Top Tips for Your Next Portrait Session from a Professional Photographer

To kick off the month-long fundraising drive, there will be a special mini portrait session event to start Family Portrait Month. During this special event, participants will receive a mini twenty-minute portrait session, one Facebook cover image, and two 5×7 fine art gift prints. All net proceeds from every session will be donated to Operation Smile, a global children’s medical charity dedicated to helping children and young adults born with facial deformities.

Every year during Family Portrait Month, a few frequently asked questions arise about how to prepare for a photo session. Here are the top tips to help you get ready for this or any portrait session.

1. Get Your Hair or Make-Up Professionally Done

Even if you’re a social media star, it’s recommended to have a professional handle your hair and make-up for a portrait session. Everyday make-up can be great, but professional lighting can wash out your skin or downplay your make-up. Camera make-up should be heavier than everyday make-up but not so heavy that it looks unbalanced in your portraits.

Professionals know which products to use and how to apply them to enhance your natural beauty. Once your session is complete, you’ll look fabulous and feel pampered, ready for a night out or any other plans you have.

For those looking to save money, consider these tips from makeup artists and hair stylists:

  • Avoid make-up with SPF: SPF can ruin photographs by making your skin look shiny or washed out. Instead, use a make-up setting spray with SPF after the session.
  • Use matte products: Glossy products can make your skin or hair look greasy in photos. Opt for low-gloss or matte products.
  • Blotting paper or powder: For those not using make-up, blotting papers or powders can help reduce shine.
  • Check out stores or beauty schools: Many cosmetic stores and beauty schools offer make-over services at reduced rates.

2. Avoid Last-Minute Changes

Don’t wait until the day of the session to try a new hairstyle, get a facial, or a spray tan. New haircuts or colors might not turn out as expected, and your portraits should reflect your true self. Similarly, avoid getting a spray tan on the day of the session as it can appear uneven or cause issues with make-up application. Facials can cause breakouts if done too close to the session.

It’s best to make any major changes at least 72 hours before your session. This allows time to correct any issues that may arise.

3. Wear Comfortable and Confident Clothing

Uncomfortable clothes will show in your portraits. Ensure your outfit fits well and makes you feel confident. Break in new shoes in advance to avoid discomfort during the session. Try on your clothes and move around in them to ensure they are comfortable and flattering.

4. Arrive on Time

Being punctual is crucial. Give yourself extra travel time to account for any unforeseen delays. If your session is with a natural light photographer, the timing is essential as they rely on the sun’s position for the best lighting. For studio sessions, being late can reduce the quality and quantity of photos as photographers often have multiple bookings in a day.

Plan ahead and communicate with your photographer if you think you might be late. It’s better to reschedule than to rush and end up stressed, as stress shows in photographs.

5. Communicate with Your Photographer

Good communication is key to a successful photo session. Discuss your goals and expectations with your photographer beforehand. Whether you want images for social media, fine art wall portraits, or professional purposes, ensure your photographer knows what you need.

Let your photographer know if you have specific images in mind or a particular style you want to achieve. If you have other plans after the session, inform the photographer so they can manage the time effectively.

Also, communicate your preferences and timelines with your make-up artist or hair stylist. If something isn’t going as you envisioned, speak up so adjustments can be made.

Think of your pre-session consult as a job interview. Make sure you and your photographer are on the same page and comfortable working together. If you have any doubts, find a photographer who understands and meets your needs.

6. Practice Posing

Before your session, spend some time practicing poses in front of a mirror. Find angles and expressions that you feel most comfortable and confident with. This will help you feel more relaxed and natural during the actual photo session. You can also look up posing guides or watch tutorials online to get ideas for flattering poses. Practicing beforehand ensures you make the most of your time during the session and results in better photographs.

By following these tips, you can ensure your portrait session runs smoothly and results in beautiful, timeless images.