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  • Writer's pictureDiamond Israel

How I Ease Those Before the Session Butterflies

It's the night before a session you've been booked for and the nerves are setting in, we've all been there. Here's what I do to keep my cool and deliver my best for my clients experience.

First to note, let's take a deep breath and acknowledge that you're not the only creative or photographer that gets the before the session scaries. We ALL do at some point or another, it's part of the job! As a young performer I used to always get major anxiety before hitting the stage, I'm talking the heightened heart rate, the cold sweats, the nausea, and all the rapid thoughts. Truly, I used to think I was crazy. Until a smart young woman told me, "If you don't get nervous before you preform, you don't care too much about what you're about to leave out on that stage." And that sentence has stuck with me in every area of my life for over a decade.

Why do we get nervous to preform in the first place? Let me put it simple for you: because we care about our work. We want to show up as our best self and provide the best we can, no matter what industry it is we're in, and we want the people we're serving and preforming for to love their experience as much as we love providing it. So, I learned that my feelings are valid and they're there because I care deeply about what I'm doing. At the same constitute, no one LIKES feeling anxious, right? So we also have to learn to give ourselves grace, and remember that you booked this job because they wanted YOU.

This is my first lil tip, you gotta give yourself more credit!! Rest assured that you are capable of doing what you love, you've probably done it a dozen times by now. You just have to remind yourself sometimes that you know what you're doing and your clients already love your work and who you are, thats why you booked this job in the first place! Now that we've gotten the most important part out of the way: I.e. the mental aspect, lets dive into what I do to reduce those before the session butterflies and stress!

I Pack My Bag the Night Before

You would not believe the amount of stress this takes off my shoulders. It's almost laughable lol. But! As someone who would forget her own head if it wasn't screwed on, I found that taking the time out of my day to charge up all my batteries, clean all my lenses, check my SD cards, and pack it all up nice and neat, then setting my bag by the door the night before a session eliminates extra pressure the day of.

This way, I have a full 24 hour window prior to my session day to double, triple, sometimes quadruple check if I'm really feeling it, my bag and to ensure that I have it all ready to go. So that when I wake up all I have to worry about is making myself look human, sending a quick sweet text to my clients, and eating something yummy for my tummy. Which brings us to our next tip!

I Eat a Bomb Ass Breakfast

EAT SOMETHING. Listen, I know that sometimes when we're feeling anxious, we don't have the urge to scarf down a plate of food. However, please just do it anyway. I have made the mistake too many times of neglecting to fuel my body before meeting with clients and I don't know about you guys, but if I haven't eaten... the brain fog is REAL.

Now, I'm not telling you to ovveerr eat, or to eat until you feel like you can't move. I'm telling you to nourish your body at the start of the day with some nutrient dense food so you feel good while doing what you love. Breakfast is, in fact, the most important meal of the day. So break your fast with foods that won't upset your stomach but will also fuel you throughout the day. Some of my favorite session day breakfasts and snacks are listed right here. :)

I Check Out the Private Pinterest Board I Made for that Session

One thing I'm so grateful I started doing for my clients and myself is using and abusing the heck out of Pinterest.

I know, I know, I'm probably a little late to the game when it comes to creating private client mood boards on Pinterest. However, I've found that I'm not the only one who didn't know about this! So what I do is after my client books with me and we've discussed all the details about their story, and what kind of vibe they are going for, I hop over to Pinterest and get to work. I create a private board labeled with the clients name(s) and I begin to make a mood board based off of location, outfits that would look nice, poses, etc. I create a visual representation of what it is I think they're wanting me to create for them, and then I invite them to the board to check it out and see if I got the vibes correct. From there the client can use that board as a guide or for reference when choosing outfits and to honestly calm their nerves, and to have a visual of what to look forward to as well. I like to look at this board right before the session as a little refresher and well as inspiration I can use during their shoot. I might swipe through it the night before a session but almost always I look at it while I'm waiting for my clients to arrive! Which again kinda ties into the next tip...


Alright, so if you’re reading this and you know me personally, meaning outside of my business, you're probably laughing at the title of this section. I'm going to expose myself here and just let it be known, outside of business related things, I'm pretty much always late to everything. To the point where my friends will tell me the wrong time to show up to something so I actually show up at the right time. It's just a little 'flaw' I guess you could say I have. Thankfully they all still love me😅

When it comes to business though, I don't play. I know my time management is usually a little skewed, so I have to trick my brain by telling myself to leave an exponential amount of time earlier for a session. I do this for a few reasons:

#1- It is ALWAYS better to be early than right on time when meeting with clients.

#2- Leaving a lot earlier allows me time to make any stops along the way if need be, scope out any location spots where we're shooting, or sit in my car while blasting my feel good jams and scrolling through my clients Pinterest board we just talked about.

#3- It gives me peace of mind.

Above all else, allowing myself extra time before a session allows me to do anything I need to do to relax or chill prior to jumping into crazy camera lady mode. I've found that just a couple minutes of breath work and positive affirmations whether spoken or sang from your favorite song prior to my clients arriving sends my brain into creative, social, hype woman mode.


Pump up those jams!!! I am a firm believer in the power of music. Music has the ability to influence our mood exponentially. So turn on those guilty pleasure tunes, blast those feel good songs, have a dance party in your car on the way to your session. Music, music, music!!! Me personally, I love listening to my early 2000's pop punk playlist because it allows me to reminisce and yell out any nerves that I may still have in my body 😅. You can't ever go wrong with Paramore, am I right?

Another playlist I love listening to is this "Elastic Happiness" playlist. It's full of a lot of indie artists and dance music. Overall, I just enjoy listening to music that I know and can sing along to as well as move my body and bop around. Dancing is for-sure one of my versions of therapy and always has been for as long as I could remember. You might feel a little silly, or look a little crazy but let me assure you, you will feel so much better! Move that body and have a good time!

Create the vibe and energy for yourself that you want to carry through your session with your clients.

I Breathe.

The end all be all! Just breathe love. At the very end of it all, we have to remember who we are and why we're here. Your clients hired you to take their photos because they love your work and they love how they connected with you. You already booked the job baby! Now it's just time to do what you do best, and deliver YOU. Before I get out of my car to meet my clients I almost always take about three deep breaths with one hand over my heart and one hand on my belly and I really feel myself breathing in and out while thinking about something I'm grateful for on each breath. This technique has done me wonders just by the fact that it requires to me to be present and to express gratitude.

Well, there you have it! Those are my tips on how to ease those before the session butterflies! Remember that no matter how long you've been doing your job, those little flutters are normal and they are there to remind you that you care about what you're doing. Sometimes we just need to be aware of why they're there and take the steps necessary to calm them just a bit! If you have any tips or before session rituals that you do, drop them in the comments on this post! I'd love to hear what y'all do!


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