6 Best Tips for preparing for a Successful Photo Session

August 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Getting ready for a photo session can be a little daunting. What should I do with my hair, clothing, and makeup?

I almost always give clients information when preparing for a session. I even created a whole page of session tips that I share.


I thought I would share some the problems that come up most frequently with individuals (men and women) and groups.


1. Women and makeup. Many women say they don't wear makeup. I understand for everyday life

makeup may not be something you feel like working with. But for digital photography it really is pretty important.



I highly suggest at a minimum:

  • Foundation (concealer for dark circles or blemishes)
  • Powder (for shine)
  • Lip color. It doesn't have to be very dark just a shade or two darker than your lips unless your looking for a dramatic look then red is very cool.  Shiny glosses and sparkly shades don't always photograph well. 
  • Mascara
  • A little blush or eye color is nice when applied properly but not necessary.




If you don't usually wear makeup or haven't updated your look for a while I would suggest you work with a specialist.

I work with Cassandra Marie  (see above). She can even come to my studio if you make an appointment with her in advance.

Even a visit to a department store cosmetic counter is advisable.  Take a friend, sister or daughter and make it a fun experience.

The wrong foundation color or outdated makeup can make for unflattering images.

I have senior girls tell me that they don't like how makeup feels. I understand, but some of the better products (I use Mary Kay or Clinique) are light and breathable.

Yes I do usually Photoshop everyone a little but the more finished you look before the session the less editing I do and the more natural you will look.














2. Hair. If you color your hair make sure you have a fresh color. If you have short hair and plan on getting a haircut have it done 3-4 days before session so it doesn't look "too fresh". Cassandra Marie also does hair and does a great job giving advice and tips to maintain the look.

3. I have several suggestions for clothing. I usually suggest clients bring at least two clothing options even for a business portrait.

  • White. Some people look a bit washed out in white especially if they have a very light complexion.
  • Avoid tight patterns or textures. They can cause a moiré problem see photo below. I have only run into this a few times but it can be quite problematic.
  • Sleeves. Most professionals (and heavier people) look better in long sleeves.
  • Dark colors are more slimming. That's why my wardrobe is 75% black!                                                             
  • Get the fit right. I find men more than women wear shirts and business jackets that are either too big or too tight. If you are looking for a professional look invest in the appropriate attire. Remember, your photo will likely be on Facebook, websites and Linked In.
  • For large groups think about color choices. I usually suggest solids that are in the same color family, like warms or cools. A low key pattern here or there is ok but too many logos or patterns can be distracting.
  • These suggestions don't apply to High School Seniors as much they are encouraged to bring a variety of clothing options but having a least  one solid shirt is suggested.









Moiré digital pattern on tight weave of overlaying patterns.

Image taken for http://learn.usa.canon.com





4. Jewelry

I like jewelry. Just make sure it fits your personality.  For high school seniors I encourage a lot of bling for a few shots. Bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings.  I look clients over but you might want to check to make sure jewelry is straight and clasps aren't showing.






5. Be fresh! Whether  you are having a 15 minute session or a 2 hour session make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. I have water available to keep you hydrated.  Be sure to drink plenty of water and eat during the day before you come to keep your energy up. Your energy and attitude do effect the feeling of you portray. These points apply to everyone but are even more important when it comes to young children.


6. Problem areas. Hopefully you feel comfortable talking to you photographer. I have people tell me they have a problem with an eye or nose or they don't like a particular physical feature. Many times I can work with them to get the feature to look it's best. Sometimes it's a wardrobe choice other times it's the angle I use to photograph them. But it helps for us to hear your concerns so we can get the best outcome.



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