Tips For a Great Photoshoot
What is the best time of day to schedule a session?
For outdoor portraits, very early morning (starting no later than 9:00 a.m.) and late afternoon/early evening (up to an hour before sunset) provide the most flattering light. Midday sun is harsh and produces hard shadows, although if there is sufficient shade such as tree cover, we can shoot at any time of the day.
For indoor natural light portraits, early morning to mid-afternoon is best.
Most importantly, let’s choose a time of day when the youngsters in the family are at their peak and will be well rested and fed beforehand. Better to schedule the session when everyone is at their happiest time of day even if it means less than ideal lighting conditions!
How long will the session last?
Plan to allow up to 1 1/2 hours for your session, though it can be shorter.. It’s critical that you allow enough time for your child to relax and move beyond the grin-on-command phase.
The setting for your portraits can be anywhere you choose: your home, back yard, a favorite park, lake, or even a historic site (where permitted).
I shoot using both natural and studio lighting. My preference is to use natural light (e.g., sun light), but my studio lighting and backdrops are completely portable and will set up in almost any room in your home.
What to Wear
Your choice of clothing can make or break your portrait! Please take time before the day of your sitting to select clothing with the following guidelines in mind.
General Clothing Tips
For a classic look, simple, timeless clothing in solid, neutral colors photograph best. Denim or khakis with solid shirts work well for a casual look. Clothing with too busy of a pattern or logo is distracting and detracts from essence of the portraits for you and your family. On the other hand, for a modern, more “fashion” look, feel free to bring along some trendier outfits with fun and fashionable colors. When in doubt, feel free to have on hand several outfits, and I will help you choose which will photograph the best.
Jewelry should be minimal. Avoid wearing watches. When photographing more than one person please consider their outfits as a whole, including hosiery and shoes, and keep colors uniform.
For family portraits, choose colors in the same tonal range so that no single individual stands out. Even though you would never go out in public as a family wearing matching clothing, trust me… the look works for family portraits! Plan to wear either all dark solid colors if you prefer a more traditional look, or all solid lighter, neutral tones for a more casual look (for example, everyone in white tops and khakis).
Newborns are sweetest photographed in bare skin… either a cloth diaper or their birthday suit. I recommend that the parents wear black so that they blend into the background and let the baby be the focus of the portrait.
What should I have on hand for the shoot?
If you plan to be photographed in more than one outfit, bring the alternate outfit(s) for everyone in the portrait as well as appropriate shoes and hosiery.
If you have a baby or toddler, bring along whatever you need to keep your child clean and happy: diapers, wipes, snacks, etc. Please also bring a favorite toy that makes noise, as I may need to use it as an attention-getting tool.
For kids of all ages, feel free to bring a favorite doll, toy, blanket, musical instrument or other hobby item, etc. that you may wish to include in the portrait.