Six Tips for Preparing for Your Headshot Session

I have recently had the privilege to provide headshots for several individuals and can I say just how fun they were?  Two sessions were shot outdoors, while another was at Studio Boise, (which I highly recommend you check out if you are in the area.  Fantastic service and friendly staff.)  From these sessions I have pulled together some things that each of these clients did well and can be of use to you as you plan for your upcoming shoot.

Here are six tips to help your next headshot session be exactly what you want.

  1. Get your suit or dress cleaned and pressed.  This may seem like you are getting ready for a job interview.  Depending on what you intend to gain from your headshot session, you may very well be doing just that.  This photo can be for a client, a future boss, or a voter’s first glimpse of who you are.  Whatever the reason, you want to impress them.
  2. Wear the full suit.  Yes it may just be a headshot, but sometimes I like to capture the whole individual so that we can get a greater sense of who you are and what your brand is.  This is even true for you ladies.  It also helps out in my retouching process.

Headshot of man in suit in front of brown background

3. Beware of LOUD Jewelry. Jewelry is a great way to accessorize and make yourself stand out, but be careful.  Sometimes your jewelry can speak louder than your eyes, which is something we never want to do.  Your eyes are what will make you love  your photos. Large necklace pieces or earring may detract so keep things simple and on the smaller end.

4. Wear heavier makeup.  This can be uncomfortable and even tricky.  If you are not familiar with this avenue of makeup, there are lots of tutorials and I’m sure you have a friend or two that would be delighted to help.  I am even available to help you during our session or we can locate a professional makeup artist.

Woman with hand on cheek softly looking at camera. full color with a warm tone.

5. Wear Comfortable Yet Flattering Attire. It may take some time before you are comfortable in front of the camera if this is your first time.  So I encourage you to wear what makes you feel your best and is comfortable for you.  We will generally do standing, leaning, and sitting poses.

6.  Make Use of Your Hairspray. Whether we are shooting outdoors or in the studio, the use of hair spray is vital.  As with the photo below, you never know what can happen.  We were setting up for this shoot when it started snowing.  Luckily my beautiful model here was prepared and her hair lasted wonderfully for the full shoot.  If we are in the studio, the warmth coming of the lights can cause your hair to fall flat if it isn’t supported well.  I will usually have some on hand if we find that you are in need of a touch up.

Woman in front of brick building with a hat and vest over green shirt. Snow can be seen on the woman and floating around.

BONUS! One last tip to send you home.  I highly recommend consider using contrast in your attire.  Leather boots with a soft knit dress, a bold tie in contrast to your dark suit, you get the idea.

I hope you enjoyed these tips and I look forward to working with you!

P.S. Have you checked out Four Ways to Totally Rock Your Portrait Session ?

Sleeping Babies = Sweet Dreams (and photos)

Mother holding infant girl. In black and white

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my friend’s newborn and sibling session.  I had the opportunity to participate in another sweet session over the weekend.

Newborn sessions are some of the most relaxing and fulfilling photo sessions I do.  There is something about a baby sleeping that is so peaceful.  They are so relaxed for the fifteen minutes that they are sleeping that you, yourself can’t help but feel relaxed.

There is also something that can’t explained about how beautiful a new mom is holding her sweet baby.  She radiates joy.  It could also be the fact that she can finally breathe easily again.  But from what I have experienced, every time you get to look into your baby’s eyes or even watching them sleep, you can feel how precious that child is.

Baby in black and white lying on back

That was why when this beautiful family asked me to do this session for them, I jumped at the opportunity.  They had just moved into their house right before their baby was born and are still in the process of renovating.  However, this afforded a nice opportunity for me as their sitting room was still bare.

So I brought in my in-home studio equipment and we set everything up there.  I provided several backdrops and lighting situations, and all they needed to do was prepare to snuggle.  It made it easy on them because they didn’t have to pack everything up and leave the house.  Everything they needed was there in their house and I provided the means to help them capture this tender point in their lives without the hassle.

For my shoots, I like to provide a classic studio look, while also portraying real life situations.  I do generally avoid full naked baby photos, for the reasons that things can get wet and messy in the blink of an eye.  Having gone through this twice for myself, things just stay cleaner when the diaper stays in place.  That’s not to say that you can’t find some adorable diaper covers and wraps.  Another advantage to this, is that your baby will stay asleep longer because they are warm and wrapped up.

As we were packing up, they both kept saying how much they appreciated my assistant and I for coming.  I must say that it is I, who was grateful. Firstly, because I got to hold their tiny baby, but also because I was able to help them remember this stage of their lives.

Thanks for tuning in and have a great week my friend!

Also, have you checked out my Four Ways to Totally Rock Your Portrait Session or A Style Guide For Your Engagement Photo Session: To help you look and feel your best

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram as all my followers can receive 10% off any session in 2018!

Portrait Sessions in Tight Places Are Opportunities for Creativity

The Problem

The past couple of months, I have been searching out and photographing at various locations that have a very urban feel.  I’ve chosen a different city for each shoot and this time we were in Eagle, Idaho.  I had hoped to have a fun small-scale city feel, but I found this was going to be a bit more difficult upon closer inspection.

This couple was fantastic to work with. They were fun and were willing to help me out so that our session went great.  I had scouted out this location a few days prior, but on the day of, I was struggling with composing the shots.  I found there were a great deal more dumpsters, road signs, and debris than I had originally thought.  

The Solution

This posed a problem as we were walking around.  I wanted an urban feel to this session, but all the trash was a bit too urban.  So we got a bit more creative with this session.  We were working in pretty confined places so to hide the debris, we used a trick of creating a smoke effect with baby powder.  It was incredibly helpful to hide all that stuff and it was all done on location. 

We also did a great deal of up close and personal shots with the sides of buildings and roads.  Even though our location wasn’t the best I have used in the past, we still made the most of it.   The best part was when we found a large grey stone building.  It created the background I needed and really highlighted my couple.  

So regardless of where we will be shooting, great locations can be found and help you look your very best.


Do you have a great location you want to get photographed at? Let me know! I am always up for expanding the locations I shoot at.  Be sure to check out my Engagement Style Guide or Four Ways to Rock Your Portrait Session.

Also, find me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!


Wedding Photography Prices

Wedding planning can be stressful.  However, your photography shouldn’t be.  Below is a listing of what you will receive through using Vanessa Thurgood Photography.

If a package listed here isn’t perfect for you, I will be happy to work with you to create a custom wedding photography experience with a collection of services and products that exactly suit the needs for your wedding day. 

Pricing for the 2018 year

Here is a PDF version of the Pricing should you need it.

ALL clients will be given:

  • A photo style guide, with suggestions on what to wear for your engagement session.
  • List of suggested vendors to take the stress out of other aspects of the wedding
  • A free client consultation to sort out the major details
  • A photo shot list for your family and guests for the day of the wedding. This way we can plan to get Grandma and Grandpa to a comfortable spot as quickly as possible.
  • A personal use print release so you can make additional prints to display in your home.
  • Couple photos (pre-wedding) the evening before the wedding. I highly recommend this so that we are not rushed and family won’t have to hang around too long after the wedding. Plus the lighting is amazing at this time of day so your photos will be gorgeous.

To help break down the cost, I offer payment plans so that we can capture every precious moment that you desire.

**Cost of travel is included in the listed prices!** 

If you know you can’t live without my assistance to make your wedding the dream come true it should be, please use the contact form to get in touch.  I look forward to working with you!

*All listed prices are subject to change at any given time unless defined in your contract.

Four Ways to Totally Rock Your Portrait Session


Portraits can seem intimidating to some people. You are the lone person in front of the camera and that can feel a bit unnerving for someone who has not had much experience with this. However, I want you to feel comfortable. I want you to feel like a RockSTAR, because the truth of it is, YOU ARE!

To help you be a RockSTAR, here are some simple tips to keep in mind.

Determine what type of shoot you are doing. Is it going to be rustic, by old barns and buildings? Is it going to be an urban shoot with an industrial feel? Are you going into the mountains or the woods?  Answering this one question will help you narrow down your wardrobe selection.

Wear complimentary colors.  Purples with yellows, greens and reds, oranges with blues, etc.  Or stick to the same palette, such as all neutrals.  However, as there is an exception to every rule, if you have a favorite accessory, or shirt, by all means wear it.  It will make your photos more authentic and increase how comfortable you are in front of the camera.

Wear different layers and textures.  This is the key to making one photo shoot look like several because you can change your outfit by simply adding a jacket or scarf.  With fashion, contrast is important.  So, if you have that cute little black dress, why not throw on some biker boots to give it some attitude?

For you girls, Heavier make up is a must.  It may feel a bit awkward if you are not used to it, but I can promise you that it will improve your portraits.  If you are unsure about doing it yourself, get a friend who is make up savvy or use one of these tutorials by Michelle Phan.  I have personally used several of her glam looks with great success.

Woman looking away from camera with hands near face.

I hope these tips help.  Be sure to check out A Style Guide For Your Engagement Photo Session: To help you look and feel your best if you are doing photos as a couple or for your engagements.

If you have found any tips that have worked for you, or you have tried some of my tips, please share! I would love to hear from you.

Until next week!


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Fresh Starts and New Beginnings

New Year’s Day = A Chance at a New YOU!

I love New Year’s Day.  When I wake up in the morning, if feels as though I left a hundred pound weight behind me and I am ready and excited to set out on my new goals.  I feel as though I can do anything.  I hope feel that same way too.

You ARE Beautiful

One of my goals this year is to help all my clients see just how beautiful they are.  You all are the reason I am here and I feel so blessed to serve you as you prepare for a wedding day or put together photos for you to use in your workspace.  You are beautiful and you are worth it.

Seeing It Through Til the Sun Shines Again

This couple put up with wild weather during our shoot.  It started out a bit windy and then it snowed! Quite a lot I might add.  By the end of the session, however, the sun had come out and it was positively dazzling.  Through it all they kept smiling and laughing.  I feel this is the way we all should approach our challenges.

A man and a woman standing in different directions. Man looking at woman. Woman looking at camera

When we see bad weather coming, I think we should face it head on, because after it’s all over, the sun appears and what we have accomplished is dazzling.  So here is to another year.  A better year.  A better and more successful you.

Comment with a goal you have set this year.  I would love to hear from you.

Until next week!


P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and hang out with me during the week on Instagram ( or Facebook (@vwtphotography)