Preparing For Your Portrait Session

Beautiful and memorable portraits are carefully planned. You will be photographed in an artistic and flattering way that will add a dimension of luxury to your portrait. I cannot accomplish this, however, without your help. Please take a few moments to look over the following suggestions to see how you may participate in the planning of your “very special personalized portrait”. I am here to help. Feel free to discuss any questions or ideas you may have in advance of the sitting.

First, choose a color/theme that simplifies the look of your family portrait. Too many busy patterns and colors are especially distracting in group portraits. While all the clothing does not have to match, the colors should be harmonious.

Coordinate the clothing for all subjects in a group portrait so that one person will not dominate the scene. A family group should choose clothing that blends with each member’s attire as well as with the background, rather than creating conflicting focal points that distract from the group as a whole. Color coordination lends harmony to the portrait.

Dark clothing tends to minimize body size, and light tones tend to emphasize body size.

A “high key” (white) background will show off skin tones best when white, ivory, khaki or pastels are worn. With only two subjects in the portrait, it is especially important to dress in the same color(s) to capture the relationship. A busy pattern and stripes are distracting.

Shoes and socks are often overlooked as a significant aspect of portrait clothing. They should compliment, not contrast.

Carefully consider your apparel from head to toe as a variety of full length and close up poses may be taken.

Dress for Outdoor Portraits

As a background, the outdoors can be very busy. It is important to choose only one or two theme colors, with your subjects wearing shades of those colors. While blues and royal colors are excellent all year, khaki and salmon are also great against lush green foliage. Burgundy, brown, tan and gray are nice late in the season. Avoid all greens, as they clash with Mother Nature. The simplicity of two colors can help separate family from the background scenery. Busy backgrounds and busy clothes result in hard to find faces.

Color Harmony and Portrait Placement

Also consider the location where the portrait will be displayed. Study the relationship between your initial choice of clothing and the décor in the room itself. By laying clothing out on the couch where the portrait will be hung, anything that clashes will be obvious. Make your final selection much as you would if you were choosing throw pillows. This process will assure that you choose garments that are most suitable.

Dress for Small Children

While play clothes are cute, they can detract from your professionally made portrait. Their appeal is usually short lived. It is best to select clothing that will stand the test of time. Try to select clothing that is timeless; apparel which will yield an image that can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Dress for Business Portraits

With “business attire” a pure white shirt will emphasize your neck rather than your face. Pastel, thin striped or soft patterned shirt with a subtle tie is preferred. You may want to bring extra clothing and accessories “just in case” and we will help you decide if something else would coordinate better.



Here are the Key points to remember:

  • Simplicity is key. Avoid busy patterns and overly-bright colors.
  • Light/pastel colors are best with light backgrounds and fair complexions.
  • Darker colors look better with deep backgrounds, dark hair and darker complexions.
  • White, ivory, khaki or pastels are best at the beach, or on a white or high key background (bright).
  • Avoid wearing yellow or green as they can adversely affect skin color.
  • Shoes and socks should closely match, not contrast with attire.
  • Teens and adults should wear 3/4 to long sleeves to cover elbows. In a group portrait, skirts should cover the knees. The less skin overall, the more the eye goes to the face.

Please call me with any questions 978-846-3151! I look forward to our shoot! Sincerely, Kerri