Kelley Raye
wedding + lifestyle photographer

How to Rock Your Session

like a boss.

I know photo sessions look easy, and they actually are! As long as you're prepared :) Here are a few prep tips that will help you when it's time to step in front of the camera.

before your session


Your photo session is the perfect intro to your story. Your photo session should showcase who you are, turned up a notch, which includes your personal style.

Pick a look that reflects your personality. Have fun with it and grab some killer pieces out of your wardrobe (or off a shopping rack if you’re so inclined) and show me your personal style! Add a belt, throw on a hat, throw on some rings and bracelets, style it up! My photography style really shines through when your wardrobe is ah-ma-zing.

Sometimes people want to know what color will work best. I don't want to tell you what I think will look best on you because really only you know. I will say that personally, I love to shoot solids + neutrals (black, tan, white, grey) with pops of color or personality in your accessories or makeup (belt, jewelry, shoes, lipstick color, etc). Patterns are fun if you're confident with it.

look and feel


hair & Makeup

Looking good and feeling good go hand in hand. So now that you’ve got your amazing wardrobe picked out, lets talk about how you want to look once you are all dolled up. These photos will be epic, so making sure the vibe is carried out head to toe is essential. Ladies, your hair and makeup should reflect your outfits of choice as well as your personality. If a bold red lip is your thing, then rock it. If its not, now is not the time to try something new. You must be comfortable in your own skin, so make sure you look like YOU. And if you don’t do your hair/makeup on a daily basis, don't be afraid to call on a pro. Your professional photos will pop more with a fresh, polished face.


The vibe is everything we are planning put into one melting pot of awesome. Your wardrobe, the location, the time of day, and the creative direction. All of this will set the final vibe of your session. So what do you want your session to feel like? Fun? Boss? Vogue? Soft? Relaxed? Light? Dark?


It’s great to dream up locations after you’ve decided how you want to look, and how you want to feel. So based on the questionnaire that I sent you, we can decide what might work best.


session start and end time

So you want the most out of your session as far as time goes, right? Of course you do! So it should be no surprise that it is highly suggested that you arrive on time. Your session starts at the start time stated on your booking reservation and ends at the corresponding end time. Your session will not be extended past the pre-scheduled end time if you happen to arrive late. Time is money babe! #loveyoumeanit <3


Clouds make for amazing light but physical rain is not so awesome. In a case of bad weather on the day of your session, your session may have to be re-scheduled if theres no good indoor alternative available. By bad weather, I mean it is heavily raining less than 30 minutes before your session is to start making it unsafe to both drive or shoot. Also, please try to refrain from emailing me freaking out about the weather forecast a whole week in advance. In my experience, forecasting weather this far out is only about 50% accurate. I don't want to call your shoot because of a forecast of rain and then look outside and see the sun shining bright at the time we were scheduled to shoot because that totally blowssss.

during your session

"What do we do with our hands?!"

This is the most important thing you will read here.

Number one question I get when we start shooting. Everyone relax! There's nothing to be nervous about. You've seen my photos right? None of these people have a Ford Modeling Agency contract. You gotta cute outfit? Favorite lipstick? Great! Put your game face on and lets do this. Your energy can be read through photos. You don't really want to be there? It will show. Dont want to come out of your shell? Yep that shows too. Im not going to bite you and my camera doesn't bite either. Show up ready to have fun y'all! 

Individuals: Remember to give me all your personality. If you don't, I will pull it out of you. When you are the only subject, you have to do a little bit more to carry the shoot by yourself. Most of the energy created during your session will actually be your interaction with me, which is why most of our session will be us laughing and joking, talking about dreams and aspirations, and just having a regular conversation like two new friends throughout the session. Remember your spirit animal that I asked you about? Bring it to the session. Laugh, smile, dance, twirl, loosen the f* up and have fun with it. For real though. Also, bring a friend if you think that will make you feel more relaxed. It actually does help alot.

Couples: You gotta give me emotion! You can't tell me in your inquiry that you hate "posed" photos and then get to the session and just stand there holding hands and smiling at the, hi thats a 'pose' babe. Show me all the love! Forget I'm there, bear hug each other, play with each other, chase each other, whisper secrets in each others ears, act like 2 goofy teenagers in love, grab each others face, for crying out loud- kiss without me having to prompt you to, wrap each other up and then close your eyes and listen to the wind, admire each others hands and body parts, theres no one here but us chickens! Cuddle under a cute blanket, take a walk, grab butts, help me bring life to your photos by bringing your real selves and your real love to your session. I'm literally yelling this by now and I know you cant hear me but still....

Give me feeling.

Give me emotion.

Show me how much you love each other. Please.

This ain't Sears portraits yall! Dont just stand there! Move around, dance, play, make people jealous, throw your hands in the air if you dont know what to do with them.

The more you interact with each other on your own, the less I have to direct you to do something different.

Everyone: Dont just 'act' like you want to be there, that is like the ultimate buzz kill. Really want to be there and we'll all have fun. You don't expect me to take photos like I'm a robot, so I don't expect you to be robots either.

Also, come with a positive mind and heart. Negative talks about our bodies, our "good sides", "Im too...", "Im not....." "I dont look like..." "Can you photoshop...." all that is not allowed. You're beautiful and thats the end of it. Everything's fine. Thanks in advance for loving yourself :)

Oh and to answer the actual question: do whatever the hell you want with your hands. Except put them on your hips. Don't. You. Dare.

Creative Direction + Posing

So that you don’t expect the entire session to be all candid’s and what-do-we-do-now’s, you should be prepared for the majority of your photos to be the result of creative direction that will move us from one epic scene to the next. You don’t have to be a full time fashion model to look like one, so don’t worry about practicing in the mirror (but you can if you want to). Candid shots are great and I will take more than you will even realize. There is no real prep for candid, because candid!

Your "Stuff"

If we are shooting on location, please leave your "stuff" somewhere else; in the trunk, at home, just...away from the shoot. Stuff like cell phones that you wont need (they make odd shapes in your pocket so do not leave them there), your sunglasses (unless you plan to wear them for photos), your purse (you DO NOT need this, where are you going??), baby bags with the world jammed inside them, pets with no third party pet sitter (seriously they cant be in every photo) get it. 

If you have booked a session where you plan to change outfits throughout and may need to carry them along the way, please carry them in a bag you don't mind sitting on the ground because I cant carry all my stuff and yours. I will carry your phone that you don't need and your car keys in my bag, but thats it. You've been warned......... :)

"How long will it take to receive my photos?"

Great question! Between 1-3 weeks for regular photo sessions and 4-6 weeks for weddings.

Please don't ask me for an update on your photos unless the above estimated due date has passed. TIA.

thanks for reading! get ready to have fun! See you on the other side :)