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Portrait Photography Tips – How to Prepare for Your Portrait Session

 

Portrait Photography Tips

Portrait Photography is a team effort. You might have searched long and hard for a portrait photographer, and might love his work, but there are still things you can do as a client that will make sure your photographs as good as they possibly can be. These simple portrait photography tips will help you get the most out of your photographer. When I take a booking from clients, I like to go through this simple check list with them that ensures they arrive looking great, feeling fresh and are ready to shoot!

Scheduling the Portrait Session.

One of the most critical things to ensuring a portrait session runs smoothly is making sure it is scheduled at a time where your children are well rested and fed and if we’re shooting outdoors, that the light is good. The best light for photographs is in the morning or afternoon, generally it is best to avoid the harsh light in the middle of the day. For small children morning is usually better. If you want to shoot outdoors I normally confirm everything a few days before, if the weather is not looking good I try to reschedule a date within two weeks of the original one. In cases of illness, it’s usually best to reschedule too unless it is a family get together that can’t easily be repeated.

How to Dress

I don’t like to have too many firm rules about how to dress for a portrait sitting, but these are some guidelines that can help. It’s a good idea to wear solid colours and to make sure everyone co-ordinates but doesn’t match too closely, if it is overdone it can look a bit false, like a cross between a catalogue and a religious cult!

Avoid patterned clothes like narrowly striped shirts or herringbone patterns as they can cause funny optical effects at certain print sizes. Logos have a tendency to date quickly so it’s wise to be cautious with them. If you are buying new outfits for your children check that they are comfortable in them beforehand, and that shoes don’t rub. This is particularly important with small children who won’t able to soldier through a shoot, they’ll be unhappy and they’ll let everyone know in no uncertain terms!

If possible keep some changes of clothes handy just in case, and remember to dress for the weather, don’t wear clothes that will make you sweat in the summer, or freeze half to death in the winter. Make sure that if you shooting in cooler weather you have enough clothes to keep warm while setting up or between shots. It can often be cooler than you think in exposed areas, and if you’re just waiting for the light to change or moving to a new location, the cold can quickly catch up with you.

Remember – if it looks a bit creased in the mirror, it will look very creased in a photograph, make sure your clothes are well ironed and sit well on your frame.

Grooming and Make up

If you want to get your hair cut for the shoot, it’s best to do it a week before the shoot date, the same for any beauty treatments liable to leave you looking blotchy. Natural make up is best, remember that photography tends to enhance colour and contrast so heavy make up is best avoided and spray tans need time to fade a little. Small blemishes, cuts or spots are easily removed in photoshop, so if a pimple appears on the morning of the shoot don’t panic! As a portrait photographer I prefer the more natural look. Family portraits could well be up on your wall for many years to come so it is best to be slightly conservative in how they are styled.

Drinks and Snacks

It’s a good idea to have a supply of drinks and snacks for younger children, it keeps them happy and can be used as bribes if need be! Remember not to bring anything too messy that could bring the session a sudden halt.

Have Fun!

If small children are involved make sure you tell them how much fun you’re going to have and what a treat it will be. Children pick up on things quickly and if you issue dire warnings about bad behaviour or offer them bribes for being good beforehand, they will think of a photo shoot the same way they think of a trip to the dentist. Emphasise that the shoot will a fun experience, that they can play and run around, and that there is no pressure to pose and stay stock still. I try not to shoot children’s portraits under time pressure, so there is plenty of time for young ones to warm up during a portrait session. I’ve shot enough portraits to know not to panic if I don’t get a great shot straight away, sometimes everyone has to work your their way into the shoot. It’s important that children don’t feel pressured into performing, as it can really knock their confidence and makes them uncomfortable. Better to just be patient. The great shots will come with time.

Follow these simple tips and you will get photos that you’ll really love and your family will enjoy the experience too!

I have a dedicated portrait photography site with lots of great examples of portrait photography I’ve shot around Chichester and West Sussex.

 

 

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Posted in Brighon portrait photographer, Chichester photographer, Chichester portrait photographer, child portrait, Customer information, Uncategorized Also tagged , , |

I need a wedding photographer – but I don’t like having my picture taken!

There's no point hiding behind that flower. At some point I'm going to have to take your photo

There’s no point hiding behind that flower. At some point I’m going to have to take your photo

It may seem surprising, but for many of  the couples I work with, at least one of them will be nervous about having their picture taken. One of my main jobs as a wedding photographer is putting people at their ease, or at least making them a bit less nervous! You can have all the photography skills in the world, but when you’re working with people, especially people who may not of worked with a professional photographer before, interpersonal skills are even more important. Building a good relationship with my clients is essential to building trust, and if the people I working with trust me to do a good job, it will help them to relax.

If you are getting married soon these are my top tips if you are nervous  about being photographed.

Enjoy your Day

The simplest and best tip of all. You’ll love your wedding day and that joy will be written all over your face. Every couple I’ve photographed has had this particular glow about them, a combination of happiness and excitement that photographs really well. Your wedding is not just another day and the photos you receive will reflect that.

Most of the Time you Won’t even Know you’re being Photographed.

Most of the pictures I shoot at a wedding are not posed pictures. Most of the time while I’m taking pictures while you’re doing something else, little things like declaring you wedding vows or walking down the aisle!  A lot of the time you are not even aware of being photographed, so the photos are natural . These photos are also more ‘real’. nervous grooms look nervous, emotional mums cry and children try to take it all in. The fact that I’m telling a story rather than trying to create too many posed images means there’s less onus on the bride and groom to pull a happy face and pose for the camera. It’s a win-win. You get to enjoy your wedding day and get great pictures in the process.

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You are Going to Look your Absolute Best.

Remember that this isn’t just another day. Everyone is going to be dressed to the nines, hairdressers and make make up artists are going to polish you to perfection. You are going to look fantastic. On a day when you are going to look so great it isn’t it important to have a record of it? That’s what your photographer is there for.

Your Photographer is there to Help you.

As a wedding photographer, people tell me that they are nervous about being photographed all the time. Many couples will have never hired a professional photographer before, so don’t realise that being photographed by a professional photographer is very different to being photographed by friends or family. A professional photographer will know how to help you look your best and will offer advice and help where needed. Professional photographers tend to use telephoto lenses for portraits too so they’ll be further away which will help you feel more comfortable. I have photographed people of all shapes, ages and sizes, so very little throws me and I have plenty of experience of making all sorts of different people look their best. Unlike an amateur, I’ll be familiar with my local venues and where the best photo opportunities are. I have literally hundreds of weddings under my belt. I am here to help. If you have a side you prefer being photographed from or a feature you’d like minimised just tell me and I’ll oblige. Woken up with a spot or blemish on the big day? That’s what Photoshop is for.

Make sure you get a shoot before your wedding day

Preparation is key. That is why I always like to shoot with my couples before their wedding day. It can be an engagement shoot or a pre-wedding meeting at your venue, but I always like to photograph couples before their wedding day. That’s where I get a sense of how they are in front of the camera, and what I have to do to make you look you best. There is a time for coaching couples how to be photographed and that time is not your wedding day. By arranging a separate date with no time pressure, I can show couples how to stand, what to do with their hands and all the other things that turn an awkward photo into a great one. It also helps couples because by working with me beforehand they can see what I can do to make them look great, so they’ll trust me to do a good job on the day. They’ll relax a little bit more and worry a little less. That in itself makes the pictures better.

 

With a little planning and a bit of practice there is no reason why even the most photo-phobic bride or groom can’t have brilliant photos of their wedding day. The main thing is to communicate those fears to your photographer so he can help you. There are lots of things he can do to make your experience less stressful, and help you look your best. Remember photographers need great photos for their portfolios as much as you want them for your wedding album, so they’ll always be happy to help.

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Posted in bride portraits, Chichester photographer, Sussex wedding photographer, Uncategorized Also tagged , , |