A few tips to help you prepare for your session...

I'm often asked about what is best to wear for portrait sessions and how to prepare for them. Deciding what to wear and knowing what to do to get ready is an important element in getting your portraits done. I want to make sure you are the focus in your images and nothing takes away from that. But it’s nothing to get stressed out about. I’ve put together some simple, yet effective, advice and tips on helping you look and feel your best!

General Advice

Solid colors are always best. Colors you love that look good on everyone work best when paired with neutral colors. However, bright “highlighter” colors, whites, and bright reds should be avoided because they are distracting and do not photograph well. Finding a color palette and choosing outfits based on those colors works the best. Accessorize but don’t go overboard. Scarves, sweaters, and hats look great in portraits. Small jewelry also looks great but bulky jewelry can be a bit distracting. When you’re planning your outfits, make sure they match style-wise. For example, all casual, all semi-formal, or all formal. Don’t forget to make sure your shoes and socks go with the outfits because they will be seen too. Small prints and patterns can be difficult for the camera to capture accurately so it’s best to avoid small prints, patterns, logos, or designs. If you need to wax or tweeze your eyebrows, do it at least a day before so the redness goes away but not so early that they start to grow back. Hands and nails will also be in the images so don’t forget to have clean nails and cuticles. While that Chinese, Mexican, or fast food may taste great, feeling bloated is a confidence killer. We all want to feel confident in our images so try to avoid foods that you know make you feel or look bloated for a couple of days prior to your session. If your outfits need to be ironed, do it the night before and hang them up. If you’re worried about them wrinkling on the way, you can always change at the session location. For skin that is dry or flaky, try a scrub a day or two before and keep your skin moisturized. If you have blemishes or pimples, avoid using too much concealer. Too much can look caked on in images and it’s so easy to remove those pesky blemishes during post processing.


Don’t forget to bring your face powder and lipstick/gloss so we can keep it looking fresh. Makeups that are frosty and sparkly will reflect light so avoid eyeshadows, lip colors, and bronzers that are shiny or glittery. Remember to touch up or apply a fresh coat of nail polish the morning of or night before our session and be careful not to damage it while getting ready. Make sure to pick a neutral color or something that doesn’t clash with your outfits. If our session is outside, have an alternate hairstyle in mind in case it’s a windy day. Bring hair clips, a headband, a hat, bobby pins, or anything that will help keep your hair in place. Let’s not forget about bras! Make sure the bra you have chosen works well with your outfit and the straps stay hidden and in place.


If you are usually clean-shaven, make sure you are freshly shaven with a new blade and moisturizing shave lotion to avoid bumps and redness. You may think that little amount of stubble won’t show up, but you would be surprised at what shows up in close-ups.


Make sure your kiddos have a clean face, hands, nails, and feet if they are wearing sandals. A sleepy kiddo is usually a grumpy one and we want laughs and smiles. So, if they still take naps, make sure they have had a nap before our session. Certain drinks and candies leave stains that are hard to remove. Try to avoid anything that can stain teeth, mouths, or skin for at least a day prior to our session. Kids sometimes know when they are expected to behave well and they just don’t want to cooperate. We don’t mind if you want to bring a few bribes. Just make sure it is something that won’t leave a stain. If the bribes don’t work during our session and your kiddo is still grumpy or uncooperative, I ask that you refrain from threatening or punishment. I've seen a lot of parents who felt they needed to resort to that during a session and it only makes the child less cooperative. I’ve learned it’s best to back away from them for a while, focus on a different family member, and then come back to them once they’ve relaxed a little.


Plan at least three outfits to bring in different styles. Something casual, a little dressy, formal, semi-formal, or outdoorsy if that’s who you are. Bring them on hangers so they don’t wrinkle. If you have your cap and gown or class ring, bring it and we’ll use that too! It’s tempting to go “full glam” when applying make-up for this special portrait session but remember that you want these images to represent you in your everyday life. If you want to bring make-up for your formal outfit, bring it and we’ll do those at the end of the session. Use these same guidelines when it comes to your hair. Style it in a way you would normally. If you are in band, play sports, or are involved with an activity, bring some props to incorporate in the session.


Remember to bring any props you have that you want to use! Ultrasounds, stuffed animals, letter blocks, baby shoes, anything you want to incorporate. Make sure your outfit is comfortable and you feel amazing in it. Long flowy dresses or skirts work great! Tube dresses, horizontal stripes, and empire waistline outfits really help accentuate your baby bump. Bring your significant other and any kiddos you already have. They make for great props! Make sure their outfits coordinate with yours.