So, your long awaited portrait session is finally here, and may be getting excited and nervous. But don't panic (yet). Here are a few handy tips how to make it easier on everyone to get the perfect portrait:
1. Dress appropriately
The portrait you're about to take may accompany you for a long time. Wear something that you won't be embarrassed of in a few years. Lose the ripped jeans, and the printed t-shirts. Sure, they may be fashionable, but people will look at the holes in your pants and the letters on your shirt, instead of at your face. Avoid sheer fabrics - the flash will make them even more see-through (unless that's what you're going for). If you can, always go for long sleeved... too much skin on your arms can distract from your face.
Choose long pants for men and women, or a skirt at or below the knee for ladies. We don't want your legs to steal the show. Also, keep jewelry simple and minimalistic, because too much draws attention from your face to your bling. Some accessories however may be fun to bring along: cardigan, necklace, headband, scarf, button up shirt, tights, hats, ties. Layers & accessories add dimension, and texture and therefore richness to the overall look.
2. Colour coordinate, don't match
If it is a family portrait, make sure all family members colour coordinate their outfits. You don't have to wear the same colour, just similar tones that complement each other. Avoid fabrics with large prints, patterns or plaids. Stay away from vivid shades of red or orange, or stark neutrals like black or white.
It’s a good idea to pick 3 colors to work with as your main colors, then consider grays, whites, blacks, or browns as freebies. Not necessarily all of them together, but one or two that work with the 3 colors you chose. That goes for everything you wear - shoes, accessories, etc.
And since you may be hanging these photos in your house, you will want to make sure the colours of your clothes you are wearing in the photo will go with the colour scheme of your home.
3. Hair & Makeup
For ladies and girls, a touch of sheer lip gloss would be a nice addition, even if they don't normally wear makeup. It doesn't have to have punchy, but a bit of shine on the lips is going to look great. What looks great on lips however should be avoided for the rest of the face - so a bit of face powder to bring along would be perfect to combat any shine that will most certainly appear on anyone's face during a portrait session. Those poses can be quite a workout!
For men who shave every day, just shave shortly before the time of the session. That way, the stubble will be in check. And borrow some face powder from your better half, because shine doesn't suit anyone.
4. Make sure everyone is well rested and fed
Don't come tired or hungry to a photo shoot. That is especially important for the little ones. We want smiles, and bright eyes, not tears and tantrums. Bring some toys for the smallest kids, which an assistant could hold up behind the photographer to draw their attention back to the camera.
5. Try to relax and have fun!
You are probably not a professional model who has all the poses down to a "T", but even professional models still are tense and jittery at the beginning of a shoot. Just remember: a lot of photos will be taken during the session, and chances are very high that at least a few of them will turn out great. So try to relax and enjoy being the center of the attention for a little while.