Preparing for a Portrait Session

I wanted to put together some prep details ahead of time, so you and/or your family feel as prepared as possible. Following these suggestions will help us both make the best images together.

It’s important that you are well-rested on the day of your session. You want you to look your best and getting enough sleep the night before is an excellent first step. Allow yourself extra time to perfect your wardrobe, style yourself, and travel. I recommend arriving for your session early. You can enjoy a few moments of relaxation before we begin.

It is unnecessary to accessorize with props unless we’ve already discussed it. As you know, I specialize in creating timeless portraits. I find keeping themes simple allows for real moments, expressions, and interactions.

I recommend having your hands free throughout the session, so I’d prefer not to have you carry extra clothing, a purse or bag, drinks, or anything else. You can leave these items at our starting location, most likely in your vehicle. If need be, we can come back half-way through the session to change and freshen up.

Throughout your session, you’re encouraged to embrace whatever mood you’re feeling. Relax, laugh, and have a good time. Portraits are best when you are yourself. It’s important to remember - just because there is a camera pointing at you, you don’t have to look at the camera. Sometimes the most meaningful images are when you’re enjoying a moment instead of posing.

Here are a few other prep details and suggestions:

  • Simplicity is always best, so when in doubt keep in mind that “less is more.”

  • Avoid patterns and stripes.

  • Avoid logos, as they can be distracting.

  • Neutral colors such as beige, white, black, tan and grey, often photograph the best. They complement your skin tones and don’t conflict with common background elements.

  • Wear clothing that fits properly. A proper fit that allows you to move and feel comfortable will help you look more confident in your portrait.

  • Always dress with the full length in mind. Include shoes and socks in your wardrobe consideration. Shoe styles should be simple and not distracting.

  • If you normally wear glasses, wear them for your session as you want you to look like you usually do. Don’t worry about shine or glare, as I know how to work around it.

  • Wear minimal jewelry for your portrait. Jewelry that you wear daily is fine, but I prefer not to have you accessorize and add extra jewelry that you usually wouldn’t wear. We should keep it simple, and its color should be neutral and non-distracting.

  • I recommend avoiding a professional tan or tanning outdoors before your session. A fresh tan may look good in person, but the camera is more sensitive to skin tones, and your natural color is always more flattering in photographs.

  • For hair and makeup, keep it natural as opposed to going too over-the-top. You may be more comfortable having your hair and make-up professionally done, or you may be more comfortable doing it yourself. Whichever you choose, it is crucial that you feel beautiful and confident.

For a visual guide, please see the Pinterest Board I compiled for ‘What to Wear

Well, that’s it! I’ll be updating this blog post from time to time.