Tips on Preparing for Your Portrait



Choices on Clothing, Color, Tone and Style...


When creating a portrait, you want the viewer's attention to be drawn to the faces of the people in the portrait. Skin highlights should be the brightest or most intense areas of the portrait, whatever the skin tone of the subjects. Clothing and objects in the image can help direct the viewer’s attention to the subject or direct attention away from them. Here are some simple guidelines for clothing and props that enhance the quality of the finished portrait:


Clothing should be simple in style and each piece should be in the same tonal range (light, medium, dark). Heavily patterned clothing such as plaids, stripes and polka-dots should be avoided as they draw attention away from a person’s facial features. Unless we photograph a sports team, logos and words on clothing should be avoided as best as possible.  


When light and dark tones are worn together, the contrast draws attention away from the subject. For instance, if you plan on wearing a dark burgundy colored sweater, wear brown, charcoal or black pants rather than khaki or cream colored ones.


For couples and family groups it is important that no one stands out more than the others in the portrait. The colors and tones that everyone wears should be in harmony with the others in the portrait so that the family looks like they belong together. 


Here is another idea to help you decide what clothing color to wear: decide where you will display the portrait, and then wear the accent colors from that room's decor. One last color tip: The majority of people (regardless of race, age or gender) have skin tones that look best in colors that do not include lime green, bright yellow, orange and rust.


When deciding which style of portraiture you would like for your portrait, it is best to reflect the personality of the people in the photograph. If you live a casual lifestyle, a traditional formal portrait may not be the best style of portraiture for you. Remember, you want this to be a memory of you as you are today.



Additional Tips on Preparing For Your Portrait:


Turtle necks or v-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style.  Avoid very wide or particularly deep v-neck garments or bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck.


For close-up portraits, long sleeves are essential, as bare arms will overpower the face. Remember, no matter how slim your arms are, they may appear heavier in a photograph.


Women being photographed in full length should wear longer skirts, pants, or dark nylons in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.


Since feet may show in the portrait, be sure to wear socks and shoes that complement the outfit you’ve chosen to wear. You may want to consider a pedicure if we are doing a very casual portrait, especially on the beach, you may be barefoot.


Men should be clean-shaven just before the portrait session if they tend to have a five-o-clock shadow. Mustaches and goatees should be carefully groomed. Haircuts should be planned about one week before the portrait session.


Please time your haircut so you portrait session is when you are happiest with your hair!