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Prepare For Your
Photo Session

Portraiture is a photographic form of art that has its roots in classical artwork and paintings. For centuries, portraits were seen as timeless personifications of the wealthy, royalty, and military personnel, people of cultural importance, and a symbolic representation of social status. Before cinematography and filmmaking were invented, drawings, paintings and sculptures were the only media people had to visually portray a story. Lots of preparation went into making those classical pieces look incredible. Here's a little homework for you to help you prepare for your session.


Clothing: Simplicity is best, so when in doubt keep in mind that “less is more”.

  • Pick outfits that you love, feel most comfortable in, and reflect your personality.

    •  Sessions Includes a 20% Discount at Dillard's

  • Avoid patterns and stripes, as they often will conflict with other elements in your portrait. Also, as great as modern cameras are they don’t like thin stripes or tiny prints. There is a high chance outfits with stripes or tiny print will cause what's called, Moiré. This visual perception occurs when a fine pattern on your subject meshes with the pattern on the imaging chip of your camera, and you see a third separate pattern.

  • Avoid clothing with logos or words, as they can be visually distracting.

  • Neutral colors such as beige, white, black, tan, and grey often photograph the best. They complement skin tones and don’t conflict with common background elements.

  • We may not get to shoot all the looks you bring, but we’ll have lots of flexibility if you bring at least:

    • One casual outfit, minimally

    • Something a bit more formal, to spice it up

    • For a senior photo session

      • Your graduation cap, gown, and stole  

      • Your marching band, sports, or other uniform if you participated

      • Letterman Jacket

  • Test fit new outfits or outfits you haven’t worn in a while.  It’s important that everything fits well and that you feel comfortable.  If you don’t like your outfit or accessories, then you won’t like them in a photograph.

  • Iron or dry clean your outfits that need to be pressed and be sure to hang these items up so they don’t get wrinkly before your shoot.

  • Make sure you have the proper undergarments.  We don’t want to have bra straps distracting from your cute outfit or see patterned bras showing through your top.  The best bra for photos is a neutral, well fitting, strapless one.  

  • Feel free to send me photos of what you plan to wear if you have any questions.  We can talk and go from there.


Beyond Clothing:

  • Accessories: It is not necessary to overly accessorize your session unless accessories have been discussed as an integral part of your session, as with someone dressing “old west” period correct clothing.

    • If you do wear jewelry, keep it simple and its color should be neutral and non-distracting.

    • Most of our session will be focused on your beautiful face, so don’t sweat having THE perfect shoes for every outfit. 

    • For colder months, hats, scarves, and gloves look great! When it comes to a scarf, less is more.

  • Props: Do you have a special interest? Whether it is a sports ball, musical instrument, motorcycle, period correct pistol, or hobby item, better to bring them than not. Pick something that is an extension of your personality, a personal spot, a dear pet, or your favorite tool.


Outward Appearance:

  • Skin: The bottom line is that you want your complexion to look natural unless you want to go for a theatrical look. If that’s the case then let's plan it and go for it!

    • Cosmetics:  Come with a fresh face. Avoid moisturizers unless you are certain they won’t make you your face look greasy. Bring makeup and hair products for touch-ups or even bring your own stylist. Products with SPF can cause the skin to shine under a photographic flash, so avoid them, too.

    • Complexion:  Don’t stress about unexpected blemish pop ups in the days or hours before your session. Do your best to ignore and not pick at them, which only makes them mad. When they are mad, they look worse. It’s okay. Don’t worry. I can clean them up in Photoshop.

    • Sun Worshipers: Sunburns or fake bakes gone wrong are almost impossible to Photoshop away. A fresh tan may look good in person, but the camera is more sensitive to skin tones. Your natural color is always more flattering in photographs.

    • Spa Treatments: Enjoy facials or other treatments at least a week in advance to give your skin time to heal.

  • Hair:  If you are planning on getting a new hairstyle, do so a week or two in advance.  You don’t want to try out a new hairstyle right before your session.  To reduce redness, use a fresh razor and take it easy when shaving facial or body hair prior to your session.

  • Nails:  Nails show up in photos and they can be a pain to fix in Photoshop. You don’t necessarily need to have fresh polish, but outgrown acrylics and chipped nails will show. If you’re not a nail person, just make sure they look clean, are moisturized, and have minimal hangnails.

  • Eyes: “The tongue may hide the truth but the eyes—never!”

    • To emphasize your gorgeous eyes, sometimes less is more. Too much makeup can do more to detract from your eyes than emphasize them. Find a happy balance of color, liner, and mascara.

    • Eyelash extensions, especially those which are extra long or thick, make it hard to get good lighting on the eyes. Less is more.

    • If you normally wear glasses, then they should be part of some or all your portraits. I will control reflections to the best of my ability by adjusting the lighting or your pose, but sometimes it’s impossible to always eliminate glasses glare. If you wear Transitions lenses that darken in the sunshine, then we will some shots with and without your glasses.

    • Lastly, live the section on wellbeing. If we are stressed, tired, and worn out then it will show in our eyes.

  • Lips: As with eye makeup, don’t go too bold. Light lip gloss is okay. Look at your lips in the mirror and if you can’t see them at all or your lips are all you notice, then start over.


Wellbeing: Take control of what you can!

  • Time and Stress: Pack or set aside your outfits, accessories or props the night before. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your session. Plan for more time than less, so you’re not feeling and all grrr’d out the day of your shoot.

  • Sleep: Starting at least a week out, get plenty of rest each night; especially the night before.

  • Nutrition: Hydrate well, eat nutritious foods, and avoid foods that might make you feel bloated the day of your shoot. Also, don’t skip eating something light and energizing before your session and remember, a little caffeine goes a long way.


Emergencies: They happen to everyone sooner or later.

Physical emergencies like a bad tan, a style, or injury can happen. If you’re worried about something, give me a call or text as soon as you know so we can talk and plan, even if that means rescheduling your session.


Conclusion: In a nutshell, be yourself and have fun! While you may be a bit nervous before your session, don’t worry.  I will do my best to help you feel comfortable and at ease.  We will work through poses, and expressions and just hang out and make some great pictures!

Located in The Mall at Sierra Vista

2200 El Mercado Loop, Sierra vista, AZ 85635

(520) 249-2581

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