So you’ve booked a portrait session! Consider this your mega-guide to everything you need to know to prep for your shoot. You’ll be the most well-prepared clients and you’ll love your photos so much more for the little extra effort you’ve put into preparing.
Pick a style that everyone in your family will be comfortable with, and make sure each outfit matches that look so that your images are cohesive. Decide if everyone will be dressed more casual (jeans and a nice sweater or flannel) or dressy (think dresses with sequins or lace, khaki pants and button downs).
Consider the season you are having portraits done in! If your shoot is in the fall or winter and there’s a chance things could get chilly, leave the short dresses and tank tops at home and opt for something you can wear with layers such as tights, light stylish jackets and darker colored pants.
Be conscious of color combinations. I generally recommend either parents in neutral tones and kids in brighter colors, or everyone in the family stick to either cool colors such as bright red, purple. grey and blue or warm colors like yellow, green, orange and burgundy.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR
Stay away from the cliche blue jeans and white shirts, and lots of busy patterns like stripes or hounds-tooth. I know it can be hard to get everyone to match in all different outfits, but with the color combo tips above I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with something great!
TIP: Wear something that you are comfortable in! If you’re constantly tugging, making adjustments or sucking in your belly it will show in the photos. Likewise, if your kid refuses to wear that dress you bought specifically for the shoot but would be perfectly happy in their favorite t-shirt, consider just letting them wear it! You’ll be much happier with your final images if everyone is in a good mood and smiling, than if they are miserable but all their clothes match.
I always tell clients to just do their makeup like they normally do - and if you don’t wear makeup at all, there’s no reason to start just for photos. These images should be a reflection of who you really are, so now is not the time to perfect that winged eyeliner look you saw on Pinterest!
Be cautious of baseball caps and other hats as they can make shadows on your face. Scarves and jewelry can be a great way to tie your look together. If you normally wear glasses, there’s no reason to switch to contacts or go into the shoot blind as a bat. Keep in mind however that if you have glasses that transition to sunglasses in daylight, it will look like you’re wearing sunglasses in your photos!
I will usually ask anyone who is wearing sunglasses to remove them during our shoot and make sure that all phones and wallets have been emptied out of pockets so we don’t get that dreaded pocket rectangle. Don’t forget to consider the environment we will be shooting in - if we end up on a beach or hiking through the woods, it’s probably best to leave the high heels at home.
WHAT TO BRING
I always have a spare blanket with me on my shoots, but if you have a family picnic blanket or any meaningful mementos you would like included in your shoot, be sure to bring them along.
For the best light, I will only schedule shoots within 2 hours of sunrise or 2 hours before sunset. We are aiming for the “golden hour” when the sun is nice and low in the sky and the light is soft and warm. Most families opt for an afternoon time slot so you aren’t rushed to get ready in the morning, and depending on the time of year my afternoon sessions take place between 2pm and 6pm.