one w/o the professional hair & makeup service, but out of the last 6 years I’ve only had 1 person book a session without the Behind the Blush service.


5. Make sure you explain how the session will work. People always feel more comfortable when they know what they are going into.

For boudoir for example, I usually send out details a month prior but for engagement sessions usually a week before. This is because the weather or possible construction conflict could arise that could affect our location. Unless it is indoors.

I’m usually the one who chooses the locations and time of day to ensure I can do my best work possible for the clients. Of course, I ask for the client’s input and customize based off of the look they are hoping to go for.

As for setting expectation about the post production process. I go over proofing galleries, retouching and turn around time before and after the shoot is done, so they know what to expect.

They also get a private protected gallery after the shoot, where they can check out all the images and select their favorite to be professionally edited.

Earning clients’ trust and making sure they feel comfortable is crucial if you want to create and provide them with real and emotive images.
Simple yet golden advice, right? Any successful relationship starts with trust, and trust can be built only through open communication and support. By the way, if you love what Nicole does and enjoyed this quick interview, be sure to check out her mentoring sessions for more wisdom and a 1 on 1 type of growth experience.