5 Tips to Prepare for Your Portrait Session

Are you unsure how to dress for your upcoming portrait session? Here are the standard things I tell individual and group portrait clients to prepare for a photo shoot.

1. Be Yourself

You want to be put together, but remain true to form. So for both clothing and make-up, stay within your usual range. Having hair and make-up done is great for a photo session, but remember that you want the portrait to depict you at your best.

2. Wear Darker, Solid Colors

Mid-dark greys and blues generally work great, as well as black. Sticking to darker colors for your portrait session will generally make things easier and help your face take center stage. This is especially true for group photos. For couples and groups, choose colors that harmonize or shades of the same color, and avoid patterns so that they do not compete. If your clothes are on the monotone side, then we have more room for fun with backgrounds! Of course, this is not a hard rule. If you know you will rock that bright patterned shirt, you should go for it. 

EXAMPLE: On a recent engagement shoot, clients Sarah and Scott showed up wearing dueling patterns. Happily, they brought alternative options. The image with the blue background works better because Scott is no longer wearing the plaid shirt.

Pattern vs Solid shirt on Scott.

Pattern vs Solid shirt on Scott.

3. Wear 3/4-full Sleeve Length

A shirt with more coverage will help with uniformity, and not draw attention away from your face.

4. Bring Layers

Layers help add variety to the photo shoot and may provide options that work better for different backgrounds. Bring your favorite jacket or cardigan, and scarf!

5. Prevent Flyaways

Flyaway hair happens, and there’s always Photoshop, but it’s best to keep things as tame as possible during the shoot. I always bring along a bottle of hair serum that smells like lavender, which clients have found soothing. But if that doesn’t sound good to you, feel free to bring something else.