What to Expect, What to Wear
Most of the photography I do is on location. I find that an outdoor session often puts everyone more at ease. Sessions usually take from an hour to three hours depending on your choice. I love to shoot early in the morning before bright light creates harsh shadows, and the last few hours of the day when the sun's rays are creating a warm glow. Other than your home or the local park, there are plenty of locations that could be a great backdrop for your family's portrait. A friend's farm, an old graffitied building, a rambling creek, or historic city streets can create a unique setting.
I recommend when working with children, that you schedule a time when they are well-rested. You may want to bring a few non-messy snacks, water, and a toy that helps put them at ease. There may be short breaks to allow children to relax and rest. It is necessary at times to allow for the photographer to connect with your child and create a comfortable environment. My style is is relaxed and candid with children. I shoot for smiles rather than poses.
High School Senior Sessions
When working with seniors, they may be accompanied by an adult or alone. I recommend you bring along a bag with a comb, brush, makeup and several clothing choices. Rushing from school on an empty stomach will not put your teenager in the best mood for posing. Throw snacks and a water bottle in their bag of things to bring. Clothes can be the most important prop for the senior. I go into detail about clothing in the What to Wear section.
Family portraiture can come in two basic styles, relaxed and unscripted or tradional and posed. Either way, in your home or on location, the same principles apply. If an inside home portrait is desired, an informal consultation in your home is done to deternime where you want to pose and if any changes to the room will be required. In-home portraits can provide lasting memories of a special place where families gather. Getting everyone ready for the big day can be a little daunting. You will need to coordinate clothing and props. What is most essential is that everything is ready before the shoot so that everyone can enjoy the day. The best shots capture you when you are relaxed, happy, and well fed.
Headshots can be done on location at your place of business or in a studio. For business publications, the image is usually a tight crop of your head and shoulders. This is not a portrait session with mutiple poses that would take more time.
Individual portraits and couple shots are all about bringing out a gentle smile and comfortable pose. The last time many of us had a flattering portrait taken was when we graduated from high school. A special portrait takes time through encourgement and relaxed poses to show your true self. A portrait can be a special gift to your family, spouse, or grandparent. Many couples take months or a year to plan their wedding. Engagement photos can be scheduled anytime before the wedding to help you check one task off the list.
What To Wear
First, don't stress out about the clothing. The days of matching shirts are out. Wear colors that complement one another. You might dress in warm or cool tone color schemes, think of fall colors or spring pastels. Styles today are much more relaxed. In a relaxed, candid session prints and bold patterns can work, but remember if a more formal look is desired, choose small prints and solids. If you are doing a group shot, keep the same color scheme - as in all fall colors, summer colors, etc.
Bring several different accessories to layer the whole look. Texture looks good in an image; try using a scarf, hat, or jacket to add a splash of color. Bring several layers with you to switch around during the session.
Seniors should bring several outfits. Remember to include shoes for each outfit, and accessories like hats, jackets, and scarves. Bring along any props you want to include in the portraits. Classic, non-trendy styles may provide for a more timeless look.
For children, I suggest you bring clothes that capture fond memories. If your child always wears a tutu at this stage, let her be a dancer. A superman cape or cowboy boots can be the perfect prop. Bring a special blanket or toy, which may be included in your photograph. In all photographs it is best to avoid clothes that have writing, large logos, or pictures. If in doubt, check with the photographer, this can be discussed in a pre-consultaiton conversation.