These are suggestions, not rules, so if youre favorite outfit includes thirty different bright colored stripes – wear it! These are your portraits and should reflect who you are. But take a moment to read through these tips and ideas.
Medium to dark clothes look the best on dark backgrounds. This gives a more dramatic look. Use a variety of colors. If you only bring black, gray and white outfits for a 3-outfit session, it can be drab and boring. These are all good choices, but include some items of color as well. Choose a variety of outfits. Include both casual and more formal outfits in your portraits. Please bring something fun as well, like a prom dress and unusual pair of shoes. Long sleeve solids or very subtle prints are usually the most flattering in portraits. Traditional styles will stand the test of time and keep your portrait looking fresh for years to come. Use styles and looks that will be in style next year as well as this summer. Your portraits may look dated and out of style in a year or two if clothing is too trendy. Classic solid sweaters will always be in style. Trendy summer tops may look out of place next summer. You should bring trendy options too – bring a parent outfit and bring a senior outfit. Bring shoes and socks for each outfit that you plan to wear. Bare feet and sandals are no problem for casual clothes. Long sleeve dresses and shirts are much better than short sleeves, especially for head and shoulder/ traditional poses.
Coordinate your outfit from head to toe. Keep the tonal range of clothing in the same group. Please keep lights together or darks together in the same outfit. Darker clothes minimize body size.
Stay away from white, light/pale yellow or other very light/pale colors outdoors. For outdoor portraits, be careful of bright greens as they often clash with the greens of leaves and grass. Black, khaki, pink, orange, navy, tan, gold, burgundy, dark yellow are good outdoors. Busy patterns and loud colors can be very distracting in your portraits. Avoid busy and bold patterns that might tend to draw attention away from your face. Stay clear of stripes.
Common Problems to Avoid
The most common problem is sunburn and tan lines from a tanning salon. Please keep out of the sun a week or two before your session. We often see uneven sunburn from guys who wear ball caps, peeling skin on noses from recent burns, raccoon eyes from those who were burned while wearing sunglasses, or strap lines on the shoulders of girls in a strapless formal dress or top. Sunburn, uneven tanning, and tan lines cannot be retouched.
Another common problem is wrinkled clothes or clothes that dont fit. Please be sure your clothes are wrinkle-free, and that your shirt collar and sleeves fit. Shirt and tie should fit properly and your suit/sport coat should be the proper size.
Props can help to show your personality and record the types of activities you are involved in. Be sure to bring some of your own props to your portrait session.
Ideas for props include but are not limited to:
Vehicle (car/truck/bike) this requires extra time.
You should wear your hair in your regular style. Guys should not have a fresh haircut, but should have a fresh shave. 5 o’clock shadow will show and can’t be touched up. If you need a trim, have it done about a week before. Girls, it is not a good idea to get a new hairstyle that you’ve never used before. Wear it the way you like to wear it best.
Visene can be used for red eyes if you have allergies.
Heavier thicker materials will photograph and lay better. For example, a sweatshirt is much thicker and will photograph better than a t-shirt or button down cotton shirt.
Get a good night’s sleep, and be ready for a great portrait session!