Monday, December 10, 2012

Appearance Tips For Your Photo Session

Taking extra time to think about your appearance for your photo session can make the difference between liking your images and loving them. Plan ahead and avoid that last minute rush of throwing something together at the last minute. I have a  few suggestions and tips to help you decide your clothing options below. These are not rules, just some observations I have made and some of my personal opinions. Some of the "don'ts" may work for you and your style!


  • Always keep in mind that the camera shows more!
  • Unless your arms are toned, you should wear sleeves that cover past the elbows.
  • Dresses should be long enough for you to sit down.
  • Undergarments may show through clothing in images, so layer if needed.
  • V-necks are more flattering, as it slims and lengthens the neck.
  • Avoid polo shirts; I find that they are not very flattering.

  • I prefer the look of long sleeves on men in photos, but anything that is not too tight or too loose works.
  • Layering is always a good idea; it makes fast clothing changes for different looks.
  • Hint: If you are doing a session with your wife, mother, girlfriend, fiance; wear what they tell you to wear.

  • Clothing that coordinates together is better than matching outfits! Pick a color and work around that.
  • If you are going to wear jeans, try to get tones that are close.
  • Accessories are awesome but add them to help coordinate, not to distract.
  • They even coordinated with the horses
  • If it is cold out, don't be afraid to wear coats and other accessories, but keep to the other suggestions.

  • Wear clothes that fit properly; too loose or too tight should be avoided.
  • The focus of these photos are you, not your clothes! So try to avoid too bright or dark of colors.
  • Avoid loud prints, lettering, logos, and bright shoes.
  • Avoid putting a dark belt on top of a light outfit.
  • Always think of head to toe and the location your shooting!
  • Always keep in mind your location, weather and the look you want.

Clothing changes
Layering: The jacket can be removed for a different
 look, and the hat can be removed for yet another look.
Think about where you are going to make clothing changes ahead of time. In some places, there are spots to go and in others, you are in the wide open, so think of undergarments!

Don't forget to bring shoes for all the outfits! Also think of where you're going to shoot and if its doable to wear your cute heels to get there, or if you should bring a practical  pair of shoes to walk to the location in. If shooting in a outdoor location,  I recommend a pair of rubber boots to wear when moving from place to place.  They are easy to take on and off and provide some protection.

  • Men should be freshly shaved so five o'clock shadows don't show.
  • Hair should be nicely cut and colored. I recommend haircuts/color at least a week before.
  • Girls should have their eyebrows waxed/tweezed several days before so the redness isn't apparent.
  • Bring items for hair and make-up touch-up to your session!
  • Nails should be clean or manicured for everyone.  For girls, nail polish should be fresh or completely removed and not chipped.

Try to stay away from the pieces that "make your outfit a little cuter" and lean more toward the sentimental pieces. Chunky heavy jewelry may be cute, but it's very distracting and takes away from from the main subjects.

Use matte finishes and avoid make-up with sparkles and glitter, as they get in the way in the retouching process with the way they reflect light. If you hire a make-up artist, use one that has worked with photographers.

Always feel free to contact me for a free consultation before your session. If you want to add a stylist, make-up artist, or hairstylist that is always an option for your session.

How many outfits?
Bring as many as you want and I will help you chose.  I have a lot of expereince with what photographs well and what colors look good with skin tones and the location we are working with.  Don't think you have to wear everything, we will make the best selections together so pack as much as you can.  I love accessories!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Choosing a smart location!

When going to take pictures you always want to have a location in mind! Location, location location!  Although I may know of a great location, it might be overdone and I also love trying out new places that clients suggestConsider the style you're looking for and what your interests are.  Think outside the box and try something that hasn't been done before.  Another thing to consider is the willingness to travel to a spot. You may know of a wonderful spot, but if you have to go under a bridge, through a creek, and a mile down the road to get to it, you should check to see if it's safe to carry all the equipment through. If you're not sure, look for another place. Feel free to consult me about the location you have in mind if you are not sure. Take into account that some places might be crowded and you may feel uncomfortable posing in front of many strangers, so keep in mind what which would be better for you: public or private locations?

As for how many people will be in your photos, a small venue would be perfect for a small amount of people, but always keep in mind that your shoot should take place in a location that has plenty of room to move and different choices for different looks.

Wanting something unique? Scout a fun location!  To give you an idea, laundromats have been popular, but that is being overdone in my opinion.  Never assume you can just show up to a place you found and use it for your shoots. Ask if it's on someone's property and make sure you have access before the shoot!  Some locations may have restrictions or require permits, and some may charge fees. In some cases, I can take care of the permits, but all fees are the client's responsibility.

Make sure clothing coincides with the background. For example, if you are wanting to shoot in a very green, woodsy area, it would be best to avoid wearing green. I am more than happy to help you with clothing suggestions. Another thing to consider is the condition of your background. You want it to look clean and avoid telephone poles/lines, or other things that can clog up your photo. If you have your home in mind, find a place free of clutter, inside and out. Watch out for the time of day you are going to take photos. Where will the sun will be? I will not photograph you directly facing a full sun! That would cause you to squint and cast a  harsh contrast on your face. I prefer the sun to be angled behind, to your side,  or possibly the front.

With your horses:
I prefer - though it is not required - to photograph horses where they are stabled or a place they are familiar with, as they usually act better!

Places with full sun and preferably lots of sky is best for taking images of just your horse, but for horse/person portraits, shade is preferred, though not required. It's usually best to take conformation shots of your horse on well-manicured grass or on another flat, clean surface with a clean background with a lot of sky and no distractions. For horse/human portraits, long grass and trees are great! Inside the barn works great, too, but just make sure it is clear of clutter. The location should allow plenty of range so we can shoot far away using the 200 mm lens. 

I love cloudy days and even days with a slight drizzle, so please do not reschedule because of such conditions. When scheduling  always consider the weather and have a backup plan if rescheduling is not an option. If the weather plans for wind, does the location have a spot that would provide a good wind-block? In the summer, the morning is cooler and when we have very hot days, I will not do outdoor shoots any other time of day.  In the winter, mornings may be chilly, which I love, but dress accordingly.

Remember you, your family, and your pets are the main characters of the shoot, and, in most cases, the background is not.  Depending on the number of subjects, I will not need much background to make a good image. The light source is more important sometimes.

Your Checklist Summary:
1) Location: style, travel, weather, clutter
2) Coordinating Clothing
3) Light
4) Background
5) Safety
6) Main subjects
7) Consult with your photographer