Portrait photography is a term often used without proper understanding and context. Simply putting portrait photography (sometimes referred to as portraiture) is the kind of photography that deals with a person’s or group’s distinguishing facial features while capturing the person’s or group’s attitude, identity, and personality by utilizing effective lighting, backgrounds, and poses.
Tips to Ace Your Portrait Shoot
What to wear for your portrait shoot? is one of the most important things to think about before your session. Clothes should enhance and not distract; show you off at your best, stand out in a pile of portraits and finally show your personality. Think about what outfits you get lots of compliments on, and those might be good choices for your portrait. There are no rules in our book, but some of the guidelines below might make it easier to choose from your wardrobe. It also depends on your job profile on what you should wear for your session. If you were an Attorney or Banker generally a suit would be perfect otherwise you can go for a wide range of clothing depending on your job profile and how you want to showcase yourself to others.
- Simple: The simpler the better! We don’t want the clothes to be distracting in the shots. Solid colors usually work best.
- Fitted: Tailored, more fitted clothes photograph best. Baggy clothes can make you look heavier in the shots.
- Crisp: We recommend having everything you bring professionally cleaned, or very well pressed. Wrinkled clothes can look very messy and distracting in corporate or business portraits.
- Color: Blacks, browns, and especially vibrant colors (yellow, green, red, bright blue) all look great. Solid colors usually work best.
- Variety: Bring a variety of styles and layers (blazers/coats/jackets over button-ups, over tank tops, etc.) we will be happy to help you narrow the field to those outfits, which will photograph best.
- Clothes to Avoid: In general you should avoid busy patterns, whites, baggy clothes, ruffles, puffy cap sleeves, (anything that adds unnecessary bulk will make you look heavier), and accessories (they can be distracting). BUT if there is something that you really love that doesn’t fit the guidelines, bring it and we can try it out, you are the boss. Cardigans usually don’t work unless you are trying to look more matronly, motherly, or a bit older.
Your Hairstyle? Do you have a great haircut/color that complements your face? If the answer is no, please make an investment and go get a fine haircut some time soon before your portrait shoot appointment. Make the appointment 3+ days before your shoot, so if the haircut is a disaster, you can reschedule without losing your deposit. Your haircut and color says so much about you — please consider wisely! If you are new to the city, and don’t have a stylist, ask your friends for a recommendation. It’s so important to have a consistent style. You want to always be recognizable.
Hair Products? Is your hair very fine and difficult to manage? There are products that can help you! You can buy volumizing shampoo/conditioner at the drugstore. Try them out! Also, there are volumizing products, Viviscal fiber, (mousse, gel, etc.) and thickening powders and serums that really work. Is your hair wavy or curly and super frizzy? Don’t know what to do about it or how to style it? Ask your hairstylist for a recommendation for a product that will help get your curls into shape. There are plenty on the market. And they might have a steep ww tag, but usually you only need a tiny bit of product at a time so it will last you a while.
Facial Hair? Look closely in the mirror: do you have a moustache or other unwanted facial hair? If so, get rid of it before your shoot — it will show up in the pictures! But please don’t wax anything less than a week before your appointment. If you have never been waxed before you don’t know how your skin will react to it. It can cause breakouts and/or redness and irritation. My recommendation is to get a pen-sized battery- operated facial hair trimmer, which you can buy at a drug store or beauty supply. It’s quick and painless. I don’t recommend doing your eyebrows with it, though. In one fell swoop you can shave your eyebrows right off and you probably don’t want to do that.
Exfoliate? Exfoliation is crucial to having a fabulous, glowing complexion. By sloughing away the dead skin, the makeup will go on smoother and your skin will have a natural glow. Gentle is a key word here. The simplest way to achieve this is to use a washcloth to gently scrub your skin as you are washing with a moisturizing cleanser. There are also many products on the market that you can get at the drugstore. St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a good and inexpensive option. I am a fan of Bliss Pore-Perfecting Facial Polish that you can get at Sephora. Origins and the Body Shop also have great facial scrubs that work well. Taylor and I also recommend L’Oreal Advanced Revitalift Micro-Dermabrasion Kit as a more comprehensive option. Try to exfoliate your skin at least one a week, or the day before your shoot. DO NOT, however, use a product you are NOT familiar with for the first time the day before your shoot. You want to test products like this, and read the labels and warning fully, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Moisturize? Keep your skin moisturized by using a good facial lotion that suits your skin needs. I really like the Olay products, especially the Complete Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, if you have oily or acne prone skin get an oil-free moisturizer. Water water water! Guzzle the water. If you are drinking tons of water- you WILL be able to see a difference in your skin.
Sleep? Try to get lots of sleep the whole week before your shoot. If you tend to have dark circles under your eyes, sleep is especially important.
Acne? for acne spot treatment I love Mario Badecu’s Drying Lotion. It is amazing and is available for purchase online or at Nordstrom’s Department Stores or at Henri Bendel in New York City. Proactive Solutions is also a great over the counter product for more serious acne issues. If you have really serious acne we recommend seeing a dermatologist.
Thanks for reading, see you soon 😉