Plan For What You Want - Do you like lighter airy pictures, or deep moody ones? Is there a color theme you are attracted to? Narrow it down....
This list is a collection of tips to get the most out of having your picture taken professionally.
Plan For What You Want – Brainstorm your best ideas and put them into a pinterest board. Do you like lighter airy pictures, or deep moody ones? Is there a color theme you are attracted to? Narrow it down…. is there a color you gravitate towards? If so, lets work with that color, plan to incorporate that color.
Do You Like SOFT or BOLD? Some of these questions should be answered before planning your session.
Pick Your Clothes Carefully – Your clothes will set the tone for the whole photo shoot. Are the pieces timeless? Neutral colors like creams, very soft pastels, oatmeal, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues look terrific in photographs. For family pictures choose coordinating colors. Mix patterns together, but stay in the same color scheme. A general rule for group pictures is Moms should wear what you like the best and have your family compliment you.
Landscape Texture Adds So Much- Distressed wood, firewood storage, an old truck all add interest in a photo. If you see something you like, plan a shoot around it. Look for fun textures like old barns, wheat fields, abandoned buildings, brick, ivy, back alleys with bricks, long roads with trees.
Smile and don’t smile- Both look incredible – Usually a funny face can loosen up the tension most people feel in front of the camera. The best shots come when you feel completely relaxed in front of the camera. A great expression can go a long way, so have fun with it.
Not Everyone Has To Face The Camera. If you like your side profile, get a few shots looking to the side. Focusing the attention on one person, while the rest of the group complements the shot makes for a photo that looks natural.
Add Some Motion – In-the-moment shots can make the best photos. Embrace, kiss, laugh, and play.
Let the Toddler Call the Shots In The Beginning – When the kids feel like they are in control at first, they usually go with the flow for the rest of the shot.
Bring A Family Activity – The most successful family photos seem to have an activity going on. It tells a story to some degree.
- Story Time – Do you love to read together? Bring some books.
- Love Cookies? Bring something to eat in front of the camera.
- Eating? – Pack some desserts
- Bring A Quilt – Sit down and cuddle.
Don’t loose sleep over bad skin – Most things like blemishes can be fixed up later, so if you have a bad day, don’t let it ruin your excitement for the shot. Fresh, moisturized skin is easier to manipulate with post production work. Natural lip gloss always looks better than chapped lips, and this is especially true in the winter.
Let Mom Squat Down For Hugs With The Kids – Sit down and let the kids drape around you. Most women are sensitive about their weight. With a woman squatting down, the camera naturally misses those double chins, and the weight is hidden. Most women don’t like their arms (no matter how hard we work out), and those areas are hidden nicely when moms holding her little ones. In these shots, the attention is drawn to their beautiful eyes and faces.
Warm Up The Skin In The Winter – With winter pictures, it can be really tricky not to get blue skin. Plan pictures where a car is sitting with the heat on to warm up in between takes. Right after getting out of the vehicle is when the skin looks best. The skin tends to be still warm and after a few minutes of being outside the cheeks glow, but after extended periods, the skin looks cold and purple. Winter pictures may be quicker, and running to the car to warm up those skin tones really helps in post production.
One Great Element Can Tell A Story - If you are hoping to add some intrigue to your photos, consider adding one unique item.
Get The Kids Fed Before Going Out – My kids can be very cranky about taking pictures. In fact, now I have to pay them! What can I say? Sometimes you have to bribe them to get good pictures, and that is the way it is with my family. I know children have limitations and attention spans. Bringing along a few bribes goes a long way. Having their bellies filled before pictures really helps. With that being said, when pictures of children are out of the way, the focus can be on other other family members, and then they can be called back in. Sometimes its difficult, but the best focus is to get a few really “quality” photos over a large amount of “ok” photos.
Flowered Bushes Look Fabulous In Close Ups – Greenry can look absolutely fantastic in close up portraits when an outdoor landscape portrait is taken. If there is a vibrant bush in your neighborhood, use the general location for the session and use it as a theme. Adding texture to close up shots always looks terrific.
Ladies, …Use Lip Gloss – I have found it difficult to change the color of a model’s lips if the lipstick is too dark. Lip gloss on the other hand gives a woman’s lips a luxurious look. Often times it is easier to fix the skin, and add lip gloss in post production, but having lip gloss on in real life makes it a lot easier. Lip gloss adds light to the lips and interest to the face. A shade that mimics the natural lip looks the best. Check these two options out – LA Colors On Amazon $5, and $ 3 at Walmart
Wardrobe Change – Getting a variety of pictures means changes of clothes. When organizing for a picture, select a few pieces that group well together, and items for an easy change. When you think of a session, think of items that can be changed out that make a difference. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be excessively complicated. Pile what ever accessories you think works best in a large bag and throw it in the back of the car. Bring a few antiques for a close up portrait.
Bring Your Makeup, A Brush or Mirror– Summer time can heat anyone up and wear make up off the skin. Consider throwing together a quick bag of anything you may need to freshen up your make up if you are concerned it may wear off. Don’t hesitate to bring hair extensions as those can be fun to take. Its all about getting a picture that you will like.
One Great Element Can Tell A Story – If you are hoping to add some intrigue to your photos, consider adding an antique prop. A red radio flyer wagon, a wooden bench, plaid blankets to drape around the arms, wood crates and metal lanterns make great props. Look around your home. I am always amazed that I can find something interesting out of what I already own. I also keep my eyes on the antique category of craigslist.
Add A Different Element – A different jacket, a sweater that can go over top of an existing shirt, different hats and mitts, or scarves can make a big difference.
Take off Your Shoes – Natural skin looks spectacular in photos.
Patterns Can Be Interesting – Think about adding at least one element with a pattern. Think about a floral dress, a scarf or hat set that has a pattern to it. Floral and plaid are dreamy elements to add to a shot.
Texture – Another element I really try to seek out for my photos is texture. I always keep my eye out for knitted hats or scarves. The complexity of knitted wear photographs well. Leather and metal are elements that add depth and interest.
Sunglasses Work Well For Men’s Portraits – A pair of sunglasses can be really stylish. Add this prop for something different.
Don’t Get Your Hair Cut The Day Before – If you’re getting a hair cut, do so about a week to two weeks beforehand, just in case it goes wrong.
Glasses –The glare on glasses can detract from your eyes in photos. Consider taking your glasses off for some pictures, and other pictures with them on.
Red Eyes, Red Skin Fixes – Visine was always my friend for really red blemished skin. Simply apply it under your makeup and it evens out your skin tone.
Half-gone Nail Polish Can Ruin A Shot – Its better to have no nail polish than nail polish that is half gone. Having your nails done for a photo session is well worth it. Your hair gets tossed around at times, but for close ups, your nails will be seen.
Avoid Giving Kids Staining Foods – Avoid colorful drinks or lollypops that will stain their face, teeth or mouths. Oh, I have learnt this lesson over and over.
There are times when we choose to plan a photo session last minute, and photograph it within 30 minutes. It works, but if you are planning on spending $700 or more for a large picture, you want to be sure that the colors of your interior are taken into consideration for those major purchases. Planning is my motto, and ensures you get close to the desired look that you want to see in a picture.