While your portrait photographer should be able to analyze your face and body and figure out the most flattering camera angles, posing, and lighting, s/he doesn’t know your story. We’re all the most self-critical of ourselves, and you’ll need to be open to helping your portrait photographer understand if there are specific things that you don’t like about how you look in photographs.
At our photography studio, we ask our families, couples, and high school seniors to bring photographs of themselves to their pre-session planning & design meeting, so that we can look at them together, and, as their portrait photographer, I can get a sense of their style and likes and dislikes. If there is something you’re self-critical about, don’t be shy – we’ve heard it all! This is your chance to share your concerns so that your portrait photographer can create family photography, senior portraits, couple's portraits, and engagement photography that you absolutely love!
Left: One of the most common things that people tend to be self-conscious about is roundness in the face. A round face can be turned oval when the portrait photographer instructs the person to turn his/her face to the side in conjunction with positioning the main light to the side.
Center: This high school senior wears white lace for her senior portraits. Girls can wear white because women’s clothing is often textured with lace or ruffles. Boys, however, should not wear white t-shirts or white button-down shirts because of the lack of texture – the shirt will look like a big white blob in the photo and will distract from the face. A white knit sweater with a patterned texture, however, is fine.
Right: In the engagement portrait above, the bride-to-be’s white floral dress, with its lack of texture, would have ended up as a bright white blob had it been a solid white color. It works because only part of the dress is white. To coordinate, the groom-to-be then picked a color for his shirt from one of the colors in his fiancée’s dress for their engagement photography session.
Clothing that is too tight shows unwanted bulges. Clothing that is too loose may make you look heavier than you are. Black is slimming; white is “plumping.” Skirts that are too short make it more difficult to photograph you sitting.
Is there a certain part of your body that you’re sensitive about? Cover it with clothing so that it doesn’t stand out!
Wear colors that you like for your portrait photography session. With the exception of white or cream, any color is fair game if you like it. (We advise against solid white/cream unless the fabric has lace, ruffles, or some other type of detail/texture.)
One of the most common things we hear from our portrait photography clients during the initial consultation is that their smile doesn’t look natural in photographs. The key is to find a portrait photographer who can make you feel comfortable and relaxed, so that your personality can shine through.
Still feeling nervous? Here’s another tip: use your imagination. We once had a client who was a master at this. In her previous career, she had been an art director, so had worked with many models and photographers. As I photographed her, she would tell us about the scene she was imagining that was making her smile or laugh. What makes you happy? What makes you smile? What makes you laugh? Think about those things, and your natural smile will shine.
Whether it's for business portraits, acting headshots or model headshots, family photography, online dating photos, senior portraits or engagement photography, you should treat your portrait photography session as a special occasion. Don’t you want to look your very best? Getting your hair professionally styled is a small price to pay if it means that you’ll love how you look more.
And as far as makeup is concerned, oily skin and the resulting shine is the enemy. Ask your professional makeup artist to do what s/he can to reduce shine, and bring some facial blotting paper with you to your portrait photography session. That said, if you’re someone who simply doesn’t like to wear makeup, even for special occasions, then that’s fine. We don’t need to change who you are to create beautiful portrait photography of you! (We do, however, feel that makeup for women really is necessary for boudoir photography.)
Need I say it? You could follow all our advice above to the tee, but not all portrait photographers are created equal, and without the right portrait photographer for you, everything else will be in vain. In addition to being able to make you feel comfortable and relaxed, the right portrait photographer will be a master at posing. Posing correctly can shave pounds off your portrait, and posing incorrectly can add pounds. With a skilled portrait photographer, you won’t have to pose yourself… which is a very difficult task when you don’t have a mirror in front of you. Not every portrait photographer pays attention to detail and can provide that guidance.
Lighting is another factor. The way a portrait photographer uses light can either remove weight or add it. In addition, are you dark-skinned? Have you struggled to get photographs where you can see both the detail in your face AND have a background that is not washed out? A professional portrait photographer who is an expert with light can retain the proper exposure in both light and dark tones. Furthermore, proper lighting gives depth and dimension to images and makes them feel more real. The most strikingly beautiful photographs are beautiful because of the light.
Invest time in reviewing portrait photographers’ portfolios. Which portrait photographers have portfolios in which their subjects look natural and relaxed and comfortable? The best portrait photographers are those who can make a posed portrait look like it was candid because everyone looks so natural. Also look at the lighting in their images. Look at the highlights and the shadows. Which portrait photographers are the best sculptors of light?
Want to learn more about professional headshots, acting headshots, model headshots, online dating photos, senior portraits, family photography, or engagement photography?
It was almost three years ago that we worked with Shannon's older sister, Emily, on Emily's artistic senior portraits & acting headshots. Every time I spoke with Shannon's mom since then, she talked about eventually bringing Shannon to our Maryland senior portrait photography studio when it was time for her senior portraits, so I was super excited when the time finally arrived!
Just like her older sister, Shannon is very involved in acting and theatre, with both of them being represented by agencies now. In addition to senior portraits to preserve the memories of her final year of high school, Shannon also wanted one or more edgy/quirky acting headshots for her promo materials and website that she's working on. While this would be Shannon's first time working with a professional photographer, having previously done all her own acting headshots herself, she was most excited about getting an amazing senior portrait on canvas to go up next to her sister's canvas senior portrait on the wall of their family home. Classic, simple, beautiful, fashionable, and personality-filled were the words Shannon and her mom chose to describe the senior portraits they were envisioning!
Shannon was so busy touring colleges and going to theatre rehearsals that she didn't have time for the pre-session planning & design meeting that we normally do before our senior portrait sessions. So when Shannon and her mom and dad arrived at our Maryland photography studio a few days before Christmas for her senior portrait session, we began with a little studio tour to explore setups, props, and backdrops. Shannon's sister, Emily, had chosen our hardwood staircase, silver sofa area, and purple & aqua area for her senior portraits three years earlier. Shannon's favorite color was a self-confessed "sparkle," so of course, she would choose the same purple sofa, but paired with our brand new copper sequin backdrop, in addition to the same silver sofa area and a simple grey backdrop setup for the envisioned acting headshots.
In the end, Shannon proved to be just as amazing, fun, and beautiful a subject, as her sister, Emily, was three years ago. And, as a senior portrait photographer, I happily played around with some new creative ideas, including creating a chevron pattern on some of the grey backdrop photographs by placing a piece of paper with a chevron pattern cutout in front of a background light, and then adding a colored gel to the background light to turn it blue/purple.
Oh what fun! Congratulations to Shannon, Class of 2018! I surely can't wait to see both Shannon and her sister on Broadway one day!
High school senior in the house? Leave the boring senior portraits to the school photographer, because our senior portrait photographer does edgy, modern, and fashion-forward only!
Hooooraaaaaay! The 2017 "People Love Us On Yelp" award is out, and our photography studio is an award-winner for the second year running! Nothing warms our heart more than having the honor of creating gorgeous portrait photography of babies, families, couples, and individuals, and having amazing, wonderful clients who are nothing short of ravingly joyous about their experience with our photography studio. Thanks to each and every one of you who took a few moments from your busy schedule to share your thoughts online with others this past year!
When Emma & her mom came over to our Maryland photography studio for Emma's pre-session planning & design meeting for her (belated) senior portraits, her mom saw our albums and the gears in her mind began turning. Her mom didn't envision hanging large wall portraits from Emma's senior portrait session in their home, so a custom-designed album is a beautiful way to still retain, display, and enjoy their daughter's photographs for years to come. And sure enough, after Emma's senior portraits session at beautiful Glenview Mansion in Rockville, Maryland, Emma's mom & dad chose 20 of their favorite senior portraits for a classically-designed Artful Album with a champagne floral fabric cover, art linen paper, and white backgrounds. Here are a few of my favorite spreads - enjoy!
And, many thanks to Emma for writing this 5-star google review of our senior portraits on Yelp!
"My son had senior portraits done, but Emma's school didn't do any senior portraits. We have always wanted to get senior portraits done for her. Now, here we are three years later," said Emma's mom.
They mulled over the location ideas for Emma's belated senior portrait session that we discussed, which included the Washington DC university campus where Emma is currently in college studying theology and Chinese. In the end, though, the family decided on beautifully peaceful Glenview Mansion in Rockville, Maryland, one of my favorite locations for portrait photography in the Washington DC metro area.
At their "photo reveal" and ordering appointment, Emma & her mom & dad chose their favorite senior portraits for a custom-designed and classic, artful album. Check back here later for images of the printed photo album!
And so you see, just because you missed doing your child's senior portraits in senior year doesn't mean you have to give up on them entirely.
Life travels fast. Don't let another second pass you by. Do it now.
And many thanks to Emma's mom for writing this 5-star review of our senior portrait photography services on Google!
A phone call wouldn't hurt a fly.