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8 Things You Should Do To Prepare For Your Portrait Session

How To Prepare For Your Portrait Session.

Prepare for your portrait session with these 8 essential tips.

Portraiture is a photography art form that has deep roots in classical art work and paintings. Since the beginning of time, artists from around the world created masterpieces depicting important people and the important circumstances surrounding their subjects.

For centuries, portraits were seen as timeless personifications of royal, military and cultural importance, and a symbolic representation of social status. Back when cinematography and filmmaking were not yet invented, paintings were the only way people used to visualize stories.

Today this has not changed a lot.

Technology advancements of recent years made photography more accessible to the masses. It is not only the elite who could afford to have their personas glorified, but everyone from all social statuses, race and title. This democratization of photography demystified portraiture, but it still serves the same purpose: Telling the story of someone through photos.

The best portraits are made by street photographers who grab their subjects within their context, usually doing something, or simply caught in the middle of action.

How to prepare for your portrait session

Street photography is not the only way to do portraits, but it’s the most genuine. Other types of portraiture are for business purposes, school yearbooks, websites, bridals and just about any other special occasion.

Connect With Your Photographer.

The connection you must have with your photographer is a crucial part of choosing who gets to take your photo because it is in this connection that the best instances are captured. When you’re comfortable with your portrait photographer, your true self shines.

If you want to prepare for your portrait session, here are the best tips to keep in mind so you can get the most out of your time with your photographer. I send these tips to all my clients by email the week of their session to make sure they look their best, and portray their genuine self.

How to prepare for your portrait session

8 Things You Should Do To Prepare For Your Portrait Session

1- Get a good night’s sleep.

It is important that you are well rested the day of your portrait session. We want you to look your best, and getting enough sleep the night before is a good first step. Allow yourself extra time to perfect your wardrobe, style yourself, and travel. We recommend arriving for your session early. Take the opportunity to enjoy a few moments of relaxation before you begin.

2- Do not over-accessorize.

It is not necessary to accessorize your session with props and toys unless it has already been discussed as an integral part of your session. We create timeless portraits that are natural, relaxed and pure. We find that keeping themes simple allows for real moments, expressions and interactions

3- Keep your hands free.

We recommend having your hands free throughout the session. Do not have you carry extra clothing, a purse, drinks, or anything else. We will recommend that you leave your items at our starting location (most likely in your vehicle). We can come back half-way through the session to change and freshen up.

4- Be yourself.

We encourage you to embrace whatever mood you feel during your session. Feel free to relax, laugh and have a good time. Portraits are best when you are being yourself. Remember that just because there is a camera pointing at you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be looking at the camera. Sometimes the strongest images are created when you are interacting with one another. Enjoy the moment as opposed to posing.

5- Carefully select your wardrobe.

– Simplicity is always best, so when in doubt keep in mind that “less is more”.
– Avoid patterns and stripes, as they often will conflict with other elements in your portrait.
– Avoid logos, as they can be visually distracting.
– Neutral colors such as beige, white, black, tan and grey often photograph the best. They complement skin tones and don’t conflict with common background elements.
– Wear clothing that fits properly. A proper fit that allows you to move and feel comfortable will help you look more confident in your portrait.
– Always dress with full length in mind, including shoes and socks in your wardrobe consideration. Shoe styles should be simple and non distracting.
– If you wear glasses regularly, you should wear them for your session as we want you to look like you normally do. Don’t worry about shine or glare, as we know how to look for these things and photograph accordingly.

6- Get your bling off.

We normally recommend wearing minimal jewelry for your portrait. Jewelry that you wear on a daily basis is fine, but we prefer to not have you accessorize and add extra jewelry that you normally wouldn’t wear. If you do wear jewelry, keep it simple and it’s color should be neutral and non-distracting.

7- Do not experiment.

Apply makeup and style your hair as you normally would. Now is not the time to try out a new haircut or a new style of make-up that you aren’t comfortable with.

8- To tan or not to tan.

We recommend against going for a professional tan or intentionally tanning outdoors prior to your session. A fresh tan may look good in person but the camera is more sensitive to skin tones. Your natural color is always more flattering in photographs.


These were 8 things you should do to prepare for your portrait session. To wrap it up in one short sentence, just be yourself. Take out all distractions so that the camera can focus on you, your true self. You minus all the other things you have going on whether it’s distracting outfits, accessories, or artificial skin tones.

In portraits less is more. If you had to choose a prop I would recommend you to pick something that is an extension of your personality, a personal spot, a dear pet or your favorite tool.

I hope these tips to prepare for your portrait session were helpful. If you have other tips or have any questions about any of the above please let me know in the comments below!

Keep shining..