Pre-Portrait Preparation & Considerations - Altoonian Photography

Tips for Better Portraits

Beautiful portraits take careful planning. The clothing you choose is important to the success of your portrait. The guidelines below will help you make some important decisions when planning for your portrait session.


• Decorating with Portraiture

• Creating a Timeless Portrait

• Seniors, Look Your Best!

• Nothing is More Precious than the Story of a Child

• The Seven Ages of a Child

• Preserving Your Precious Memories (Photograph Restoration)


• Simplicity is best! Choose timeless clothing instead on clothes that are more “trendy”.

• Solid colors are best. Clothing in medium to dark tones of blue, green, brown, gray or burgundy are pleasing choices when being photographed outdoors.

• Avoid large patterns, logos on clothing and bright colors. They will draw attention away from the face. ¾ length or long sleeves are recommended. Bare arms can sometimes overpower the face. It is okay to dress small children in short sleeves.

• Coordinate your clothing from head to toe! Be sure to select appropriate shoes and stockings for your clothing style.

• Darker clothes tend to minimize body size and light tones tend to emphasize body size.

• Necklines are important. Turtlenecks or V-necks are flattering provided neither is exaggerated in style. A V-neck or scoop neck is best if your neck is short and your face is full. A turtleneck or high necked shirt is more flattering if your neck is longer and your face is slender.

• If glare is not a problem and distortion is not significant, photographs will be taken with and without glasses and the eyes will be transferred during post production. If you do not wear your glasses full time, photographs can be taken without them.

• It is best to wear your usual makeup or even slightly less makeup. Styling your hair and applying makeup at home is the most convenient, but feel free to bring what’s needed for touch-ups.

• Remember to keep jewelry simple and avoid wearing a watch to the session.

• Men should be clean shaven or facial hair should be carefully groomed. Haircuts for men and children should be done about one or two weeks before the portrait session. Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is cut and styled.

• For small groups, it is important to dress everyone in the same style of clothing. Also, keep garments within the same tonal ranges.

• Always make sure your clothing is neatly pressed! If necessary, change into your shirt once you arrive at the location for the portrait session. This will eliminate those seat belt wrinkles!

• The “window of opportunity” with children can sometimes be limited. All children have different and unique personalities. You may consider having a portrait of each child individually in order to capture those special qualities of their personality. It is always best to do the grouping that is most important to you first and then follow through with the other groupings for the portrait session.

• On the day of the session, it is best to resist the urge to tell your child to smile or “say cheese”. Simply say, “We are having our portrait taken and it will be fun!” This seems to work the best and provide for the most natural expressions.

• Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun during your portrait session. Gary will work patiently with your children to put them at ease and make the portrait session fun for them!

• Remember, pre-planning is the best way to put your mind at ease that all will go well on the day of your portrait session.

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