Helpful tips to prep for your portrait session
Above all else, keep it simple and make sure you feel good in what you’re wearing. If you don’t feel great in what you’re wearing, it will show in your images.
Avoid patterns, stripes, prints, and busy necklines. Tops with these will distract and draw attention away from your face, which is not good for a portrait.
For women, it’s a good idea to try on your top(s) with your bra in front of a bright light and mirror to check for transparency. Studio lights may shine through thin fabrics. If you have long, darker-colored hair that is longer than your shoulders it tends to blend in to dark tops, so try lighter-colored tops instead. If you really love your arms tank tops can work great. And when it comes to long or short sleeves, long sleeves tend to work better for portraits than short sleeves. Also consider wearing lighter-colored tops if you have wrinkles that you’re not excited about. Darker-colored tops tend to draw attention to wrinkles.
Clothing Dos and Don’ts
Do make sure your clothes are clean and dress shirts are pressed the day before your session.
Do bring a variety of colors and necklines.
Do dress the part. If you’re shooting for business purposes, a solid-colored button up shirt is a good place to start. It’s not a bad idea to bring a white one and some sort of color one just in case.
Do experiment with textures and layering pieces, they look great in photographs!
Do go shopping if you feel that your wardrobe is lacking. Just keep the receipt and the tags on if you want to return them after your shoot.
Don’t wear jewelry, but if you have to, nothing more than small studs and simple necklaces. Chunky jewelry distracts from your face and doesn’t work for portraits.
Don’t be seasonal. Every article of clothing in your closet is fair game!
Don’t wear high-collared tops and jackets as they will make your neck appear shorter.
Don’t wear baggy or loose clothing as it will add extra, unwanted weight that isn’t really there.
Don’t wear pastel colors if you have lighter skin. These types of colors will wash you out and make you look even MORE pale.
Hair & grooming
Come to your session with your hair ready to shoot. Wear it how you’d normally wear it for a date, important meeting, or interview. It’s a good idea to bring your brush or a comb just in case.
Avoid overuse of hair products and getting your hair cut the day before your session. If you need a trim, schedule it about a week in advance. This gives the follicles time to relax and grow in to look more natural.
PRO TIP: Depending on your hair type, not washing your hair for a couple of days will allow the natural greases to build up and hold products better allowing you to use less.
For women, sometimes adding wave or curl to your hair can look great in portraits. You just want to make sure that it’s done in a manner that looks most like you. Don’t try to do something with your hair that you normally wouldn’t do. I recommend playing around before hand to test it out.
Working with a makeup artist
If you’re planning on hiring a makeup artist for your session follow these guidelines to get the best results!
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! Also use an oil-free moisturizer prior to your session. Removing hair from the facial skin ensures that your foundation goes on smoothly and prevents applied powder from becoming attached to these fine hairs, which are very visible in your portraits. A drugstore depilatory cream will easily remove facial fuzz. Popular brands include Sally Hansen and Oil of Olay. To make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction, conduct a patch test a few days before your session. You can also use a traditional razor and just shave it. Yes, shave it! It’s a myth that by shaving the hair it will grow back darker and thicker. Plus, shaving removes the top layer of dead skin. This can lighten and plump your skin through constant cellular rejuvenation. Yay science!
Avoid heavy sun exposure and excessive partying and drinking at least 1-2 days before your session. Make sure you’re drinking lots of water. This will keep you hydrated and help your skin look better.
For women it is very helpful to wax and manicure your eyebrows and remove facial fuzz 3 or more days before your session, just in case you have a skin reaction. Don’t go overboard with your brows. They frame your beautiful face and are there for a reason!
For Men, make sure facial hair is neatly groomed and free from debris, including eyebrows! If you normally wear a clean-shaven look, but want to try some photos with facial hair, simply bring your shaving effects and shave at the studio or venue.
Wearing a heavy beard and shaving the day before is NOT recommended because you will irritate the pores on your face causing redness and blemishes that can be difficult to retouch.
Shaving at the studio or venue can take a little time so, if it is office photo day you will most likely have a limited amount of time in front of the camera and it is important that we maximize our time together to get the best shots. If this is the case I recommend coming ready to shoot.