Photo Styling Tips and Tricks for Families

All good portrait sessions take preparation. Here are a few quick tips for making sure your family portraits look great.

First of all make sure everyone has had a good night’s sleep. Everyone looks and feels better when they are well rested and this shows through in the final images. Also try to schedule the shoot for a less stressful day is recommended so everyone will be in a better mood and better images will result.

Make sure your outfits are matching. Similar colors but not the exact same outfit is the best. For examples all wearing cool or warm colors looks great.

If your family has any shared hobbies or interests these can be great to incorporate into your family portrait session.

Photo Styling Tips and Tricks for Seniors

All good portrait sessions take preparation. Here are a few quick tips for making sure your senior portraits look great.

First of all make sure you have had a good night’s sleep. Everyone looks and feels better when they are well rested and this shows through in the final images. Also try to schedule the shoot for a less stressful day is recommended so everyone will be in a better mood and better images will result.

If you have any hobbies or interests they can look great when incorporated into your senior portrait session. This can even involve shooting at locations unique to your hobbies and interests.

Wardrobe wise bringing cloth that you usually dress in will look best. Try to avoid large logos and distracting patterns, since they will draw attention to your clothing instead of your face. Lastly bring a combination of both lights and darks and a combination of formal and casual is recommended.

Photo Styling Tips and Tricks for Couples

 

All good portrait sessions take preparation. Here are a few quick tips for making sure your engagement or couples portraits look great. 

First of all make sure both of you get a good night’s sleep. Everyone looks and feels better when they are well rested and this shows through in the final images. Also try to schedule the shoot for a less stressful day is recommended so everyone will be in a better mood and better images will result.

Make sure your outfits are matching. Similar colors but not the exact same outfit is the best. For examples all wearing cool or warm colors looks great. 

 

What to bring to an Engagement Portrait Session

The best portrait sessions take a great deal of planning and preparation. This is why I meet with all clients either in person or over FaceTime prior to the session for a pre-session consultation. 

Here is a quick checklist for what to bring to your engagement portrait session.

Multiple changes of cloth. A combination of casual and formal is recommended. Also a combination of both lights and darks is recommended. Try bringing multiple styles and things which showcase your interests and personality! Anything you wear while performing your hobbies can be great to add to your session as well. Examples would be hats, cowboy boots, athletic wear, etc. Avoid clothing with stripes, loud patterns, or colors. Also avoid large distracting text. Make sure all clothing is clean, fits well, and is not wrinkled. Baggy clothing usually doesn’t look flattering. Also bring some clothing you don’t mind getting dirty so we can do poses on the ground or in water. 

For women having hair and make-up done prior to the shoot is highly recommended. I personally advice against spray tans. For men without a full beard shaving any stubble or five of clock shadow is also recommended. I can’t photoshop out stubble easily. Also make sure nails and hair are trimmed they way you would like them to be photographed. 

I like my engagement portrait sessions to be more personal than just the standard head shot. Bringing various props is one way to make your images more personal. Bringing things you use everyday or items that relate to your hobbies and interests can be a great addition. Cars are also a great addition to couples photo shoots. Make sure the car has been washed before hand. Anything sentimental to your relationship could potentially look great in your portrait session. 

I love photographing pets and they can look great in your engagement portrait shoot as well! Many times we will photograph in multiple locations and we save the pet images for some of the last images of the shoot after we get done at the main location. 

 

How Your Kids can look their Best for School Pictures

 

Most of us have photos from our past that look horrible. Most of them being images from school picture day. Here is some practical advice to avoid your kids from future embarrassment. 

Have them get a good night’s rest. Nobody looks good when they are sleepy. Make sure they get a good breakfast and good night’s sleep the night before. 

Choose clothing for them wisely. Some of the most embarrassing photos I’ve seen of people are embarrassing because of the dated clothing. Pick out clothing for your kids which is timeless and not trendy. This same advice goes for hair styles. Also make sure that the clothing stays clean and fits well. 

Comb their hair. Some of my worst school pictures are the ones where my hair is doing something crazy. Make sure their hair is combed. 

Focus on expression. Big cheesy smiles look almost as bad as a disgruntled grimace. A genuine smile or a slight parting of the lips with a serious expression can both look great. 

What to bring to a Senior Portrait Session

 

 

The best portrait sessions take a great deal of planning and preparation. This is why I meet with all clients either in person or over FaceTIme prior to the session for a pre-session consultation. 

Here is a quick checklist for what to bring to your senior portrait session.

Multiple changes of cloth. A combination of casual and formal is recommended. Also a combination of both lights and darks is recommended. Try bringing multiple styles and things which showcase your interests and personality! Anything you wear while performing your hobbies can be great to add to your session as well. Examples would be hats, cowboy boots, athletic wear, etc. Avoid clothing with stripes, loud patterns, or colors. Also avoid large distracting text. Make sure all clothing is clean, fits well, and is not wrinkled. Baggy clothing usually doesn’t look flattering. Also bring some clothing you don’t mind getting dirty so we can do poses on the ground or in water. 

For senior girls having hair and make-up done prior to the shoot is highly recommended. I personally advice against spray tans. For guys without a full beard shaving any stubble or five o clock shadow is also recommended. I can’t photoshop out stubble easily. Also make sure nails and hair are trimmed they way you would like them to be photographed. 

I like my senior portrait sessions to be more personal that just the standard head shot. Bringing various props is one to make your images more personal. Bringing things you use everyday or items that relate to your hobbies and interests can be a great addition. Cars are also a great addition to senior photo shoots. Make sure the car has been washed before hand.

I love photographing pets and they can look great in your senior portrait shoot as well! Many times we will photograph in multiple locations and we save the pet images for some of the last images of the shoot after we get done at the main location. 

Having friends and family join you for your senior portrait session is a great way to make it more personal! Friends and siblings can help get genuine laughs and expressions for you making the images that much better. 

Preparing for Your Portrait Session

 

 

To have your portrait session turn out ideal it takes preparation. This is why I do pre-session consultations with all of my clients prior to the actual session. Many things like time, location, wardrobe, etc need to be considered prior to the shoot to make sure everything runs smoothly. These are the things which are discussed during the pre-session consultation.

 

Time

 

 

The first thing to determine is the time of day. Usually either morning, evening, or even night is best for portrait session. During midday the sun is very high and the light is unflattering making it unsuitable for most portrait photography. Most of my sessions start in the late afternoon and we shoot thru the sunset and even into the evening. The exact time we start the session is dependent upon the time of year.

 

Location

 

 

I love to travel and have had the opportunity to photograph at many beautiful locations. Many clients like to have images taken in a variety of locations. Some clients prefer to have their portraits shot on their own private property while others prefer public parks, state parks, or other public places around cities. There are several places I regularly frequent like Dow Gardens in Midland, Mi and Island and Nelson Park in Mount Pleasant, Mi. I am willing to travel and have done shoots in Ludington, Traverse City, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, and Detroit as well. I am also willing to have the session take place on multiple days to ensure we can get the locations during the correct lighting.

 

Wardrobe

 

 

Wardrobe should be non-distracting. These are portrait sessions and not fashion shoots. Avoid clothing with large text, distracting patterns, extremely loud colors, etc. For seniors bring a variety of clothing (ie. casual and formal, light and dark) is good. For family and group portraits the clothing should be complimentary. Similar tones (ie. all cool colors or all warm colors) works well.

 

Makeup

 

 

I encourage women to wear makeup to photo shoots. Most women prefer there makeup to be done a little more in photographs then to little. I do avoid spray tans which if done inconsistently can look very unflattering.

 

Rest

 

 

Being well rested is very important for a successful session. I usually encourage seniors and families to book me on less stressful days for them. Days that the kids don’t have school and parents are off from work are ideal. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before also helps you look your best.

 

To start planning your pre-session consultation Ryan can be contacted here.

 

 

What to Wear to Senior Portrait Sessions

What to Wear to Senior Portrait Sessions

A big part of having a successful senior portrait session is being prepared and bringing the right clothes. Here are some suggestions for what to bring to your portrait session!

Things to Bring

 

What You Would Usually Wear Everyday

Most importantly you should look like you! Bring some items you wear everyday because you’ll look the most natural.

Something Light

Also bring some lighter clothing for brighter, high key images.

Something Dark

Conversely bring some darker clothing for darker low key images.

Something Casual

Casual everyday clothing is great for sessions in parks like Dow Gardens or in rural areas like near my home.  

Something Formal

Mom’s always want a photo of their son or daughter dressed up so also bring some formal clothing as well.

Something Really Loud

For environmental shots wearing something really loud is ideal! This makes you stand out amongst the surroundings.

Casual and Dress Shoes

If you want full body images wearing the appropriate shoe looks much better than wearing sneakers with dress clothes.

Something Appropriate for the Location

Where something fitting for where we’ll be shooting. Casual is great for in the country and parks. Formal is good in parks or in urban settings.

School Spirit, Athletic Wear, or Something Related to Your Interests

This is a time when you can get away with wearing big text. Show some school spirit or something related to your interests. Feel free to bring items which could be used as props as well. These could be from hobbies, sports, or other interests.

Something You Don’t Mind Getting Dirty

Some poses look great on the ground or in water. Bring some casual clothing you don’t mind getting dirty so we can add even more variety to your session!  

Dress Appropriately for the Weather

I’m a polar bear and would be confortable wearing short sleeve casual shirts into December, but I won’t recommend this. Bring some warmer clothing for if the shoot goes into sunset or the evening hours especially during fall and winter sessions.

Bring Items that are Easy to Layer so Changing Outfits is Easier

It is not always convenient to change depending on where the session is. Bringing clothing that can be layered makes this a lot easier!

Things to Avoid

This isn’t a fashion shoot so the main point is bringing clothing, which makes you look good, and draws attention to you and not your cloth. Here are few things to avoid wearing.

Clothing Which Doesn’t Fit

Most importantly wear clothing that fits. To tight or to big will look unflattering.

Sweat Pants, Sweat Shirts, Loungewear

These are unflattering; leave your pajamas at home.

Strong Patterns

If you wear a plaid shirt almost everyday feel free to bring it, but also bring some solids as well. Strong patterns and plaids can be distracting and draw attention to you and not your shirt. Subtle patterns like small checks, herringbone patterns, and gingham shirts are all acceptable. Don’t bring all shirts with strong patterns.

Big Distracting Text or Logos

Again if you wear shirts with big Holister or American Eagle logos everyday feel free to bring it, but also bring some solids. Just like with strong patters texts distracts from you and bring attention to your shirt. Subtle logos like the Polo or Lacoste logos are fine. Don’t bring all shirts with big logos.

Dirty Clothes

For the most part you ideally want your clothing to be clean with the exception of if we’re doing and country or athletic shoot which you’d intentionally look dirty.

Don’t Only Bring One Outfit

Bring a variety! I’m sure we can find ways to use a lot of your outfits. Hopefully this will help you with planning your wardrobe from you senior portrait session!