How to look your best in a portait session
The first question is what kind of portrait session will you be doing? Are you looking to hire a studio for a professional headshot, a scenic walking away photo, or a full body outdoor portrait session? It does make a difference. Also think about what is important to you. Where will the photo be on display? Is this for professional or personal photo session?
There is a myth in the general public that your clothes need to contrast with the background so that you stand out. That's not true. A professionally trained photographer with proper lighting skills will separate you from the background. That's called a rim light usually. Choose clothes that coordinate with your background. A portrait session is about your lovely face not generally about the clothes.
It takes practice to smile. Try it in the mirror. When you are on a photo shoot with your family, especially outside, the time is limited. You'll need to be able to pop and hold a smile for at least thirty seconds. It takes work to be a super model! Besides the benefit of practice is that you'll start your day each day on a happy note.
Those images that you see in magazine advertising photos are not real. Let me repeat that statement. Magazine photo are not real people nor real families. If you are looking for a candid moment, that takes many, many re-takes. If you want the walking, smiling, happy go lucky moment with your family, practice it. Take your kids for a walk on the beach together. Remember kids will tire easily and to capture just the right moment will take more than one or two strolls.
How should ladies wear their hair and makeup for a portrait session? As a photographer, I want to know how you like it. Not just how everyone else sees it. This takes a little effort. Remember those models in magazines have beauty consultants and makeup and hair people to tweak each shot. On a real family photo session be sure to tell the photographer if you like your hair down, up, or behind the ears. As for makeup, wear a little more for a headshot, but not too much. For a full body session have a friend take a photo of you from a distance and see how your makeup looks for a practice shot. Generally speaking just a bit more eye makeup is fine but don't over do it.
What clothes to wear for a portait session. This is a big question. Again, it depends. Will it be a big group shot? Then coordinate the colors with the whole group. The eye should go to the faces first, not the clothes. If it's for an individual, then you can be a little more creative. However, if you want a magazine style photo shoot then go all out with your personality and clothes.
The last but best tip is to stand at a 45 degree angle to the camera. The photographer should tweak you a bit into this pose. Standing straight on or sideways is not the best way to look slim. Also stand up straight. That will also make you look skinny. And last but not least, don't just put your hand on your hip. Bring your arm out just a bit from your side but not a cheerleader pose to show your waist.
See you behind the camera soon!