Friday, August 15, 2008

Preparing for Your Portrait Session

FYI: I'm doing some posts on marketing for the next few days as well as the previous two days.

Now that you’ve scheduled your portrait session appointment, you want to make the most of it by being prepared.

Preparing yourself is more than selecting a good shirt and applying your makeup. There are a few tips to help you look your best:

  • Be well rested, and drink plenty of water in the day leading up to the session.
  • Avoid haircuts or hairstyle changes within one or two weeks of your photo session.
  • Excessive sun or tanning salon visits prior to your session should be avoided; a dark suntan may make your face look oily.
Don't stress about your wardrobe selection. Here are a few guidelines that will help you to present yourself in the most flattering way:

  • Choose collars and necklines that frame your face.
  • Clothes that are solid colors are best. Avoid anything with a bright or busy pattern. You want your face to stand out in the image, not your clothes. If you're not sure what to wear, black is always a safe color. Jewel tones are also very flattering, especially for outdoor shots.
  • If you're wearing a suit or or jacket, select a middle tone or dark jacket and pair it with a light color shirt.
  • Avoid sleeveless clothing -- that will draws attention away from your face to all the skin on your arms. See the sample image of the lady in the yellow shirt? The goal of a professional portrait is to have the viewer focus first on the face, not all the skin from the neck down.
  • Don't select high-neck clothing that will obscure your neck. See the photo on the left? The stripes are too busy and she has no visible neck. That's a no-no.
  • Wear your usual hairstyle. Don't try anything new and risk suffering regret over wasting the photo session. Make sure your hair is styled the way you want prior to arriving for your session. You may want your usual stylist to style your hair that day, if you're nervous.
  • If you wear glasses, you may want to ask your optometrist if you can borrow a pair without lenses. That way there won't be any glare.
  • Avoid clothing that wrinkles easily or doesn't fit well.

You want to look as natural as possible as far as makeup is concerned.
  • Don't go overboard on your makeup on portrait day. Simple, clean, and fresh is best. When applying makeup, pay special attention to your eyes. That's what people see first. Eye shadow adds depth. Stick to neutral shades and avoid iridescent colors.
  • Ladies, as we age the most flattering shades of blush are peach tones. I know those pink blushes used to make you look fresh and young, but I have to tell you -- if you're no longer a young woman, it will just look unfortunate. Same goes for pink lipstick. Trust me on this. Truly.
  • Bring your makeup kit with you so you can touch-up as needed.
  • Gentlemen--a light powder foundation can reduce imperfections and an oily appearance. No one will be the wiser, and don't feel self conscious about a dusting of powder to enhance your image.
For samples of great author headshots, see the previous post.


Ane Mulligan said...

Thanks, Megan. These are great helpers! Last year in Dallas, I had some great photos taken. I obeyed all these guidelines ... that is all but one.

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not 29 anymore. I chose a good color for me - green, but the neckline was a bit low and the angle of the shots made my chest look like an orange - and I do't mean the color.

Not a pretty picture. I ended up cropping them to head shots only.

For what the photographer had to work with, I'm pleased with the results ... after cropping.

So this year, I'll try again, remembering to wear a higher, but not too high, neckline. ;)

Dineen A. Miller said...

Awesome post, Megan. Thanks for the tips! :-)

Emily Joyce said...

This was really helpful! Thanks Megan!