We're so excited to spend some time with you guys. Portraits are such a fun and memorable way to capture couples and families throughout life stages. And with the holidays approaching, they make great holiday cards! We created this guide for you, and packed it with all of our best secrets for getting the best out of your experience, so let’s dive right in!
Choosing Time & Date...
We’re natural light specialists, because we believe that natural light from the sun and its reflection, creates photographs that feel fresh, timeless and true to you. To get the most out of your session, please plan a buffer when getting ready so you can arrive a few minutes early to your session and be ready to start on time. We’re only able to shoot when natural light is still in the sky, so we’ll want to take advantage of every minute we have together before the sun goes down.
Selecting the Right Location...
This part is easy! Because you've booked one of our shorter, fall sessions we have pre-picked an amazing local spot. If you haven't made it out to Lake Louisa yet, it's one of our state parks full of hiking trails, woodland animals and lots of outdoor activities. Like you see throughout our website/blog, most of our clients choose to showcase the natural beauty of our home state. For most of our sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are always our first choice. We love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is divine, especially during golden hour. There are great options all around the state, so even if you've never seen us photograph in a specific spot before, we’re always up for exploring.
Styling Your Session...
Bring a little extra something with you! A freshly-picked bouquet for you to hold, a warm and cozy blanket or an old family heirloom to showcase. Even incorporating just one extra styled item, could be a fun way to make your session more unique.
When choosing colors for your outfits, we recommend selecting lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra- bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.
Coordinating the Looks...
As you’re coordinating your outfits together, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palettes coordinate, but don’t necessarily “match.” You should each aim to wear a different dominant color, but stay within a similar color palette family. So if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could wear a navy coat with gray pants, paired with brown leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square. Now he has his own dominant color (navy) while still incorporating a few touches of your color palette. Most women choose their outfit first, and then put together everyone else's outfit based on that.
Flattering Your Features...
In our experience, every woman, regardless of her shape has an area of her body that she’s self-conscious about, so recognizing what that is in advance is key. Choosing flattering silhouettes and colors that complement your natural features is the best way to ensure you’ll love the way you look in your photos. Three-quarter length sleeves create an awesome slimming effect on all arms, so be on the lookout for an option with a longer length sleeve. You could also bring a cute jacket, blazer or cardigan along, too. Skinny straps or strapless dresses have the opposite effect on arms on camera, so we recommend avoiding those whenever possible if your goal is a set of slimmer-looking arms. Heels elongate women’s legs, making them look fabulous. Closed-toes heels in particular look great on camera because they carry out the line of your leg all the way down to your toe. If your toes are showing in a peep-toe heel, you might want to schedule a pedicure before your session so you don’t regret letting your feet show. These little tricks make all the difference!
Pro Tip: If you are wearing heels, consider wearing thick heels or wedges due to the location and bring a pair of flats to wear when moving from place to place. Your feet will thank you later!
There's the do's and there's always the don'ts. Here is a list of our top don'ts for any session:
any sort of logos
cartoons or graphics on clothing
everyone wearing the same outfit (talk about 1990!)
sneakers (only a few ever make the exception)
lots of patterns (try to keep patterns to a minimum and make sure they flow well together)
crazy, busy patterns (ex. very small lines tend to look weird in photos and too make flowers take away from what's important, YOU!)
wrinkles. need we say more?
lint.... please, we beg you....use a lint roller.
coming with the impression that photoshop fixes everything. ha!
Go Pro: Hair & Makeup...
If it's in the budget, professional hair and makeup is on the top of most of our clients' checklists because it looks amazing and removes the stress of getting ready on your own. So, if you can splurge, do it! Whether it’s lash extensions or blown-out hair, professional hair and makeup will give you an extra boost of confidence in front of the camera, and it always photographs like a dream. If you’re working with a makeup artist, have her apply your makeup in natural light, if possible, so that it looks fresh and not too heavy. Plus, that’s the type of light we’ll be shooting in, so it’ll give you the best expectation of how it will translate on camera.
Pro Tip: Confidence.
It’s always the best accessory. A Little Extra Polish: Don’t forget, your ring will be center stage, so give yourself permission to get it cleaned and your nails done, too!
Skip the Spray Tan...
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, we recommend that you do not get a spray tan before your session, even a few days prior, because it tends to photograph orange even when it’s applied subtly and by a professional. Your actual skin tone will photograph the most beautifully.
Mix It Up...
Fall and Winter -Many of our guys love to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and can be more fun than wearing two full suits in a row. We’re big fans of this fresh take on a timeless classic. Layered Looks... Next time you walk by a store like J. Crew, you’ll notice the male mannequins and models are always wearing several layers at once. Layers on men look great on camera. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers! It’s all in the Details... Long pants and closed- toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on the face you fell in love with.
After the Session...
Don’t forget to plan a dinner date (or breakfast)! You’re already going to be all dressed up! Why not take advantage of it? We know the process can feel all-consuming, so take some time after the session just for you to relax and have some fun together.
One Final Note...
We know we just gave you a lot to think about. We created this guide to help make your session experience something you’ll look back fondly on for years and years to come. At the end of the day, though, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. Your family is the most important thing to us, and we want your session to be a time for you to just be yourselves and enjoy it. Have fun together. Laugh a lot. And we’ll take care of the rest!