“Working with Pamela to get our family portrait was a great experience! I had worries about how the kids would cooperate and if our clothing would be alright. Pamela set my mind at ease from the tips on her website beforehand to the actual shoot, instructing the children and adjusting hair, etc. Her eyes caught details I could not have seen and the resulting photographs are priceless.” ~ Audrey Y.
The suggestions below are intended to help guide the client towards what to wear and increase understanding of how clothing and colors can impact their portraits.
~First decide upon a color family for your clothing. Will colors be warm (browns/earth tones) or cool (blacks/grays/blues)? Whichever you choose, make sure all subjects stay within it for a more pleasing presentation and be sure the selected palette complements the skin tones. Darker colors help bodies to blend with the background more readily, allowing the faces to be the focus. Light colored clothing does the opposite. :) One suggestion is to lay your clothing out from the top to the shoes and see if anything draws the eye too much. If anything does, consider switching it out as it will have the same effect in your finished portrait.
~White tops can make pale skin look even more pale. Pinks and reds are best avoided, and especially so by anyone who has a lot of red in their skin as it will not flatter.
~Clothing should fit well, neither too tight nor too loose, nor too long in the sleeves or pants. Clothing that is too loose makes people look shapeless. One may think they are hiding parts of themselves they do not like, but the reality is that dressing in loose and less fitted clothing makes one appear larger than they really are. We desire the people to be the focus, not the clothing. With this in mind, it is best to choose solid colors and avoid fabrics with much pattern or busy patterns/colors, especially if a group is to be photographed.
~Ideally, clothing should be longer sleeved (3/4 or more) and long in the leg. The more bare skin that is shown, the less focus is on the faces of the subject(s). If leggings or hosiery are to be worn, they should be darker in color. The eye will always be pulled to the lightest portions of the photo so keep this in mind when pairing tops and bottoms. A collar or scarf can help to define the neck and slim it visually. Wide necklines add weight.
~One can never go wrong bringing an extra shirt for those who may perspire easily or an extra outfit for younger children, just in case.
HAIR & MAKE-UP
~Hair that is styled close to the face or obscuring the face will affect the ability of light to reach the eyes, as will long bangs. We want to see your beautiful eyes!
~If you color your hair regularly, make sure to do it or touch up the roots about three days prior to your shoot so the color has had time to soften and appear more natural. It’s best to refresh haircuts several days before the shoot. The week of the session is probably not the time to try on a new cut… just in case. ;)
~ Make-up should be natural with soft transitions in the colors around the eyes, and foundation blended smoothly under the jaw line. White makeup does not photograph well and draws attention away from the eyes.
~Very pale skin can benefit from the appropriate tone of bronzer, etc. being lightly applied along the hairline, under jawbone, and under cheekbones to add definition.
If one has a lot of red in the whites of their eyes for any reason, the use of eye drops that remove redness is quite beneficial and really helps the eyes to look fresh in the photos.
HANDS & FEET/NAILS
The day of your session is a great time to get a fresh manicure/polish and pedicure as hands are in many shots (or feet!) and chipped polish can be very distracting.
Please bring it! ;) Also, please feel free to bring any special item that is an extension of your family or child’s personality (ie: favorite toy, stuffed animal, hat, pet, etc.) to be included in some shots. If the family dog is to be part of the photo, please bring an additional person who is not being photographed to watch it and let the photographer know in advance.