The Importance of Planning Your Portrait.

Are you thinking of making a photographic portrait of yourself?  Your family?  Maybe you have a High School Senior in your midst?  Planning for this portrait is equally as important as who you choose to photograph it.  I have made a list of things to consider to help you have greatest success.

Portrait Photography_ Families

1) When you call a professional photographer, make sure you have seen and love this persons work.

This is crucial.  Take advantage of the fact that every professional photographer these days has a website or blog that shows off their style.  If you like what you see… contact them.  [Ex. When I first started out in photography, I had a client come in for their consultation for a wedding and asked me if I could make a photo in Photoshop of her and her fiance with their heads together in their First Toast Glass just like her mother has.  She never bothered to look at my website and see that I never do things like that!  If your face is on your head, I will never put it on a champagne glass unless it is a naturally occurring reflection.  I love reflections by the way!  I did not photograph her wedding.  It was not a good match.]

2) Make sure this photographer is willing to meet in person with you BEFORE the session to chat about what you would have in mind.

Not only will you know if you want to spend an hour or more with this person making your portraits, but, there are some important aspects to this first meeting.  If you have nothing in particular in mind for the portrait this is the time to learn about the options this photographer can make available to you.  Also, a professional will want to see you before the day of your portrait so that they are prepared as well!  Having a look at your face and body type will help them ‘light’ you, and will enable them to offer helpful suggestions about what to wear on the day of your portrait.  Besides knowing what set, backdrop, or outdoor location you are interested in or what photographic prints and products you are looking for.   [Ex. I will often visit the home of a family who want a portrait of themselves for their wall at home.  I can see the size wall they have in mind, color of their decor and plan clothing and style around it.]

Kim Bova Photography

3)  Discuss payment options at this meeting and learn how this particular Photo Studio handles fees and print options.

Each photography studio will have their own system.   Some charge one fee for the session and a package of prints.   Others charge a session or ‘creation fee’ to create the portraits and then you buy what you like when you see the images.  Others may ask you to pay a minimum print charge when you pay the session fee, so you are pre-purchasing print options before you see your proofs.  This is so the photographer can plan and shoot the portraits for the products that you want.   So you have choices.  It is good to know before hand so there are no surprises for anyone – for you or the photographer.  [Ex.  I have a complimentary consultation with all my clients before the session so I can give them the information they need regarding pricing and product. We also discuss where, when and why this want this portrait.  We get to know each other a little so everyone is comfortable.   A session fee is collected at this time to reserve your appointment date and time.]

4) Once you have decided who your portrait photographer is, go home and look through your closet and choose your favorite articles of clothing.  Choose what looks good on you, but also what feels good.  Feeling good = looking good.  Period.  I think you know what I mean.  When you feel good in that outfit, you usually know you look good!

Look for colors that are not too loud, patterns that are not too noisy if you are being photographed in a family or group. If it is just you, go for it!  But bring something low key as well for variety and a different look.  If you are being photographed with your family or fiance, then work together and lay your clothes out on a bed or clean floor and mix and match paying attention to colors that compliment each other.  Keeping it to 2 complimentary colors and/or neutral tone is a good idea.  Like maroon,  green and gray.  Or blue, khaki and white.   If there is a plaid shirt on one person, go for coordinated solid colors on the others.  If there is a small child in the mix, they can wear the colorful patterned outfit they love and keep the adults more neutral but complimentary.   [Ex. I have been known to go through my client’s closets to help them find the outfits that look nice together.  Often my clients -especially HS Seniors  when we go on Senior Safari’s – will come with a full suitcase of clothes to choose from.]

5)  Never cut your hair or get a new hairstyle the day before your portrait.

Best to do it a week before the session.  If you want to try something new and trendy, maybe wait until after the portrait, or else go ahead and schedule the portrait further out in time so you know if you like this look.  The portrait is who you are right now, so be you.

I hope this list of items will help you plan for your next portrait session.  Let me know if this was helpful by leaving a comment below.  Thank you and have a great day.

Kim Bova Photography




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