PORTRAIT TIPS

 

The purpose of portraits is to put the main focus on the person being photographed, not the clothing or the props which should only compliment the bigger picture. When choosing your clothing, let it coordinate with your choice of background. Make sure you discuss the background color with your photographer before the photo shoot. If your background is going to be dark, then choose dark clothing that will compliment that look but not fade into the background too much. If your background is going to be light, choose light clothing. This doesn’t mean that if your background is going to be black that you have to wear a black shirt. You should coordinate your colors so that your faces stand out as the center of attention and your clothes act as a complimentary tone. After all, you are taking the time for a portrait session so I want to give you the tools to make a beautiful portrait. I encourage timeless clothing, to insure that your photos stand the test of time (and trends!)  Bold colors or earth tones with fun accessories such as hats, scarves, etc. are fantastic.  However, think about shying away from any clothing with name brands, pictures, or words on them, which can detract from your child or family and give the photographs a dated look. 

~ non-distracting colors 

~ neutral tones

~ think of the details (jewelry, nail color, socks...)


When scheduling your outdoor photo session, it is important to know that the time of day affects your photo shoot. Indoor photography doesn’t matter because you are not using the sun as your primary light source. The most flattering light outside is during the times of sunrise and sunset. At these times the sun gives off beautiful golden tones, but because the sun is so low, your photographer should use a reflector or flash to fill in the shadow areas for a beautifully lit photograph. The middle of the day when the sun is high, it gives off a very harsh light with very harsh shadows on your faces. This time of day should be avoided if possible, although the lighting can be worked with if the photographer uses a little fill flash or a diffuser. It is better to take your photos in a shaded area during the middle of the day. The reason for this is because your face will have no harsh shadows under the eyes and nose this way. This gives you even lighting and the photographer can work with putting a little light in your faces many different ways. A perfect day for a photo shoot is an overcast day. When the clouds cover the sun, it completely diffuses the light and lights every face perfectly!

 

 

 

 

 

Newborns

Newborns are best photographed before two weeks of age, while they are still in that sleepy and curly stage. After about two weeks babies start to be awake for longer periods of time and they don’t like to be in “womb like” positions any more…which is what we want them in. Their portraits are most commonly done while the baby is sleeping. Newborns generally can sleep through anything as long as they are warm and fed, so they can be put into different positions and have their pictures taken without even knowing it. You  will have access to all of my props during your session and please feel free to bring any props you would like to use. During your consultation by either phone or email we will discuss color choices. I want to keep all of your colors complimentary so keep this in mind if you plan on having a few photographs taken with your newborn. You don’t have to wear the same colors but keep the tones similar. Simple is best, avoid patterns. For those dads that are comfortable bearing their chest, please do because these can make for some of the most precious images with father and child. With newborns you might want to have a change of clothing for yourself as it is almost impossible to avoid accidents such as spit up or getting wet with a naked baby. So, don’t worry, this too is expected and I will have several blankets on hand for infant sessions to swap in/out.

~ ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~

- special interest or hobby props

- for mom, a simple black or white tank, short-sleeved shirt or tube top is perfect

- for dad, a black or white t-shirt works best

- change of clothing for yourself

- pacifier to comfort the baby 

- make sure to bring the wet wipes and diapers  

 

 

 

Maternity

Bring a few costume changes for your session to really give you a variety. During your consultation we can discuss how much clothing you are comfortable taking off for your portraits. I have a variety of coverings that we can get creative with but if there is anything in particular you want to wear in your session, be sure to bring it. Determine ahead of time if you want other people in the pictures with you, i.e. spouse or other children. Maternity sessions can be done on location outdoors as well as in my studio. If you have a special location in mind, I would be happy to work that special place into your images. This could be either a place that holds sentimental value or just a place that is very picturesque. 

~ ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~

- denim jeans (maternity and an old pair that you can button down or unzip for photos)

- basic tank tops that really show off  your bump

- tube top

- flirty sundresses (empire waist really helps show off your bump)

- lacy lingerie 

- white or black button down blouse

- yoga pants

- take fingernail polish all the way off or freshly painted nails with a color that compliments the outfit

- chapstick, lipstick, and touch up makeup 

- sonogram photo(s)

- special items you would like to be photographed with

- just remember simple goes a long way

- ladies, keep those hair ties off of your wrists so they don't leave marks

- special locations

 

 

 

Babies

Babies from three months to a year can be easy to photograph given the right conditions. I encourage you to ensure your child is as well rested as possible with a full tummy.  Babies are the happiest and most playful under these conditions. Keep some snacks and drinks close by because they make for a good bribe if the child is feeling uncomfortable. Bring their favorite toy or a toy that makes noise that they enjoy to grab their attention. They also come in handy if your toddler has a meltdown and just needs a break to play and let the mood pass. Be prepared to make silly faces to get your baby smiling and laughing. Babies can be photographed with a cute little outfit on or if you still want them naked to show off their cute pudgy baby skin. I have a variety of props that will suit this style of session.

~ ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~

- snacks and drinks

- favorite toys for comfort and to use as prop

- outfit change

- sentimental props  

 

 

 

Children

Portraits of children over the age of one can be done in a variety of ways; the tone of the photo is up to you. Do you want a fun and playful look, traditional, or a little dramatic? If you want to go for the fun and playful look then use some bright colors. Dress your children in bright colors and choose a complimentary background. If you are taking your pictures outside on location, use a playground or some bright green grass as your background. Just like for babies sessions, keep some snacks nearby. They can be used as a bribe or just sitting down for a snack before the session might make the child more comfortable in the setting. Feel free to bring along anything you might want to photograph with your children. If they have a favorite toy or blanket, they love tea parties or skateboarding, or even if they like dressing up as a fairy princess or a superhero…these are the things that you will look back on and remember with fondness when they are grown.

~ ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~

- snacks and drinks, nothing too messy

- wet wipes to clean hands and faces 

- chapstick for those little lips 

- bright colored outfits really make your portraits pop!

- personalized props or special interest props

- accessories, such as headbands, scarves, jewelry

- denim

- fun, flirty dresses

- cut and clean fingernails

- take fingernail polish all the way off or freshly painted nails with a color that compliments the outfit

 

 

 

 

Family

When dressing for a family portrait you can wear anything you like, but try to keep the tone of the clothing the same from person to person. Not everyone has to wear exactly the same clothing, in fact it tends to look unnatural, but keep the color tones the same so they don’t become distracting. Think about adding sentimental props to your portraits. This could be anything from wearing a necklace that has been in the family for generations to your pet dog. Adding a sentimental element will ensure you cherish your portraits for years down the road. Family portraits can be done anywhere. You can choose an outdoor location or use my studio for indoor portraits. Other than your home or the local park, there are plenty of locations that would make a great backdrop for your family’s portraits – the beach, an urban street, a friend’s farm, even an old junkyard or graffitied building! Choose a setting with colors that will compliment your home. Consider using deep fall colors, white winter snow, or the colorful blooms in the spring. Since every family is unique, I would be happy to help you choose a location that suits your family’s personality.

~ ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~

- complimentary outfits (ask me for some color schemes and  would be happy to send you some)

- simple, classic clothing is best for parents

- accessories, such as headbands, scarves, jewelry, jackets and hats can really add to your look

- chapstick (even for the guys)

- denim

- dress up shirts

- fun, flirty dress

- ladies, keep those hair ties off of your wrists so they don't leave marks

- personalized props or special interest props

- take fingernail polish all the way off or freshly painted nails with a color that compliments the outfit

 

 

 

 

 

High School Seniors

Senior portraits sessions are creative and fun. I like to use your special interests to define who you are in these portraits. We can use your own props to add a sentimental element to your portraits. There will be a few costume changes so consider picking a few different styles of clothing to go with different settings. Senior portraits can be done either in studio or on location but from my experience location settings are more dynamic. Think of your favorite memories to use as settings. Locations to consider are local parks, the family farm, an open field, national forests, your school or any place you like to spend a lot of time. After picking a location, match the tone of your outfits to your setting. 

~ ITEMS TO CONSIDER ~

- costume changes

- personalized and sentimental props

- good locations can add a great background element to your portraits 

- take fingernail polish all the way off or freshly painted nails with a color that compliments the outfit

- chapstick

- touch up makeup 

- ladies, keep those hair ties off of your wrists so they don't leave marks