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Wardrobe and Location Suggestions

These are some basic guidelines for your shoot. They are not rules, and you can choose to follow them or not. In general, these suggestions will result in the best portrait images, but there are always exceptions and situations where "breaking the rules" can produce a more interesting result.

What and what not to wear:

Avoid bright colors

A pop of color here and there is ok, but a large, solid, colorful area will distract from faces which is what we want to see in a portrait. More muted tones are preferred except for small accents. A brighter shirt under a darker jacket is a good example. A bright white shirt by itself will not be flattering on anyone while a dark shirt or layers can be slimming. 

Avoid Loud or complex patterns

This is similar to the bright color problem. Patterns in an image pull the focus away from the subject. Simple patterns in moderation are ok, but solid neutral colors are best.

Cover skin where appropriate

Skin tones attract the eye. For female subjects, this is a judgment call based on the type of image you desire. We want to focus on your faces in a family portrait. if it's an individual shot and you want a more provocative look, you can reveal more. For guys, avoid wearing shorts or short sleeves unless it is the specific look you are going for. An example would be a senior picture in your basketball jersey etc...

Use makeup and jewelry subtly

People want to see the real you and a little makeup goes a long way. There's nothing wrong with applying it to enhance features or cover blemishes. Just keep in mind that your photos will be around for a long time. fashion changes constantly so the more timeless the look, the better. Too much bling will be distracting as well. Keep it minimal and simple.

Location, location, location:

Don't be afraid to step outside of the box

Pictures in a studio, in front of a muslin backdrop are fine, but there's nothing unique about it. Shooting outdoors can produce so much more natural looking photos and give you the freedom to try some fun ideas. Use props or the environment to do something interesting. Take some standard poses as well but it's your shoot. Have some fun with it!

Choose a simple backdrop

Whether we are shooting indoors or outdoors, the setting should not be the focus of a portrait. Too much clutter in a shot will be distracting but a nice row of trees extending in the distance will look very pleasing. We can suggest some local parks or other outdoor locations if you would like some ideas. For shoots in your home, try to prepare an area with a relatively "clean" wall or other backdrop.

Make sure there is plenty of room

There will need to be adequate space for lighting equipment and camera positioning. The closer the camera is to the subject, the more distorted the picture gets through the lens. Sometimes this can work if it's shot at a flattering angle for an individual portrait. It's difficult to get a nice group shot with a wide angle lens though when space is tight.