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Preparing For Your Session

The most common question I get when it comes to sessions is "what should we wear?" Choosing outfits can be one of the most stressful parts of preparing for family and engagement portraits; but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few things to consider when deciding on what to wear:

Steer clear of fluorescents. Fluorescent colors tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair. They’re often harsh. I recommend that my clients choose versions of primary colors. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal) are always good choices!

Wear what you feel good in! Moms and dads, this tip is for you specifically. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, but you rock a good pair of skinny jeans, do that. If you can barely walk in heels, there’s no harm in doing cute and comfy flat boots or pretty sandals. If you can’t do heels, wedges are a great alternative as well!

Make a statement with layers. Layers add dimension and depth. Layer your dress with a cute belt and pendant necklace. You can also try cardigans, belts, statement necklaces, scarves, hats, blazers, etc.

Coordinating is in. When choosing your outfits, start with a basic color scheme and go from there. It can help to have one person in the photos who carries a pattern in their outfit that the rest of the group’s clothing or accessories pulls from, while keeping everyone else’s outfits simpler. Or, choose two or three colors for everyone to use to incorporate as a piece in their outfit. For example, if you choose blue, each person will incorporate blue in their outfit whether it be a tie, scarf, jewelry, shirt, ect.

Dress for the weather and be flexible. Dress appropriately for the weather that day, even if it doesn’t go with your original plan. If your child is sweating profusely in a sweater during his shoot, he won’t be happy. And on the same token, if your child is wearing a tank dress and the weather dips too much in the evening, she’ll be a grump, and it’ll reflect in the final images. I speak these words from experience.


I highly recommend bringing a blanket large enough for your family to sit on for any poses that may take place on the ground. The blanket can coordinate with the clothing theme, be solid in color, or be something that is sentimental to your family. Try to avoid vibrant colors and patterns to avoid taking away from the main focus of the portraits; you! Props such as chairs, hay bales, pumpkins, mirrors, signs, ect are all things that can make a photo shoot unique. However, unless prior arrangements are made, all props must be provided by the client. Please be advised that the more elaborate your props are, the more time it will take to set up and take time out of your shoot. Remember, sometimes less is more.

Following these simple guidelines can help ensure a smooth session that you will be happy with for years to come.

The above are samplings from various photography blogs combined to make a simple, straightforward guide to preparing for a session.

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