top 10 portrait tips

Portrait photography tips from Sammy Southall Photography

My Top Ten Tips for Great Portrait Photo Sessions.

What will it be best to wear? We always say simplicity is the keynote. !

One thing is for certain the more you prepare for your portrait session the better your end results will be – take time to choose clothes, accessories and jewelry you might think about wearing. Also ladies need to pay attention to makeup and nails.

  1. Simple solid light and natural colour’s are best. Try to avoid patterns large and bold ones particularly. and bright vivid colour’s. They draw attention away from the face. Darker colour’s are more formal.
  2. Elbow length or long sleeve dresses and shirts are great. (Short sleeves are acceptable for toddlers and small children).
  3. Try and co-ordinate from head to toe selecting appropriate shoes just in case they get in the shots. Children can often look best photographed with bare feet.
  4. Darker clothing minimizes body size and light tones tend to emphasise body size.
  5. Necklines are important. A “vee” or scoop neck is best if you have a short neck short and your face is full. A polo-neck or high-necked garment is more flattering
  6. For group shots dress everyone in the same style of clothing. Do not mix casual and formal attire. Formal clothing results in more formal poses. If you are hoping for a more relaxed portrait, or if you select an outdoor location, go for more casual clothing.
  7. Keep the tonal range of clothing within the group the same. Do not mix light and dark clothes together. Keep patterns for accent items like scarves and neckties only.
  8. White, natural colour’s or light pastel clothing looks best in portraits taken against a white or light background. Blues, white, ivory, khaki and salmon are nice outdoors against green foliage. Burgundy, brown, tan and gray are good in late autumn.
  9. Haircuts or perms, if planned, are better done a few days before the portrait shoot. Have make-up and hair grooming materials with you and handy for touch up.
  10. For children, the best time to schedule is usually mid-morning. Please bring along a few favourite, small toys to grab your children’s attention or that could appear in the photographs. Larger toy items like ride-on’s or trucks are also welcome. It is best not to offer food or drink during the actual portrait session, but having a treat to hand for afterwards is sometimes helpful.
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