Get Prepared (& Excited) for Your Portrait Session
Apr 28, 2020 | By: A Charmed Life Photography
Myrtle Beach Wedding and Portrait Photographer
During your personalized portrait session, I'll capture your distinct beauty and bring it forward with stunning imagery. Between the time of your booking and your booking date, let's talk about any expectations you may have. Talking with me ensures that we're on the same page, so your images turn out as you imagined.
Knowing your objectives helps me deliver the portraits you have in mind. After we have a plan in place, please don't hesitate to contact me should any last-minute questions or changes arise. Discussing your expectations ahead of time will help me prepare for your personalized session.
Having a professional photo shoot means a bit of advanced preparation is required from you too. So, you can look your best, enjoy a perfectly coordinated shoot, and receive clean, flawless images. During the past ten years as a professional photographer, I've noticed many of the same recurring issues commonly arise during a shoot. So, I've curated this helpful guide loaded with tips to assure you're ready and that your experience with me is the best it can be. Here's what to do and what not to do.
By far, the most commonly asked question my clients ask is, "what should I wear?" Before I can answer, there are many factors to consider. Is your objective a large framed print for your home? Then, coordinate your attire to match the decor of the room where your portrait will be displayed. For outdoor sessions, what you wear depends on the weather. Dress appropriately for the season, and make sure you're comfortable. What you wear for your shoot should also reflect the vibe you want to achieve, and the backdrop location that you choose.
Display your style while avoiding loud patterns that put the focus on your clothes, not your smile. We recommend solid colors over patterns, but some patterns do work. If the pattern is small and repetitive throughout this design it is not as distracting and can add visual interest. Solid colors, simple patterns, khakis, denim, light or pastel colors, red tones, blue, white, and tan look appealing. Coordinate your attire from head to toe!
Group Session Attire
The tips mentioned in the previous paragraphs also apply to group sessions. However, with more than one person in the portrait, coordinating colors and styles of outfits is essential. While matching outfits can sometimes work, everyone does not need to dress the same. Choose coordinating colors and styles for everyone, and consider fun accents like silk scarves, or a few textured blazers. Don't forget to coordinate your shoes. I recommend if one person is wearing short sleeves, short pants, or short skirts that the rest of the group does the same. This concept also applies to bare feet. If one person removes their shoes, the rest of the group should also, to avoid disrupting the flow of the shot.
Windy Beach Sessions
The beach is undoubtedly the most popular choice for backdrop locations. If you're considering a session at the beach, expect windy conditions. The ocean breeze usually blows off the ocean, so if the beach is behind you in the backdrop, the wind will be blowing your hair from behind. I usually keep extra hair ties with me on site, but you may want something more elaborate to hold your hair in place. Consider a cute beach hat, or for long hair, consider a beautiful braid. For short hair, usehairspray. I mean, a lot of hairspray, even if you normally don't use it. This goes for men and boys too. If you're going to bring a hair tie, please have it in your hair, and not on your wrist. Don't forget to bring a hairbrush and mirror to touch up hair as needed in between shots.
If you're planning to wear a dress, keep in mind the wind may cause your dress to cling onto your body in an unflattering way. This happens a lot with sheer dresses.
With all that said, if you're planning a beach session, embrace the wind and have fun with it. Groups can huddle in close to help block the wind, or stand into the wind, and rock it like Beyoncé. When the wind shifts, so should you.
With soaring summertime temperatures, it's best to use minimal make-up for an outdoor shoot. A light application of foundation and face powder will give your face a smooth look. Consider a coral hue on your cheeks, romantic rose, or shimmering gold on your eyelids, a bit of mascara, and a hydrating lip balm to soften your lips. These minimal make-up suggestions give your face a polished look while amplifying your natural facial features.
When it comes to preparing for your portrait session, you may not think about your hands. Admittedly, this advice is geared more toward those who partake in senior portraits, engagement sessions, maternity shoots, bridal and wedding photos. Even so, well-manicured hands are worth mentioning to all my clients.
Give yourself a DIY manicure or pamper yourself with one done by a pro. Regardless of which you choose, your fingernails need to be cleaned, buffed and neatly shaped. For engagement, bridal, or wedding sessions, make sure your rings are clean and blingnificent.
Tan Lines & Sunburns
Many of my clients are visiting the beach for vacation, so I feel compelled to mention tan lines and sunburns. Choose garments that hide your tan lines if you don't want them to show in your portraits, as they can be cumbersome to edit in post-production. Take precautions to avoid having a sunburn on the day of your shoot. The pain of a sunburn makes it almost impossible to capture a genuine smile (especially for children), and bright red skin is not flattering for professional portraits.
If you wear prescription eyeglasses, I may ask you to slightly tilt your head forward to compensate for any glare appearing on your lenses. I do, however, request that sunglasses are not worn before the session begins, to avoid unsightly dents appearing on the bridge of your nose. Please leave sunglasses in your locked car, or at home, so they do not become a distracting element during our limited time together. You won't look your best trying to hide sunglasses behind your back or in your pocket.
Other distracting elements are cigarette packs, large watches, Fitbits, and waterpark/club bracelets. Please do not bring distracting elements to the backdrop location.
Unless you want to pose holding your cell phone in every shot, I ask that no cell phones are brought on-site. Cell phones become distracting elements during a photo shoot.
It's not a good idea to bring valuable items to your portrait session, including purses. I encourage you to leave valuable items tucked out of sight in a locked car, or better yet at home. During your session, we will all be preoccupied and moving around quite a bit. Any valuables brought to the backdrop location will be left unattended during the shoot. A Charmed Life Photography is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Stress-Free Portrait Sessions with Small Children
Think of fun ways to practice smiling with your child before picture day. It's an enjoyable and helpful exercise that may help small children feel more comfortable having their pictures taken by a professional photographer. I can then capture genuine smiles that you can cherish for a lifetime. For small children wearing dresses, please use diaper covers to keep unsightly diapers from appearing in your portraits.
If you're visiting the beach from out of town, keeping small children on their sleep schedules can be a challenge. Activities should be minimal on the day of your shoot. For sunset sessions, please do not plan a day at the beach before our appointment. Exposure to heat and ocean breezes can leave small children feeling drained and exhausted. While I do encourage healthy snacks and a few toys, please only give snacks and toys as a last resort if your child is uncooperative. Also, please choose snacks that are not messy.
Thank you in advance for your arriving at your portrait session on time. Most of my sessions take place outdoors, which means time is of the essence when it comes to capturing prime natural light.
Portrait sessions will begin one hour before sunset, or ten minutes before sunrise. Inclement weather may alter these times. If so, I will be sure to communicate time changes well in advance, so there's no confusion. Please, on the day of your shoot, be readily available in case the weather alters our previously planned schedule. If the weather poses no threat, please be courteous and show up on time.
No Amateur Photographers
I kindly request that you do not bring anyone to your session intending to take pictures alongside me. Except for my assistant, no other photographers are allowed.
Now that you know what to do, and what not to do, relax and have fun! My goal is to make you the star of your portraits and portray you in the most flattering way. Did I forget to mention something? If so, please leave any other helpful tips in the comment section below.
A Charmed Life Photography provides artistic portraiture for engagements, bridals, weddings, maternity, newborn, family, high school seniors, boudoir, vow renewals, and other special occasions.