THESE PORTRAIT TIPS ARE DESIGNED TO HELP MAKE SURE EACH SESSION GOES AS SMOOTH AS POSSIBLE SO THAT WE CAN FOCUS ON HAVING FUN WHILE CAPTURING BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS
1. 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 family photos look like? If they are soft and elegant? Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeal’s, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues. Want to showcase the fun and spunky side of your family? 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 flair to your images.
2. Make sure you and your family are well rested and well fed: Be certain not to schedule your photo session around your child’s nap or bedtime. The best time for lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise. If this is a bad time for your children, let me know and we will find a time that better works for you and your little ones. Don’t show up to a photo shoot on an empty stomach. I meet many families 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.
3. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get ready: Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. I always encourage mothers to have their hair and makeup professionally done. This will prepare mom for her pictures and when mom is feeling pretty and confident, this will reflect on the rest of the family as well. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up to a family 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.
4. Dads, please cheerfully participate: I know that many dads dread the family photo session, but fathers, please understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy, when your children are grown, with families of their own some day. Family photos are treasured forever and they are so important. Please, please, dads… cheerfully participate in your family photo session. Once you see your happy wife and amazing photographs, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.
5. Cheese is for crackers: Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
6. Have fun with your family: Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air. Give your wife a sweet kiss on the cheeck. Tell your husband how much you love him and appreciate him for being there for your family. Have fun. Laugh. Giggle. Joke. Embrace. Kiss. Snuggle. Play. Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the emotion and true beauty of your family. Leave the stiff “cheese” faces for Aunt Marge at the next family reunion. Show your photographer who you really are, so that she has the opportunity to capture your love through her lens.
7. Bring an activity that you enjoy doing together as a family: This gives you something to do with your hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to your face. Do you love to read together? Bring some books. Is your favorite dessert ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars or drumsticks to your session or better yet… hire an ice cream truck to come to your session. Love to play board games or cards? Plan to play a round of Uno or Monopoly during your family photo session. Other ideas include: football, piggy back rides, races, bike riding, hiking, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless. When families are engaged in doing something that they love together, the photographer will have the opportunity to take some beautiful and authentic photographs.
8. Not everyone has to be looking and smiling at the camera at the same time: Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.
9. Follow your children’s lead: If during your family photography session a child starts losing interest in a certain spot or pose, consider following their lead.
While you’ll want to encourage them to pose or smile for some of your photos, sometimes the best images come from the unplanned moments. These are the moments when your child gets distracted by a plant, wants to climb on something, or is playing.
When this occurs, switch gears. Play with your child or encourage your other children to follow their lead. You’ll get fun. relaxed photos of your family that will look far more natural than any pose you can come up with.
10. Come prepared: You can never be sure exactly how your kids will be feeling on the day of your family photography session. Bu there are a few things you can prepare ahead of time to help mitigate any mini-disasters.
One smart idea is to pack an emergency bag that will come to the shoot with you.
Pack snacks and small toys to occupy bored or hungry toddlers. Bring a change of clothes for any little ones that might have an accident or be prone to playing in the mud. You should also pack a few emergency items for the adults or older children in your group.
A stain stick can help save an outfit. Hairspray and a few bobby pins can fix a messed-up hairstyle. If mom wants to wear heels for a few of the photos, then a pair of comfortable shoes are also a good idea, to keep you comfortable towards the end of the shoot.
1. Outfits : Most couples have two outfits, one casual and one that is dressier. The BEST advice I can give about outfit selection would be to try to COORDINATE instead of matching. Try to stay away from really tiny patterns, they won’t show up in your images. Also, tastful jewelry, scarves, and colored shoes photograph really well! Make sure you look like YOU and feel comfortable!
Choose colors that go together and keep the same color palette as this will unify you together in the shots. Think about where we are shooting and choose appropriate clothes ie: if we are in the fields in winter think hats and scarves or on the beach in summer think sun dress and flip flops.
Think classic, no big motifs or wording on your clothes and nothing too fashionable as this will date your images quickly. If we are going to an appropriate location why not dress up a bit, a dress and heels looks fabulous or jeans, a shirt and suit jacket for the guys you will feel amazing and in turn look amazing.
Style it up – this really makes your photos sing. You could dress in a cute vintage way (not fancy dress!) perhaps a 40′s style dress and jeans and a waistcoat for your guy.
If it’s a winter shoot in the park don’t just pop your jeans, trainers and winter coat on…tights and a little skirt or tweed shorts, a chunky knit cardigan with a belt, hat scarf, gloves and cute knee high boots are far more stylish.
2. Preparing your Groom: This is the part that all of you brides need to pay attention to! You know your groom better than anyone else and so only you can help prepare him for this shoot. If your fiance’ is completely unaware of this style of photography, he is going to think it’s really strange when I tell you two to “Nuzzle” or get “Nose to nose”. He’s expecting a few pictures smiling at the camera, showing off the ring and that’s it! So it’s your job to explain to him why you love this style of photography and help him know what to expect! I suggest sitting down with him and showing him some of your favorite engagement sessions that I’ve shot to give him an idea of what he’s about to experience! :)
3. Relax & Trust Your Photographer : As you’re preparing for your engagement session, remember that your photographer doesn’t expect you to be a pro at this. I work with normal, everyday couples ALL the time. I hardly ever work with models!
I can’t speak for all photographers but I tell my couples that it takes a good 20 minutes to warm up at the beginning of their shoot. So relax and don’t be nervous! You’re going to be great at this! Trust your photographer, allow them to be creative and you’ll have an amazing shoot!
4. Be on Time: This is really important. What most couples don’t realize is that natural light photographers are 100% dependent on the sun and if their couples show up late, they will lose that amount of time during their session due to the lack of light. Now I realize that things happen beyond out control like massive amounts of traffic and accidents. If at all possible, try to be on time so that you don’t lose any of your shooting time and pretty sunlight!
5. Location and Time: The best time to shoot any portraits is normally 2 hours after sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. This rule of thumb can be applied to any time of the year. When it comes to picking the location for your portraits, I love shooting engagements in locations that mean something to my clients! I understand that this isn’t always possible but I like to throw it out there just in case!
6. Hair, Makeup & Ring Cleaner: Some brides opt to have their makeup trial done right before their engagement session so that they can see what their makeup will look like in pictures before the wedding day! I highly recommend this! It’s always fun when a bride gets her hair and makeup done for her shoot! If you want to do your own makeup, make sure you apply your eye makeup a little heavier than normal for your pictures.
Last but not least, I will be taking a ring shot! So if your diamond could use a little cleaning, that would make it really SHINE!
7. Props: Think about the kind of props that might go with the shoot you have chosen. Perhaps you have decided on a woodland picnic in which case you could bring a beautiful picnic blanket, hamper, pretty plates, and gorgeous looking food like strawberries, cupcakes, olives.
You could bring a vintage tea-pot or a bottle of lemonade and glasses with fun straws. If you are going strawberry picking bring a pretty basket, a woodland winter walk maybe a knitted blanket to hang round your shoulders and a flask of hot chocolate, even a bunch of flowers looks great as it looks like you are on a ‘date’.
If you do decide to bring props make them stylish, sandwiches in a carrier bag doesn't quite make the cut for a photo session! Props can really ‘make’ a photo, they are also fun and make your images unique to you.
8. Hobbies and Pets: Incorporating hobbies is another way to make your shoot personal to you as a couple. Obviously Zumba and squash might not work but both in cute golf outfits out on the course, boating or perhaps cycling (think vintage bikes with baskets) are great ideas.
If you have a pet this is something we could incorporate too they are after all part of your little family. Bringing your dog along will be sure to make it a fun experience!
9. Activities: Activities are fabulous in engagement shoots, they give you something fun and natural to do while making the shoot individual and interesting.
You could hire a rowing boat on a local lake, do you have a horse and could go horse riding, does your dad have a vintage car you could borrow for a country drive or how about a vintage camper, you could visit an antique market, hire a tandem bike, or how about a picnic or trip strawberry picking?
Fruit fields look fabulous and strawberry picking is a great activity that is fun and looks very cute in the images. Take a picnic to the woods or beach for some really romantic shots. Ice cream in an a cute little ice cream shop is always a sweet idea. Again any experience you can be seen sharing makes the images really romantic.
1. Plan several outfits to bring: Depending on the senior package you decide to go with, you should arrange to bring several outfits to your photo session in a variety of colors, not just your favorite hue. Usually it will be two or three outfits – but include different styles, such as casual, semiformal, formal or outdoors, so you can take several pictures and get your best shots. Remember to bring accessories for all outfits, from footwear to jewelry and hair accents. Since several full-body shots are also taken for purchase, check shoes to be sure they are clean and that both socks match – that full-body shot could end up being your favorite pose. Check your clothing ahead of time to make sure it isn’t spotted or faded, and transport your outfits (you can wear one when you arrive) on hangers to prevent wrinkles.
2. Keep your clothing visually simple: Don’t bring outfits with words or designs, stripes or pictures, except possibly your school logo. You want your face, eyes and expression to command attention, not the words on your shirt.
3. Give consideration to color: Solid colors are recommended for most or all outfits. Colors that go well with a medium or dark background for close-ups include medium or dark tones of green, brown, rust, wine or blue.
Darker shades tend to make people look slimmer. For outside pictures, I recommend colors of sky blue, pale green, watermelon and dark peach to complement the outdoor setting. For fall, consider wearing red, gold, deep orange, emerald green and dark green. I recommend making a mood board on Pinterest to get an idea of the type of color schemes that will look good for the style you are going for.
4. Use clothing to accentuate your best features: Girls may want to forego short sleeves or spaghetti straps if their arms are heavy, since these styles will only accentuate that feature. Turtleneck tops look best on people with long necks. Round and square faces look good in a square-neck top, while thin faces or pointed chins are attractive with rounded-neck tops.
5. Go easy on the jewelry: Avoid wearing attention-grabbing jewelry. Again, the photograph should accentuate your face, eyes and personality, not draw unwarranted attention to your jewelry.
Also, jewelry can date a photograph very quickly. Classic jewelry pieces are best.
6. Apply makeup normally: It’s tempting to get very “glam” when having pictures taken, but this could very well make you look like a stranger in your senior portrait. Apply your makeup as you normally look on a day-to-day basis, at the most, apply your eye makeup a smidge heavier but bring your makeup with you and let the photographer know you have it. If the photographer feels you need a touch more blush or eyeshadow, he or she will let you know. Avoid glitter or sparkly anything (powder, eye shadow, blush) – it tends to reflect the flash and leaves white spots. Also avoid too much lip gloss. It can also leave white spots from the flash or make you look like you’re drooling. If you have it, bring along some translucent powder. While in real life, a bit of shine to the face gives you that “dewy glow,” it unfortunately can look like “too much glow” in photos. Your photographer can direct you if you need to dab some powder on your forehead or nose.
7. Go with practiced hair styles: Getting senior portraits done is not the time to leave your hair uncombed for that “natural” look. Also, avoid experimental hairstyles. In general, friends and family prefer to remember you as you looked most of your senior year, not just during the period when you had your pictures taken. Get a haircut at least a week in advance to give your hair a chance to adjust and look natural. Girls having their hair styled for a formal picture can, of course, wait until the photo session day to get their hair done, but they should practice with their hair stylist beforehand so there are no surprises on picture day.
8. Guys need a fresh shave: A fresh shave for guys is recommended, and moustaches or beards should be neatly trimmed.
9. Stay away from tans: Don’t overdo the tanned look. For one thing, it looks unnatural. For another, your pictures could reveal peeling skin or a cherry-red nose.
10. Help your glasses avoid glare: Either buy or borrow a pair of suitable frames without lenses to prevent glare and reflections from the glass.
Or you can ask your optician to remove the lenses from your frames for the photo session. Most will do this for you at no charge, but give them plenty of notice so there is no rush.
11. Make sure your hands are presentable: Like shoes, hands can show up in some of your favorite poses, so be sure to take the time to make them presentable – guys should trim their nails, and girls might need to touch up their manicure.
12. Work on your poses: Although the photographer will arrange your standing and sitting positions for a variety of shots, you can try out different stances and positions at home, in front of a mirror, or by asking for feedback from a friend or family member.
The overall goal is to appear natural and upbeat. Popular poses include a seated shot that highlights your face. Full body pictures are taken, as well, showing a person standing, sitting, or crouching in a relaxed manner. Outdoor shots typically make use of background fences, trees, and attractive or interesting doorways. Also before you go to the photo shoot, practice your facial expressions in front of a mirror at home. You can try various smiles, serious but relaxed looks, and animated expressions for action shots (with sports gear, for example).
13. Personalize your photos with props: Many photographers will invite you to bring favorite props to the shoot, such as sports equipment if you are a team player or fan, musical instruments, or hobby items. You can even bring a favorite portable piece of furniture, such as a lightweight chair or stool. Usually you can even bring your pet to appear in some of the shots with you.
14. Bring someone with you: Most photographers welcome you to bring a friend if that person can help make you relax and take a natural picture.
That person can also help with clothing changes and “double check” you while you’re being photographed to make sure your clothing hasn’t taken a turn for the worse or that your hair hasn’t come all undone.