Portrait Pre-Session Guide

Families and couples should coordinate, but don’t need to match or wear the exact same shirt or color. Pick a cool or warm color scheme. Cool colors are blue, purple, and green. Warm colors are red, orange, and yellow. Also, stick to the shoe rule, have everyone wear clothes that go with either black or brown shoes.

For children, avoid clothing with pictures or logos on the front, simple prints are OK.

Solid colors look best, avoid busy prints (like plaid men’s shirts).

Dark jeans for adults are generally a good choice. If you wear a dress or skirt make sure it’s long enough to sit in.

Fit is important, as anything too tight or too loose will be noticeable.

Wear colors and clothes that you feel good in and that look good on you (please avoid white as it’s brighter than skin, your eye is drawn to the brightest part of the picture).

And remember, shoes will show!

If you’re shooting outdoors, be ready to put your hair up and make it look nice in case of a windy day. Bring bobby pins, hair clips, headbands or any other favorite accessories.

When it comes to red eyes, Visine is your friend. Not getting drunk the night before your shoot helps, too.

You will probably wipe or lick your lips during your shoot, so bring fresh lip gloss or lipstick to do touch-up.

A subtle application of make-up can really soften your skin and accent your facial features. But make sure you know what you’re doing, and make sure it matches your skin tone, or your face may look orange compared to the rest of your body.

Men, be freshly shaved with a new razor and use aftershave to avoid bumps and redness. Trim up your beard, sideburns, mustache or goatee, especially looking for stray hairs. Ladies, even if you have some light facial hair (particularly around your lip or chin), indulge in a waxing in advance of your shoot – even barely-there light facial hair will be noticeable in your photos. Both men and women pluck and clean up those eyebrows.

Dry skin can really detract from a great photo shoot. Start moisturizing nightly a week in advance of your shoot.

A fresh coat of nail polish will make a world of difference in your photo shoot. Pick a neutral color that won’t distract in your shoot or clash with your outfits.

Avoid high salt and high fat foods for two to three days in advance of your shoot. Being bloated will sap your confidence and comfort in front of the camera.

If you iron, iron the night before and then hang the clothes for your shoot. If you’re wearing something that wrinkles easily, don’t wear it in the car on the way to the shoot – just change at the location.

Use a wash cloth to clean away kid's flaky skin and eye boogers, trim those tiny fingernails and toenails with appropriate baby trimmers.

Unless you are extremely thin you may want to wear something that covers your upper-arms. Long- or 3/4-sleeve tops are very flattering.

If you wear jewelry, aim for subtlety, and be aware of it twisting or turning.

Bring a variety of outfits – something casual, something stylish, ladies slip a dress in there to throw folks off, fellas try a formal look to impress. Wear what you think you look best in, but take the opportunity to also try a new look, just to surprise folks.

Bring items of interest - instrument, sports gear like a volleyball or baseball bat, your beloved (or cursed) high school car, or sunglasses. Your photos should be unique to your life and personality.

Feel free to run your clothing ideas by me or bring several options with you to the shoot.


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