Wardrobe Tips and More

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What time of day to schedule your session.

Indoor\studio sessions offer a lot of flexibility. It doesn’t really matter what time of day your session is because artificial lighting will most likely be used.  Please remember that you may be at your freshest in the morning after you shower and shave (guys) or do your makeup (gals). 

For environmental portraiture (outdoor sessions), the best time of day to photograph outdoors is 1.5 hours after sunrise (early morning) or 1.5 hours before sunset.  That is known as the Golden Hour because the sunlight is at its best.  Not only does this keep you out of the mid-day heat but the sun is lower in the sky and doesn’t produce such hard shadows.  On the weekends, schedules permitting, I’m happy to shoot in the morning or evenings and during the week I can photograph you in the evenings after you get off work.

Weather for Outdoor Portraits

We’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.  We can always reschedule if it is raining or too cold.  Don’t worry about clouds; they give us nice balanced lighting. 


Avoid stripes and plaids!! Solid colored clothing photograph much better.  Also bring a variety of colored outfits.  Don’t bring 5 outfits that are the same color -even if it is your favorite color.  Avoid clothing that has wording on it except your school name\logo.  Vary the style, all one style (like tanks) get boring.  Vary the dress level; bring some dressy, medium and casual.  Remember it is best to do one or two outfits that mom and grandma will like, then we can do the stuff you like.

Our sessions let you do multiple looks within your time period.  This means if you change fast you get mere variety of looks.  Spend all day in the dressing room and you’ll get less time in front of the camera.  Outdoors lighting changes throughout the day, so plan outfit changes in time to capture the best golden hour lighting.  Most people can get 2-3 looks per hour, more if you are quick and work easy.  We suggest you bring double what you think we will do so we have more choices.

If you are planning a group session please make sure that all of the outfits coordinateYou will be much more pleased with the results.  They don't have to all match* but they should coordinate in color and style (dressy vs. casual).  Solids always work better than prints.  I'll say it again, avoid stripes and plaids.  * Some examples of matching outfits that look good are:

  • White shirts with blue jeans
  • Black shirts with blue jeans
  • Jewel tones shirts with jeans or khakis
  • Denim or white shirts with khakis
  • Gray or black  shirts with black pants. 

Again (mom) coordinate the outfits nobody wants to be the one who is under dressed.

  • Some of the shots will be close up, others will be full length.  Plan outfits completely.  It is hard to do a full length formal in your suit if all you brought was big old tennis shoes.
  • Dark clothes tend to make you look thinner.  Also remember, as a general rule, light clothes look better on lighter backgrounds and darker clothes look better on darker backgrounds.   If you prefer dark, bring dark, if you prefer some of both, bring some of both. 
  • Group your outfits together ON HANGERS and make sure everything is ironed, or at least wrinkle free.  Don’t bring your clothes stuffed into a plastic bag as they will get wrinkled. 
  • Make sure your shoes are appropriate with the outfit you choose. 
  • DO bring your shoes in plastic bags on the hanger so they won't get your clothes dirty.
  • If you are doing an outdoor session you may not have a place to change.  You can wear a layered outfit so you can drop a piece for a different look.  Some of my favorite locations have public restrooms where you can change.  Be sure we talk about that before the day of your shoot to know if your location does. 

Make sure your clothing flatters you.  If you think you have large arms be careful of sleeveless styles because they can make your arms look fuller.  I've photographed a couple of women who wore tops that were very light loose.  Although they had great figures the style of their tops made them look much bigger than they are; try to avoid oversized clothes.  Likewise, clothes that are too tight will not flatter you either.  Have a friend you trust (better yet, your mom) check out how your outfit looks the day before your session.

Seniors should bring at least one 'Parent Pleaser' outfit and at least one 'Senior Pleaser' outfit.  We all know mom & dad will have ideas of the portrait style they want hanging on their walls; likewise, your senior may not have the same ideas.  It is best to bring a few different outfits from which to choose; that way everyone can be happy.  Wild to mild... We don’t really tell you what you can and cannot wear.  A little sexy is ok, but don’t make all of your outfits that way and I have a strict ‘No Crack’ policy.  I can photograph everything from prom dress to swimsuits.  What one person may like may not be appropriate for the next person.  As long as it is PG rated it is ok.

Clothes for Black & White

The black & white ‘glamour' look that is so popular is best with black clothing.  The contrast between the skin and black is what makes it so dramatic. So, bring some black, wild to mild.  Dark bottoms are always in order.

Nobody likes to be photographed when they're hungry

Have a snack before you come.  You may want to bring some fruit, protein bar or other snack if you tend to get hungry.  This is especially important for children.  Chocolate, especially Oreo cookies, will stain your teeth so you'll want to avoid that type of snack.   It is a good idea to bring along some water as well - especially in the summer.

Other Photographers at your session

Everyone enjoys seeing some behind the scenes photos of your session and what we did to make you look great.  Please realize that you are hiring me to make you look your best.  Someone else snapping some pictures of you with their cell phone while I'm trying to take your portrait will you and invariably cause you to look away from the primary camera.  This is to be avoided.  We have very expensive, top of the line cameras, lenses and lighting and we need your full attention to make you look best.


Bring them!  Bring props which define who you are.  Some popular choices are sports equipment (soccer balls, footballs, lacrosse sticks, tennis rackets, golf clubs etc.  We photograph sports uniforms, musical instruments, active outfits (dance leotards\shoes, swimming, hobbies, you name it). Vehicles (motorcycles or cars) are also good props.


This and a great attitude are essential for a great photo session.  If you think you have an awkward smile spend a few minutes looking at your smile in the mirror.  You can close the door and nobody will know what you're doing.  Remember what it feels like to have a natural smile versus one that is forced out.  If you have any doubts about your smile ask your parents for help; they'll give you a more reliable answer than your friends.


You can choose to wear or remove your eyeglasses.  Most glasses show glare with supplemental lights (flashes), some prescriptions glare more than others. Reduced glare lenses are available and really work well for flash photography. Your best bet is to check with your optometrist to see if he will loan you an empty set of frames similar to yours for the photo session.


Guys, if you wear a beard make sure it is neatly trimmed before your session.  If you regularly shave, Please make sure you are clean shaven.  Unless you're Brad Pitt stubble is unattractive.  Retouching stubble is difficult and expensive.  Guys, if you a have a goatee that mom hates we’ll do the casual shots first then you can shave it off for the formals that mom will like.  Everyone ends up happy that way.


Makeup should only be slightly heavier than normal.  About like you might wear on the evening out.  Mascara should be clean and contain no clumps.  So if your mascara is old and clumpy replace it first.  Avoid makeup with ‘sparkles’ in it.  When you move it makes a nice shimmer, but in a photo where you are still it creates a little white spot that almost looks like a pimple.  Avoid makeup with an SPF in it. Although it is good for your skin, the SPF tends to create an unwanted shine.  Summer shine can be controlled by translucent power that knocks out the shine without additional color.  You may want to bring blotting papers (not Kleenex) to help you control perspiration in the summer.


Guys and Gals, please make sure to wash your hair before your session.  You won't like the oily hair look for your pictures.  Be sure to bring a hairbrush.  The windblown look is great for fashion photography, but wispy, stray hair doesn't.  A little hair spray or hand lotion can help your hair sit down in an emergency. 

Some clients choose to have a professional do hair and makeup for their photo session.  In any event, avoid changing your hairstyle or cutting your hair right before your session.  Let it be natural.  Quick easy hairstyle changes during the session are ok, but make it quick so we don’t lose camera time.  Ladies: Please look closely to see if you need to have your roots touched up prior to your session.  Bring your own hair care tools and products.  It is ok to show up early in curlers if you need to. 


It is best to keep it simple.  Big shiny jewelry can detract from the real subject and care should be taken to see that the neckline works with the jewelry you've chosen.  If you have different jewelry for different outfits you can put it in a plastic bag and hang it from the hanger with the outfit.  Be aware, it is tough to have a tight crop on a headshot if you wear a long necklace.


Tan lines are not attractive in portraits.  Vary your swim suit top or use a tanning bed to minimize tan marks.  Skin that looks like dark leather is not the most attractive either. 

Sunburns and peeling skin DO NOT photograph well.  Tan yes, burn NO.  If your session is in the winter or early spring you may want to tan to get some color, but don’t overdo it and make it look fake.


We retouch blemishes, so don’t worry about that minor breakout.  If extensive retouching is needed an additional fee may be added.


Pets are ok as long as they’re housebroken and well mannered.  Please let us know in advance if you’re going to bring a pet.  It is a good idea to have someone else bring the pet then leave when you’re finished with him.  Alternatively, bring a pet carrier to put him in while you’re being photographed.  Treats and toys are helpful to hold a dog’s attention.  Please bring a leash and a couple of plastic bags... just in case.

Friends & parents

Sure, they’re welcome!  They can help. However, if they distract you it is best to have them give you some distance.  There will be no additional charge to have a couple of shots with the mom and dad, sibling, boyfriend or a girlfriend.  If you're a guest, please don't distract the subject by taking pictures with your cell phone while we're working.

Tattoos, warts, bumps, scars & braces

Be sure to let me know if you want the tattoos to show or not.  Warts, bumps and scars are not automatically retouched, but can be removed at your request.  Everyone has a 'good side' and 'bad side'; if you have a large mark on one side of your face we'll probably photograph you from the other side more so you'll look your best.  Extensive retouching may have an additional charge.  Braces, don’t worry you could have the tops removed for the photo session, or they can be removed via computer.  Braces or not, a nice natural smile is better than a dorky holding back or fake smile look. 


If you are planning to wear white pants be sure NOT to wear patterned underwear, or a white bra with a black sleeveless shirt.  Please bring appropriate foundation wear for each outfit.  Flesh colored is the best you can hope for.  Also, if you need a strapless, bring one.  Tucking the straps down usually shows and it looks bad.  With today’s thin fabrics you may want to carefully select these pieces so they don’t give unsightly lines.

Finger & toe nails

Nails show!  Go ahead and file your nails, especially if you tend to bite them.  Please consider the color of your clothes when painting your nails.  If they have the polish chipped off it will show so take a few minutes to put on a fresh coat before you leave home.    Many casual shots are done barefoot so don’t forget about the toes.  Avoid really bright colors.  Natural or basic colors work best.  We don’t want to draw attention to you neon orange or black toe nails, and they’ll probably look bad with your next outfit.