PREPARING FOR YOUR PORTRAIT
If you let me know in advance what you'll be bringing, I can brainstorm about sets & poses to make the best use of your props & clothing while creating unique & edgy ideas for portraits that you'll cherish for years to come.
This page contains information that will help you decide what to bring to your session. To avoid forgetting a prop that is essential to a shot you want,
it's helpful to make a list of what you'll need to bring. It's also helpful to make a list of things you'll need to do on or before the day of your shoot (e.g. get haircut, shave, etc…)
In addition to the general guidelines for outfits & props offered below, I'll offer more specific suggestions during your consultation, tailoring the shoot to your personality & interests. This page also covers tips about makeup, hair, nails, tanning, & glasses.
All information pertains to both guys & girls … except maybe the makeup part.
Music can help some people relax during their shoot. Since people who are at ease photograph much better than people who are nervous, feel free to bring a CD or thumb drive of your favorite tunes.
I don't have an MP3-compatible player, but you're welcome to bring one.
Don't buy new outfits just for your portrait!
- Bring outfits that you are comfortable in … if you're comfortable, you'll photograph well.
- Bring outfits that convey who you are & how you usually dress … a varsity jacket, sports attire, a uniform, etc …
Bring a formal outfit. A timeless choice of attire will allow your portraits to adorn your walls for many years without going out of style.
Hats, scarves, jewelry, etc … can also enhance your portrait.
Consider wearing loose clothing & changing at the shoot to avoid marks & lines from tight-fitting clothing or jewelry.
Avoid complex patterns such as plaids, checks, & stripes as they don't photograph well.
Simple styles usually work best.
Pick shirts with color tones darker than that of your skin (i.e., avoid white, beige, pink, & yellow if possible unless you want a white backdrop).
Darker Earth tones such as blue, brown, & green photograph very well, and, like black, are more slimming.
If you know what backdrops you want:
- Wear lighter colors for darker backdrops & vice versa.
- Wear warm colors for cool-colored backdrops & vice versa.
- Warm colors include browns, reds, & yellows.
- Cool colors include blues & greens.
Bring items that portray who you are. Use your imagination.
If you're known for carrying a yo-yo everywhere you go, then bring a yo-yo.
Other prop ideas might include: sports gear, a saddle, a tennis racquet, athletic or scouting uniforms, a varsity jacket, trophies, hobby stuff, musical instruments, stuffed animals, real animals, etc …
Let me know in advance if you'll be bringing a pet.
You'll need to provide someone to watch the pet while we're shooting.
… and no elephants, reptiles, or spiders in the studio, please.
Bring your makeup with you for touch-ups. Remember, shiny lips are good…shiny skin is not. Bring lip gloss for the lips & powder for the skin.
Although my studio is climate-controlled, it still gets warm from the studio strobes.
Arrangements can be made to have a makeup artist on set with you at your expense, but having your makeup done professionally before you arrive is usually sufficient.
Makeup artists at the Mall or at most beauty salons can do your makeup, but make an appointment in advance & tell them it's for a portrait
since photography makeup is different than what you wear during the day or to go out.
Soft colors will intensify with photography to give the perfect look.
MAC & Lancome are the most widely used brands in fashion & portrait photography.
Rules of Thumb for Makeup:
- Select pastels that complement your natural skin color & have a matte finish.
- Use thin foundation. Thick makeup distracts from your facial features.
- Use liquid “sunburn remover” foundation to take the red out of pimples, sunburn, or razor burn.
- Use light-colored eyeshadow & eyeliner that match the outfit or the backdrop.
- Powder the shiny spots (even guys).
- Use a soft color on your lips (no bright reds unless that's your look).
Acne is a common issue that most people have had to deal with at some point in their life. The intuitive thing would be to hide it under some cover-up makeup.
You can do that, but only if you're wearing makeup over your entire face. Cover-up makeup, when applied thickly enough to hide acne, also hides the natural texture & the pores of your skin.
If you “blend” the cover-up by also applying some to the area of good skin immediately surrounding the blemish, I'll have even more surface area of skin to fix in Photoshop than if you had not applied any cover-up.
Digital cameras pick up every pore, making areas without pores more conspicuous. So, as counterintuitive as this may seem to you, unless you're having a professional do your entire face, leave the cover-up in the bottle.
Free retouching of a few blemishes is included on all photos. If you have a lot of acne, believe me when I say that it will take less time for me to fix it in Photoshop than it will if you use cover-up.
Have your hair cut a few days before the shoot.
Bring a comb, brush, or whatever you'll need for your hair.
Arrangements can be made to have a hair stylist on set with you at your expense, but having your hair styled before you arrive is usually sufficient.
If shooting multiple hairdos, start with the up-dos or curled-dos first. As the shoot progresses, your hair will become less cooperative in holding a curl.
For those who want the clean-shaven look, plan to shave as long before the shoot as possible … depending on the color & rate of growth of your hair.
If you can get away with shaving the day before the shoot without sporting any 5 o'clock shadow, please do so … unless you're going for the 5 o'clock look.
Razor burn is not attractive. Redness, whether from razor or sun burn, is difficult to effectively remove in post-processing.
Digital cameras will pick up every missed hair, so be sure to have someone look you over in a brightly lit room.
A lot of guys miss the area directly under the chin & the areas under the ears. These areas are difficult to view in a mirror. It's also easy to miss hairs in areas with acne & around moles, etc…
If you're going for the stubble look, make sure it is even.
Nails should be manicured or at least clean & freshly trimmed.
If painted, use clear, white, or French-style polish.
Avoid colored polish unless all outfits have a central theme color.
Off-white & shades of gray look blah in photos; in general, it's best to avoid them.
Sunburn & tan lines will not be fixed in Photoshop, so choose outfits that will hide the tan lines … unless you like the look.
Avoid spray-on tanning within 24 hours of shooting.
Avoid self-tanning lotions … they can streak & turn some skin very dark or even orange.
Always wear your glasses in situations where required for safety.
For photos without your glasses, remove them at least 20 minutes before the shoot to avoid red marks on your nose.