TIPS For A Great Photo Session

1. Time of Day

Schedule photo shoot at a time of day when you and yours feel well rested and relaxed.
Outdoor shots in Early morning (7am) or late afternoon is best for sun conditions. (won’t show shadows and “sunspots” on face), but sometimes photographer can work around that.

2. Props are Nice.

Toy or doll for child to hold.
Flower or sign for adults. Or something that means something to you or your family.
We will incorporate into photo.
Props can make people feel more comfortable, especially

children, as well as add more interest to a photo.
A mini chalkboard with a message such as “together,”
“laugh,” “family,” “promise,” “5 years!,”  “Finally!” “Made it!”  give the photo more interest and purpose. I bring a mini-chalkboard to photo sessions for your use. 

3. What to WEAR?

This is what I recommend for what to wear to a portrait session

  • Solid colored clothing
  • Muted tones that are a bit subdued
  • One to three colors for your group portrait, ones with similar tones that go nicely together and have everyone work within that colour palette. For example: dark green, navy, and burgundy – all dark jewel tones.  OR denims, pale pink, pale yellow – all lighter, softer tones.
    NOTE: Most people look great in cool tones. Choose what you look most youthful and relaxed in.
  • A top with sleeves at least to the elbow. This helps show off your face rather than the top of your arm.
  • Long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies for formal pictures. For casual pictures, use your imagination.
  • Usually dark socks (if wearing socks) and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot image on the beach or grass)
  • Jewelry…simple and minimalist
  • Keep hair the way you’d normally put it while wearing these clothes
  • If getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session
  • Shirts should show neckline (so as not to have heads cut off look). Button down shirts are wonderful for this.
  • Less patterns the better. Plain clothes are great since you see faces and features rather than being distracted by patterns.
  • Bring second set of clothes (even just a second shirt) just in case something unforeseen happens (shirt stains, etc).
  • Glasses? We do our best to minimize glass glare, however sometimes, it cannot be eliminated. Idea: borrow a pair of lensless frames from your optometrist if this is a concern.

You don’t have to color coordinate everyone, but it can be fun to pick an accent color for everyone to wear. It could be scarf, a hat, a tie or a pendant.
Be okay with your own style. You and your personality are to be featured, not someone else’s!
There are exceptions to the above clothing advice, so be confident in your own choices and have fun with it!

Realize that these are only suggestions, although, in my experience, I have found these “rules” to work out beautifully. But, sometimes you may want to “break the rules”. Just realize you will have that image indefinitely. Usually, “fad” clothes don’t make the cut.


Preparation tips for girls (this is from another photographer’s website, but great tips!)

4. Your Poses First

If you have poses you definitely want, please tell me, and we can do these in beginning of session (or a week before), so as to make sure we get your favorites first! You can go to Pinterest and save photo poses and show me.

5. Don’t Always Have To Smile

Actually, my favorite favorite, (did I say favorite?) shots are those of people laughing!
Makes the viewer wonder what was so funny. Makes you feel good when you look at your family picture later for years to come.
Another favorite is touching moments of people holding each other or looking at each other (amazingly touching), especially when you see that photo on your wall and the person grew up and is out of the house.

6. Just Be Yourself

If you feel uncomfortable posing a certain way or a certain placement, please, by all means, tell the photographer. They will work with you and help you feel most comfortable. After all, we strive to take natural photos, not “fake photos”!

7. Techniques

I may direct you to say “Hay” or “Hee” or “Ho” at different times. The “Hay” and “Hee” give a nice photogenic smile, The “Ho” is for doing something silly at the same time, such as putting your finger in your ear, touching your cheek or chin, squeezing another family member.
For silly photos, please avoid making “horns” with your fingers and putting them over another’s head. It is overused and distracts from faces. Be creative!

OR, I may just say to “Repeat after me…. “HAPPY!”
For family sessions I may say “Think of something you like about the person next to you. Now, say it to them” OR “Make a silly face”. Ideas…opening your mouth wide, putting your hands up to your cheeks in different positions, eyes looking to left or right, etc.

8. Have Fun!

The best photos are taken when people have fun. Enjoy yourself even if being in front of the camera is not your favorite place to be.

You’ll look great in pictures!

Happy modeling,
-Theresa L.

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