I’m so excited for your portrait session! Whether I’m photographing your sweet family or your graduating senior, or doing a session to celebrate a special moment in your life, like your wedding anniversary, a pregnancy or a newborn baby, modern school portraits, headshots or a lifestyle branding session in your small business, I want you to know that I’m honored to be your photographer and humbled that you’ve trusted me with the responsibility of helping you create memories you’ll look back on and cherish for a lifetime.
My goal is simple: for your session to be as fun and stress-free as possible! That’s why I’ve created this guide just for you! The following will help you get the absolute most out of your photos. By the time you’ve read through it, you'll have all of your questions answered and feel ready and prepared for your session!
This guide is packed with my best tips, tricks and insider secrets for scheduling and styling your portrait session –– and everything in between. Your only job is to be yourself, laugh a lot, have fun and let me do the rest! I can’t wait to get you in front of my camera and I’m so excited to see you soon!
TIPS & TRICKS
It’s not uncommon for people to want to shop for new, sparkly, fabulous clothes to wear to a photoshoot. And that’s totally fine - if that’s your jam. But let’s talk about comfort a little more. Do you think you’d be more comfortable in your favorite t-shirt and jeans or a new clingy little black dress? The best route is usually to go with something that’s tried and true. Something you know moves with you and hugs you in all the right places. Don’t get me wrong - it 100% does not have to be jeans and a t-shirt. You can glam it up a bit more if that’s what you fancy. But if authenticity is what you’re after, you’re going to have to show up as yourself. And if you want to capture this time of your life in all its glory, then it’s about the feeling of being in your own skin.
Match Your Environment
Plan your outfits around what you know about the conditions at the location we'll be shooting at. You'll want to be warm enough (or cool enough!), have pain-free feet, and look relatively native to your environment. For at home sessions, slip into your comfy jeans and a white t-shirt, for glowing sunset sessions, put on the flowing dress that makes you feel like a queen! The idea is to authentically capture you!
Incorporate Texture & Movement
Pick fabrics that move and flow with you. Ones that add a cozy texture, or get picked up by the wind, filter the late afternoon sun and glow. Natural fibers like linen, cotton or wool are amazing. Avoid stiff-seeming garments with collars as they look a bit too formal and often get tucked in weird spots.
Aim for neutrals, earthy tones, and metallics. These colors compliment the outdoor environment almost anywhere you go and look great as a printed, framed photograph.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a beige world of quiet and inoffensive colors. By neutrals, I just mean softer tones. Primary colors are incredibly striking, but can sometimes have the effect of detracting from the main subject (which is you). So for example, instead of electric blue, go for something closer to sky blue. Instead of bright orange, opt for ochre or apricot.
A rule of thumb here is to choose to either complement your
natural environment or contrast
it. A mustard dress in a deep
green forest will look epic,
whereas a bright pink, patterned dress doesn’t really fit in with your surroundings. It totally depends
on what you’re looking for!
For families it’s best to keep your color scheme limited to four colors. You can choose one person to wear a feature color and have everyone else’s outfits complement that.
These colors, the ones that look incredible together, are called complementary colors. They complement each other and create a visual harmony. They’re salt and pepper, Bonnie and Clyde, peanut butter and jelly. Complementary colors sit across from one another on the colour wheel (i.e. blue and orange, red and green, yellow and purple).
But it’s not all about contrast. We’re all built so differently and respond to color combinations differently. For those less taken by the ‘pop,’ analogous colors could be the way to go. Analogous colors are next to each other on the
color wheel, and can be quite soothing to the eye. Think of the jungle and all of the lush variations of green, or the ocean and the infinite hues of blue.
Complement each other, don’t match each other.
You don’t want to create the illusion of being your partner’s siamese twin. When multiple people wear the same color,
sometimes their matching outfits blend together so much that you can’t really see any of them properly. The viewer can’t tell where one person begins
and another one ends. They turn into one uniform blob. In order for the aesthetics of your photograph to really sing, you want to find complementary outfits that showcase a variety of colors,
textures, accessories, patterns, and tones. Complement the other people in the photograph as well as your surroundings. The idea is to have everything look good together without everything looking the same.
Make-up & Hair
So this is totally your call! But, if I may… I would suggest cultivating the au-natural that balances elegance and ease so well. I want you to look like you. So do whatever you need to do to feel confident and beautiful.
Hands tell such a story about who you are and where you’ve been and play a crucial role in portrait photography. Sometimes photographs magnify bright nail polish, chipped manicures, and dirty fingernails. And once you see it, you can’t un-see it--your eye just keeps on zooming in on that one bit of the photograph. It’s really distracting. Treat
yourself to a little subtle manicure or make sure your nails are neat and tidy before the shoot.
As for hair... I’m a sucker for the way a wild mane blows in the breeze. Up-dos are alright, and I totally get it--it’s so easy to throw your hair up! But when it comes to saving a moment and putting it in your pocket, hair down is the way to go. With your hair down, you get movement, you get interest, you get some perfect slices of imperfection in the best possible way.