So you want portraits done?

So you’re ready for your portraits. As your photographer I am going to do my very best to prepare and give you a great experience for your session. Since I want you to get the most out of your experience, I decided to give you some tips and tricks to help along the way.

Try to be well rested and fed. The best time for lighting is the morning around 8:00 am and evening around 4:00 pm. If this is a bad time for you, talk with me. Good photographers will be able to shoot at any time of day by utilizing areas of open shade that will give your skin a beautiful hue and put a sparkle in your eyes. Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. I meet many people who come to a photo session with dinner scheduled at the end. If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot. 

Choose your clothing carefully. Have your clothing chosen way in advance and make sure that your outfit choices are comfortable and attractive. What do your dream photos look like? Are they are soft and elegant? Choose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side? Choose coordinating colors (but not matchy, matchy) with bold accent colors, such as hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents. Adding fun accessories like scarves, headbands, hats, etc. can add a modern twist and sassy flair to your images. Although you may like them, try to avoid clothing with printed figures, characters, writing, or shapes. You may want a general t-shirt with print on your shirt but it’s not best for your portraits.

Pay attention to the details before your session. Things like chipped nail polish, chapped lips, and dirty glasses are not going to help your photos look the best. I like to think of going head to toe beforehand. Spray down flyaway hairs, patt down oily forehead and nose skin with tissue or powder (yes I mean on men too), noses are clean and wiped, nothing in your teeth, chapped lips have Chapstick, no stains on clothes, clothes are wrinkle free, no hair bands on wrists, no chipped polish, use a lint roller, zippers are up, nothing in pockets, shoes are clean, etc. Doing a lookover of yourself before you start is a guarantee to get great portraits.

Leave plenty of time to prepare before your session. Although I arrive 20-30 minutes early to every session, this is not the time to prepare the way you can before I show up. People are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that they are dressed and ready. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When someone shows up to a photo session rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.

Do a little research and communicate to aid in your session. I as a photographer have spent years getting my degree, doing internships, and have years and years of experience behind me. I know how to do my job but I still cannot know what you don’t share. Communicate with me the feel you want. The look you want. What you want to feel when you look at these photos. Maybe you can even google some poses you may want me to know before your session. If you see a nice posing idea, share it with me and I will do my very best to make the session satisfying. 

Relax and don’t force smiles. Please, leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found people who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese!” Yelling and demanding to look at the camera to smile will only stress the subjects(not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow me to naturally interact and talk with you. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help me capture the true essence of your personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.

Have fun with your time. Don’t be afraid to give your partner a sweet kiss on the cheek. Tell your partner how much you love them and appreciate them for being there for you. Imagine Jason Momoa is behind me or Beyoncé is smiling at you. Whatever you need. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow me to capture the emotion and true beauty of you. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show me who you really are, so that I have the opportunity to capture you through my lens.