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Photo Shoot Tips

Photo Session Tips

Getting Ready for your Photo Session:

Remember that planning goes a long way toward making your portrait session successful! The portrait is collaboration between the photographer and the subject. Please take a few moments to look over the following suggestions to see how you may participate in the planning of your successful portrait.

Relax! Have Fun! A photo shoot should be fun and creative. Enjoy yourself and do not worry! We will strive to get the best photograph - even if we have to reschedule the shoot due to a fussy child or other unforeseen reasons.

Pre-Photo Shoot Interview:

If possible, scheduling an in-person interview is the ideal. This way, your creativity and vision can be discussed and can determine whether a photo shoot is feasible. Planning the expectations of the session is important so that the main goals are achieved in the limited time frame, and all parties are not disappointed in what could or could not have been achieved. Additionally, the photographer can glean a sense of personality so that the session can be planned accordingly.

Sleep and Fluid Intake:

Try to get a good night’s sleep before the session and drink lots of water. Doing this will reduce puffy eyes.

Children’s Portraits:

If there is a theme, plan ahead with the photographer to ensure props can be obtained in advance. For baby and newborn photography sessions, prepare a few favorite treats and plan the session after nap or feeding time. Provide a favorite toy or blanket for the child’s comfort.

Family Portraits:

If there is a favorite family activity, plan ahead with the photographer so that the theme can be created in advance.

Color Theme:

Choose a color theme that simplifies the look of your portrait. Too many busy patterns and colors are especially distracting. Colors should be harmonious. Coordinate the clothing for all subjects in a group portrait so that one person will not dominate the scene. Color coordination lends harmony to the portrait.

Dark Clothing tends to minimize body size, and light tones tend to emphasize body size. Most people look best in darker colors. Choosing solid colors is usually flattering to everyone. A busy pattern is distracting.

Shoes and socks are often overlooked as a significant aspect of portrait clothing. They should complement, not contrast the outfit. Carefully consider your apparel from head to toe as a variety of full length and close up poses may be taken.

Dress for Small Children:

While cute, play clothes detract from your professionally made portrait. Stick with the basic guidelines for adults. Long sleeves are not required.

Dress for Business Portraits:


With “Business Attire”, a pure white shirt will emphasize your neck rather than your face. Pastel, thin striped, or a soft patterned shirt with a subtle tie is preferred. You may want to bring extra clothing and accessories “just in case”, and we will help you decide if something else would coordinate better.


A solid color with black, gray, brown, khaki, or navy works well. Do not wear busy patterns, or bright colors, which could be distracting. Red or burgundy will sometimes work well, depending on the client and business. Watch the makeup and hair – do not over do it! Look just like you would appear in the business environment with your customers. In other words, look natural!

Dress for Outdoor Portraits:

As a background, the outdoors is very busy. It is important to choose only one or two theme colors. While blues are excellent all year; white, ivory, khaki, and salmon are great against lush green foliage. Burgundy, brown, tan and gray are nice colors for late in the season. Avoid all greens, as they clash with Mother Nature. The simplicity of two colors helps separate the subject from the scenery. Busy backgrounds and busy clothes result in hard to find faces. Jeans and sweaters always look good outdoors. Please do not wear any large, broad rim hats which might cast a shadow over the eyes.


1. Simplicity is the best policy.

2. Avoid busy patterns, prints, and bright colors.

3. Wear solid colors.

4. Avoid wearing yellow or green as they can adversely affect skin color.

5. Shoes and socks should match the rest of the outfit.

6. Teens and adults should wear long sleeves to cover elbows.

7. Women should not wear any prominent jewelry. Large earrings are especially distracting, unless this is a fashion shoot and certain accessories are showcased.

8. Women should apply standard makeup with a light foundation. Don’t overdo it.

9. Guys remember that a fresh shave is better than a five o'clock shadow.

10. Now is not the time to experiment with a new hairstyle. Keep it simple.

11. If you wear eyeglasses, consider asking your eye doctor for a pair of frames without lenses. This will cut down the glare that eyeglasses can cause if flash is used.

12. Everyone should avoid wearing short pants. Long pants are always most flattering in a portrait.

13. Guys make sure your collar is freshly pressed and wrinkle free.

14. Turtlenecks are always flattering.

15. When it doubt, stick with the classic styles. They will always look good.

When you follow these tips and coordinate your dress from head to toe, you are well on your way to a perfect portrait!