Shooting portrait sessions are one of my favorite things to do! It’s a fun opportunity to showcase fun personalities and unique locations and share your story with images to commemorate your beautiful moment in time. A portrait session is care-free and fun and that’s just how I like them to be. Today I’m sharing some tips to help prepare you for yours, whether it’s an engagement, family, maternity, or senior session!
I AM A NATURAL LIGHT SPECIALIST
I believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflections, create photographs that feel fresh, timeless and most true to you. I begin all portrait sessions one to two hours before the scheduled sunset. This time is called “the golden hour” and it’s when the light is the dreamiest. I use a sunset calculator online to determine the scheduled sunset for the date and location you’d like to do your session. Remember, the sun sets much earlier during the colder months of the year and much later during the warmer months, so make sure to factor that in when choosing your portrait session date, especially if you’re taking off work or have evening plans afterward. To get the most out of your session, please plan a buffer when getting ready so you can arrive a few minutes early to your session and be ready to start on time. I’m only able to shoot when natural light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down. If you’re wearing two outfits, save your favorite one for the first half and arrive in the one you most want to be photographed in.
THE LOCATION OF YOUR PORTRAIT SESSION
The location of your session is totally up to you! Most of my clients choose to showcase the natural beauty of our home state. For most of my sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are always my first choice. I love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is divine, especially during golden hour. There are great options all around the state, so even if you’ve never seen me shoot in a specific spot before, I’m always up for exploring a new spot together!
THIS IS THE TIME TO THINK
Let’s think outside the box! I encourage you to brainstorm unique locations that you might have special access to that most people don’t. For example, maybe you, or someone in your personal or professional network, can secure permission to a location that would otherwise be off-limits like a beautiful private estate, country club, or resort. Maybe it’s a family ranch, upscale hotel, or even a boat, an airplane hangar, or a rooftop view! The sky is literally the limit! Spend a few minutes thinking about it and checking around. You’ll be surprised with what you come up with. Plus, if something seems out of reach, just remember: you never know until you ask! My clients have secured permission to some pretty amazing places in the past. If you get stuck or need inspiration, I have some great go-to locations around town that we can always hit, too. Just let me know which type of session you’d love and I’ ll go from there!
SAY YES TO THE DRESS
Dresses and skirts look most stunning because they really flatter every female body, especially on camera — which is probably why the red carpet is always full of so many dresses and not very many pantsuits! I recommend avoiding pants and shorts for your session and saying yes to a dress or two instead. Long, full-length, flowing dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, like the desert, forest, plains, or beach. Consider softer fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images. When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s up to you and what you feel most comfortable and beautiful in! Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully and a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, look perfect on camera, too.
WHEN CHOOSING COLORS FOR YOUR OUTFITS
I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown, and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.
PAIRING AN ACCESSORY OR TWO WITH YOUR OUTFIT CAN REALLY HELP
Add some extra dimension to your images, and use color to nicely tie-in ensembles when you’re coordinating with your partner. Big statement necklaces bring a lot of pop to the photos, while the smaller, delicate ones are not going to be as noticeable on camera. Belts, bracelets and earrings bring great visual interest, so choose one or two that don’t compete for attention. Fresh florals in a crown can be a really romantic touch as well! Although it might seem counter-intuitive, I recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session (this includes even a few days or a week prior!) because it tends to photograph orange– even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully and naturally.
PROFESSIONAL HAIR AND MAKEUP IS ON TOP
The top of my clients’ checklists is often having their hair and makeup done because it looks amazing on camera and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. This is the time to treat yourself! Whether it’s lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera. Most of my clients feel like their professional makeup is “too much” at first, since it’s more than they would wear on a normal day, or that they’re false lashes look too big. If you feel that way at the beginning, don’t worry! Good makeup artists know how to get it all just right for the camera — and my clients always love the final result. If you need a recommendation for hair and makeup, I work with the best in the business and have a go-to team! They’re sweet as pie, talented as heck, unbelievable professional and wonderful people. You’ll LOVE them! Just let me know and I’ll send you their information. I know they’ll take good care of you!
WANT YOUR PHOTOS TO LOOK MORE EDITORIAL?
Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything, especially when they’re attached to a prop like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique and can incorporate some elements unique to your love story.
NO MATTER WHAT, YOU AND YOUR COLLECTION OF IMAGES, WILL LOOK AMAZING!
I am here for any questions or concerns you may have and I will make sure you look and feel incredible during your session! The most important thing of all is to be yourself, laugh a lot, and have FUN! I will take care of the rest!