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Portrait Preparation Tips for Individuals

On Location, Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
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A little list of tips for portrait sessions (especially highschool seniors)...

Do:

• Bring along several outfits ranging from formal to dressy to casual with a variety of colors and styles. It’s better to be over prepared so we have lots to choose from than to be left wishing you had something that’s hanging at home in your closet.

• Keep in mind that most outdoor sessions have limited options for clothing changes. If you’re not comfortable changing in your car then you may want to wear a layered outfit so you can just subtract pieces for a different look. If you plan on changing, arrive wearing the outfit that is most difficult to put on.

• Choose outfits that are simple and comfortable. Nice jeans or khakis and a simple button up shirt are classic choices.

• Plan whole outfits including shoes since some shots are closeup and some are full length. Old sneakers don’t look good with dressier outfits.

• Bring clothes on hangars to avoid wrinkles.

• A little sexy is OK if that’s your style, but be sure to include appropriate outfits that grandma will like as well.

• Wear clothes that fit rather than clothing that is too small and tight or too large and baggy.

• Bring along accessories (sunglasses, hats, jackets, scarves, class ring, umbrella etc).

• Consider bringing along a formal outfit such as a prom dress or suit.

• If you have longer hair, consider putting it up for some of the photos and down for some. Just be sure you can make the change quickly.

• Replace your mascara if it is old and clumpy or just leave it off alltogether. Avoid makeup or lotions with sparkle or SPF in it (many mineral makeups). Try the MAC counter if you need help with application. Use powder to reduce shine.

• Select undergarments that will not show with your chosen outfits.

• Pay attention to your nails. Fingernails and toenails probably will be visible in your photos. Natural or basic (not dramatic) nail colors work best.

Don’t:

• Don’t go shopping for all new clothes. Just choose some of your favorite outfits that make you feel like yourself or borrow from friends and family.

• Don’t show too much skin. Avoid low cut shirts, short skirts, spaghetti straps, and tube tops (this rule can be broken if you are one of the lucky few with a perfect body).

• Don’t wear clothing with patterns, plaid, stripes, text, or logos. Solids photograph best. Absolutely avoid pinstripes. (Kids actually can and should break this rule. They can mix solids, polka dots, stripes etc.)

• Don’t wear a lot of white or light pastels if we may be shooting in the sun. A white tee under a jean jacket looks good. A bright white, long-sleeved shirt doesn’t. Black can also be problematic, but bright colors work great.

• Don’t choose clothes that are so trendy as to look dated in a couple of years. (this is a good rule to break if trendy is your style and you know that you won't regret your choices later)

• Don’t wear a lot more makeup than usual. You want to look young and fresh.

• Don’t wear extra jewelry. The only sessions that need jewelry are engagement sessions, which only need a ring, and senior sessions if you have a class ring. Big earrings, bracelets, watches etc  are distracting. Necklaces tend to get twisted, off center, or fall sideways and look wrong with different poses.

• Don’t become too much of a perfectionist when changing outfits. If you’re quick then you’ll have more time in front of the camera. If you spend too much time getting ready (hair, makeup etc) then you won’t have as many photos or as much variety.

 

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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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