How to Prepare for a Portrait Session with WDP

It can be an absolutely nerve-racking time in the weeks before your first photoshoot! I get it, and so many women have been right where you are.

This is a quick run down of what you SHOULD and should NOT do before your portrait experience with WDP.

We’ve got you, girl!

DO:

PLAN AHEAD

NOTHING kills the mood of something that’s supposed to be fun and relaxing like having to rush through your morning to get somewhere. Just boo! Always plan for traffic and allow yourself an extra 15 to get to the studio. We ask that you arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your designated session time.

GO AHEAD, GIRL, PAMPER YOURSELF

Use this opportunity to pamper and reward yourself. Before your shoot, go get a fresh mani/pedi… get a massage… have a fun girls day. A relaxed, polished look is always a plus. Chipped nails and tense shoulders can be really distracting in your images.

BRUSH + EXFOLIATE YOUR LIPS

Ok, this one sounds odd, yea?! Dry, chapped lips are very hard to fix in photoshop. In the days leading up to your photoshoot, exfoliate your lips with a lip scrub or even BRUSH them with an extra toothbrush. Trust me this WORKS! It helps to shed dead skin. Afterwards, apply a moisturizing lip balm. Dr. Lipp is seriously THE BEST product out there for dry skin/lips. It’s definitely a multi-use product; I love it for the lips and cheek highlight, and I’ve seen it used for anything from dry elbows and knees to cracked nipples for nursing moms. You can score this on Amazon for less than $15!

HAVE EXTRA WARDROBE OPTIONS

WDP is so excited to now offer in-studio wardrobe options; flowy skirts and fabrics, dresses, kimono’s, bodysuits, and button up blouses. We do NOT supply lingerie for the obvious sanitary elements involved with that. Bring undergarment options that fit in different ways, or specific fashion pieces you have in mind. We go through all of these items when you arrive and you never know what might work once you’re in the session that you never thought about before. So when in doubt, bring it anyways! We’ll decide before your shoot!

LOTION LOTION LOTION, WATER WATER WATER!

Lather on that lotion, girl! Moisture is KEY for beautiful skin. Hydrate with a ton of water in the weeks before your session, and moisturize TWICE a day in the week leading up to your shoot. This tip is CRUCIAL. Use an oil based or illuminating moisturizer on the day of your shoot. Don’t use tinted lotions, body bronzers, or anything with color!

MAKE A PLAYLIST

Music is my number one must have at every shoot. While we will always keep a studio playlist rolling during your entire session, you are more than welcome to create a Spotify playlist and share it with us for your session. Good music vibes get you into the super model zone! We can stream your tunes on our bluetooth speaker and make it your own unique jam sesh.

BRING A SOFT ROBE AND SLIPPERS

During hair and makeup, we’ll have you slip on a robe without undergarments to give your skin some time to decompress and release any marks made by your clothing; bra, panties, socks, leggings, etc. It also gets a little chilly during the winter months, so having those slippers will be key! Even in the summer, it’s just super cozy to have a fluffy pair of slippers and a robe with you! We highly recommend!

TRUST ME, I’VE GOT YOU!

You came to me because you saw images of other women looking amazing, beautiful, confident, and strong… trust that I know what I’m doing, and I will do the same for you. I will never ask you to do something that will make you look unflattering. I know lighting, I know posing, I know which angles will make your booty pop and thin your waist… I’VE GOT YOU. I’ve photographed hundreds of women and have quite literally worked with every body type and insecurity you can imagine. Don’t stress (easier said than done though, I understand), just trust.

DON’T

SPRAY TAN BEFORE YOUR SHOOT

I know you think you’ll look so much better with a tan… but I ASSURE YOU, even if you don’t see the streaks and uneven coloring in real life, my camera WILL pick them up. You will photograph a lot more tan than you think you look, especially after post processing. TRUST ME ON THIS! On the same note, no tinted lotions or bronzers on your body. I know a lot of women are avid tanners and spray tanner’s and cannot imagine going without it for a photoshoot. Of course I will absolutely still photograph you, but unfortunately, standard retouching and makeup services do not include spray tan correction, so definitely keep that in mind.

COME WITH WET HAIR OR A FACE FULL OF MAKEUP

If you’ve purchased a portrait session that includes hair and makeup BE SURE to arrive with CLEAN, DRY hair that is ready to be heat styled, and a clean, moisturized face. Professional hair and makeup is included in most sessions, but does not account for additional time blow drying your hair, or cleansing your skin. Do not pre-straighten your hair before your shoot unless you intend on having a straight hair look for the session. We ask that you please honor this request! We’ve got the rest.

PARTY THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR SHOOT

Dehydrated skin, dark circles, and the smell of booze oozing from your pores is not the look we’re going for. Hangovers are not sexy… LAWD, do I know it.

DRINK DARK BEVERAGES THE DAY BEFORE OR THE DAY OF YOUR SHOOT

This mama LOVES her red wine. I feel ya, but red and purple teeth stains don’t make for a great photograph. If you need something to calm the nerves, I recommend champagne or white wine; which we have a supply of in the studio for the day of!

FORGET TO STRETCH

If you’ve seen my portfolio, you know I’m the QUEEN of the hair flip, whipping that neck posing. A lot of the poses look so effortlessly beautiful, but some can be quite uncomfortable to get into. Take a few minutes the morning of to stretch your arms, legs, hips, neck, and especially your back; we’re going to be popping the booty, arching the back, and twisting during your shoot – you don’t want to pull a muscle while mid-Beyonce.

GET A NEW HAIRCUT OR COLOR IN THE WEEK BEFORE YOUR SHOOT

Just don’t. Don’t do it. Now is not the time to experiment with a whole new look not knowing how it’s going to turn out. Stick with what you’ve got, and I promise you’ll still look amazing.

WORRY YOURSELF SICK

Don’t worry about body issues, your period, acne, posing anxiety, whether or not you’re photogenic (at this point you’re probably thinking I’m delusional…), trust me WE HAVE GOT YOU. Bloating sucks, but we can tuck that in. Pimples are the BIGGEST pain in the world, but it’s nothing a little spot removal can’t fix in an instant. You don’t have to be a model to do this, you don’t have to know what you’re doing at all, I will guide you every step of the way, including how to breath and where to look! Every single person on the planet has a good angle… and it’s my job to find that, so whether or not you’re photogenic isn’t an issue either. Body issues are something I can empathize with after years of eating disorders and viewing myself in such a negative way. I take these feelings very seriously and I NEVER want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I have learned ALL the tricks during my career to ensure that I’m emphasizing the areas women love about themselves, and downplaying the areas they don’t. I always make sure you’re comfortable with the posing before we move forward. You are in the best hands possible.

MOST IMPORTANTLY… TAKE THIS IN, ENJOY IT. THE MOMENT IS YOURS.

VULNERABILITY + CHANGE

Vulnerability; the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

I don’t think there’s a better word to describe 2020.

VULNERABILITY

Living in the new normal, being judged for wearing or not wearing a mask, all the while being terrified of the unknown; just walking down the street can feel like standing naked in a crowd.

This photo for me sparks a complex conversation between the narrative of COVID-19 and the intense emotional battle we have all encountered during the course of this year.

2020 may have slowed, and even brought to an abrupt halt, so many aspects of life as we know it, but it has also opened our hearts and sparked CHANGE in the world.

Empowerment + Unity Project, 2019

What started as a unity + empowerment photoshoot earlier this fall, bringing together 9 different women… 9 strong, unique women from completely different backgrounds with incredible stories of strength + adversity, turned into so much more than we ever could have imagined. 🖤

These women were willing to bare it all with each other and in front of the camera. They cried together, laughed together, and shared deep personal stories + the brightest of life’s joys with each other. Their stories are that of STRENGTH, COURAGE, and TRIUMPH.

Stories of:
MOTHERHOOD
FAITH
FITNESS + BODY IMAGE
ATHLETES
FIGHTERS
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
EATING DISORDERS
ADDICTION
OVERCOMERS
LGBTQ STRENGTH
CHAMPIONS

Over the course of one month, we bonded together not only as women, but as imperfect human beings… broken, alive, grateful, and proudly still breathing.

THEY are PROOF that as women WE are STRONGER together…

THEY are PROOF that ALL SIZES… ALL COLORS… ALL BODIES… ALL PEOPLE are BEAUTIFUL…

THEY are PROOF that YOU CAN ACCEPT YOURSELF, accept your STORY, accept your BODY… exactly the way it is.

It’s important to remember that our stories do NOT define us… they are only a piece of who we are.

Each of these women shared a story that so many other women can relate to, stories that hit home for all of us. From those stories, I’d like to leave you words of wisdom and strength that stood out to me from each one.

To this powerhouse of 9 women, I just want to say Thank You.
Thank you for this incredible experience.
Thank you for your courage.
Thank you for your candid, open hearts, & thank you for trusting me to champion this.

XoXo,
Whitney

Recovery came easy… I had two beings that needed me, that were looking up to me, it was the push forward that I needed. Once I got sober I realized, I wasn’t feeling my problems, I wasn’t feeling my pain. I didn’t love myself, and I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love. Once I was ready, I was able to conquer the world. Now, if I can put that drive into helping people get sober… I’m good with that.

-TALIA

It can be so hard to love yourself again after trauma, but gaining that strength back IS possible… what happened was never about YOU.
“I had found the strength in my mind to leave knowing that my son deserved better. Talking about it has helped me help others in my situation. I strive to be the girl that understands the others in these situations, so they know not everyone judges them and that someone else gets it too.

-SYDNEY

I remember being obsessed with the sound of a clacking heal. I remember everyone saying “There is a time and a place.“, but I always thought to myself ‘a time and a place to be myself??’ That should be always, it took me educating myself to realize that my body did not match my soul… It took a lot of unconditional love and support, but I did it! I try to not talk about the bullies and haters in my story… but since this is about empowerment I will tell you, that we are all bigger than the problem & stronger than those who try to break us down. Stay beautiful.

-DASIA

I encourage you all to truly take a step back and account for the many blessings you have that have brought you to where are you today. Despite the setbacks and the challenges and all the awful, terrible, unjust things that have happened to you. Think about that. Carry it with you. My deepest hope is that you will listen to my story and those of so many others and act upon it as if it’s your own. Meaning look out for others in how you speak, how you act, how you vote, how you teach your children/family/partners. Because your fellow humans need you and you never know how you might be critical to the survival of someone else.

-SOLEIL

Growing up as an immigrant I always felt different from the other people that I knew. I didn’t quite fit in as fully American or fully Nigerian. As time went by I ended up finding that to be a superpower of mine, because I don’t like stereotypes. I like to do my own thing and never having one set culture to adhere to allowed me to be who I am authentically without trying to fit into any mold because I knew that I couldn’t perfectly fit in either.

-IYE

I’m now living for my happiness. I’ve come a long way from where I started as an adolescent up until adulthood. Learning to believe in and celebrate myself, even on the small successes, even when only a few people are here to celebrate with me. Overcoming fear, heartache, stress, anxiety, and sadness. Overcoming the self-deprecation that I bestowed upon myself all those years ago…
Remembering that I’m not here just to exist but to live a life that I deserve.

-COURTNEY

I have struggled my entire life feeling like I wasn’t good enough, and with loving myself. I spent many, many years hating myself and the body that I was in, searching in all the wrong places for love and acceptance! Throughout my journey I have healed my mind body and soul, and I hope to inspire other women to do the exact same.

-BRITTANY

Through everything, I became who I am today. I fought for what I deserved, held out until the right man came along, and keep high standards for the people I keep around me. – Everyday is a struggle fighting the demons I thought I suppressed, but I am still proud of who I am – proud that I have fought back against the things that tried to tear me down, because there were many times that I felt like they had won. But I’m still here. And there’s got to be a reason, and I plan to find it and fulfill it.

-MAEGAN

In the mess, in the brokenness, in the darkness, I could still see light. I realized this, we all have a story, and with that story we can shed light, we can help, we can turn all the brokenness into victories! –
As my faith grew stronger… My heart was open to things I wouldn’t ever imagine I’d be ok with… I become friends with women who were broken, and just needed a hug, that same hug I needed when I was young. I listened to them, I loved them… they helped me through things I never knew I could get through. –
Knowing I’ve OVERCOME so much in my life is LIGHT to my darkness.

-FARYN

Marlene Mota X W.D.P. (Featured on HM.com)

I had the opportunity to work with fashion blogger and model Marlene Mota in New York this summer. Marlene is a full-time fashion blogger, living in Harlem, NY. She has modeled for top designers, as well as the runway and for several publications, with fashion photographers from across the industry. She is looking forward to her future in fashion and building her personal brand.

We planned this shoot with high fashion meets affordability in mind. H&M is exactly the type of brand we knew could complete this look.

Paired with a leather, Chanel handbag and mixed with a fresh perspective of East meets West; this shoot was brought to life by this beautiful location in Brooklyn, NY.

There’s just something about shooting in New York, the city lights, the grit, the dream chasers… there’s no other place that can inspire like NYC!

Check out the full shoot below!

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Photo featured on HM.com

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Top: H&M

HM.com

Bottoms: H&M

HM.com

Handbag: CHANEL

 

Model: Marlene Mota

Instagram: @Shydiosa

Makeup by Yajaira Gomez
Instagram: @__twiggy____

Location: Loosie Rouge, Brooklyn, NY
Instagram: @loosierouge

Styled Shoot by: Whitney Gookenbarger of Whitney Danielle Photography

Facebook: Whitney Danielle Photography
Instagram: @whitneydaniellephoto