Before Your Session

Family Portraits


Think about what you want your family portrait to say about you and your family. Are you a casual family or more formal? Consider the personalities in the family, what you like to do together and where the portrait might be displayed in your home/office. Is there a special theme you want to incorporate that tells about your family? Think about this when considering where to have your portrait taken and what to wear.

Portraits of people require that the viewer’s attention be drawn to their faces and not to their clothing. Therefore, it is recommended that the clothing for a family portrait be kept simple and in the same tonal range as the background. If the background is lighter in color, clothing should be in a similar color range. For example, if the background will be lighter (whether it be in studio or on location), it is best to keep the clothing in a similar color range in order to maintain visual harmony or consistency. When the clothing is a mixture of lights and darks, the visual consistency is impacted. NOTE: If one person is particularly fair skinned, they should avoid a white or very light top. Conversely, if they have dark skin, they should avoid very dark or black tops.

For family portraits, you don’t want one person to stand out visually. It is important to coordinate clothing so that the tonal harmony is the ultimate goal.

For women, simple, three-quarter or long sleeve V-necks are always flattering, trying to avoid ones that are very deep or wide. Men should consider wearing simple long-sleeve or half-sleeve, button-down shirts or polos that compliment the color scheme the family has chosen.

Some other notes: Clothing should be laundered and pressed; if shoes will show in the photograph, wear shoes and socks that compliment the outfit being worn; men should be clean-shaven; and it is recommended to avoid any drastic haircuts or coloring just prior to the portrait session.

What to bring?

It is recommended that hair products such as combs/brushes and hairspray as well as powder or makeup for touch-up be part of the portrait session. If it is a warmer season, please bring a bottle of water, bug spray and/or a snack, if necessary.

Please note that these are recommendations we offer and by no means are required. However, retouch/edit charges are applied beyond the basic retouch services we offer.

Professional Portraits

What to Wear?

A portrait should bring the viewer’s attention to the face, accomplished by effectively contrasting skin tones to other colors in the photograph. Clothing should be simple in style, avoid a seasonal look and be in the same tonal range (light, medium, dark). For example, wearing a dark jacket with a pastel shirt will draw attention away from the subject. Choose colors that compliment your skin tones, avoiding bright (lime green, bright yellow, orange) colors and patterns that may be too busy. The goal is to bring the attention to the subject’s face and not the clothing. For close-up portraits, long sleeves are also important. For women, V-necks are flattering, but very wide or deep V-neck tops should be avoided.

How to Prepare?

  • Clothing should be wrinkle-free and ready for the scheduled portrait time.
  • Men should be clean-shaven just before the portrait session if there is a tendency for a five-o-clock shadow.
  • It is advised that haircuts be planned one week before the portrait, avoiding any drastic changes in hairstyle or color.
  • Softly blot skin with a soft cloth if there is a tendency for shine or oils or use a soft/translucent powder for touch up just before the portrait.

High School Senior Portraits

Getting Ready Tips

It’s all about you! Bring your personality. If there’s a special “prop” or collectible you’d like to include in your session, bring it! Some examples include musical instruments, sporting gear/clothing, cars/bikes/skateboards, pets, etc. Make one of your outfits a completely different look – be creative!

What to wear?

Select your clothes in advance and be sure to hang them to avoid wrinkling. Iron your clothes and be prepared for your session. Your clothes should compliment your skin tones avoiding real dark tops if you have very dark skin or real light/pastel tops if you have light skin. We recommend full, half or three-quarter length sleeves, minimizing excessive skin exposure or bringing layers (i.e. jackets, sweaters). Avoiding a lot of stripes, patterns and plaids is also helpful in making sure that the attention goes to your face and not your clothing. If you want to add some uniqueness, consider accessorizing. Bring your favorite hats, scarves, jackets, belts, socks, jewelry, etc. And don’t worry too much about your shoes. We often take close shots along with some full length. A pair of shoes for every outfit is not necessary; just make sure they aren’t too worn or tattered and present nicely. If we’ll be going on location, be sure to bring something comfortable!

Hair and Face

Bring combs/brushes/clips and makeup for touch up during your session. Avoid getting your hair cut or colored, dramatically changing your hair style right before the session. If you do color your hair, touch up highlights are recommended at least two weeks before your session. Try applying your make up as you normally do and bring a translucent powder for touch up, just in case. Avoid tanning or excessive sun exposure for three or four days before your session, allowing for your skin to rest, bringing out the natural luster. Also, if you sometimes have breakouts, don’t worry! Final print selections will be retouched.

What to Bring?

Bring a snack and water to avoid dehydration, especially when your session is in excessive heat. Consider bringing bug spray in case we are outdoors during an especially buggy season.

Other Important Session Details

  • We respectfully request that phones/cameras are left in a secure place at home or in your car.
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes before your session appointment time so that we can get started on time and not hold anyone up who may be scheduled behind you.
  • Don’t worry if it rains and we’re scheduled to go outdoors. We’ll call ahead to reschedule or rearrange your session.
  • Bring your calendar so that we can schedule a proof preview. A parent should also be present during this preview.

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